I wouldn't consider myself a writer. That would be an offense to all true writers.
But recently, I've been dealing with an issue that maybe writers experience from time to time. Or maybe it's just angsty twenty-somethings...?
Regardless, I have so many ideas swimming around in my head, I have no idea what to write about. Lately, my mind has been focused on writing about the mid-twenties 'the-world-is-your-oyster' rhetoric I keep hearing. "The world is full of opportunity! You can do whatever you set your mind to!" HA. THAT'S A LIE, LINDA. Pay off my student loans and find me an entry level job that doesn't require 5+ years of experience and then we'll talk. But before I was raging at Linda, I was considering a write-up on how as a nation, we could bring down factory farming, which would bring down big money corporations, which would ruin politicians and ultimately remove Trump from office, which would all happen by educating the majority of the US population on veganism. Yeah, honestly, I don't know.
But at the end of the day, I wonder why I'm even writing. Sure, I have an interesting thought from time to time but overall, there's isn't any sort of cohesiveness to my writing and I'm left wondering, "Who cares?"
Let's boogie back to two months ago. My brother sent me a TED talk that spoke greatly to my current situation. This, of course, led me down a never ending road of inspirational TED talks. Each person had something to say about building a career or making the most of your twenties or simply how to improve your quality of life. What they have to say is IMPORTANT. Their words literally change lives and perceptions of the world around us.
So here I am, listening to these people speak, and I am SOARING. We've all had those ridiculous moments of inspiration. You imagine yourself making your way into the world, determined to do something. Maybe you feel inspired to change the rhythm of your workplace. You're going to turn the miserable 40 hours you spend there into the most joyful, exciting part of your week. Or you're tired of all the arguing and politics on social media. Later today, you're going to deactivate and 'detox' yourself from the negativity. Or, like me, you're going to ignore the heavy pressure society puts on you to be a certain way and embrace your authentic self in all you say and do. No more people-pleasing.
But then an hour passes... or 24 hours... maybe two days... possibly a week.
Work is once again a pit of despair and you hate it. Social media is re-downloaded and your face is buried in it. The masks have returned and you've become exactly what society wants you to be.
There's the root... the rotten root. My desire is to write important things that will meet people in their current situation. But I know deep down, that won't happen. What I have to say isn't new. It's not Earth shattering. It's not unique. And it's definitely not important.
This has been an undeniably humbling lesson to learn.
But as I grieve the death of my pride (which will certainly resurrect in a matter of minutes), I've had a moment of clarity.
Life is continually screaming at us to create rhythms. Get into a groove and stick with it. We can't stay away from social media because it ruins our pattern. What are we supposed to do with the extra 2 or 3 hours we have per day? Leaving a dreadful job or a painful relationship is no easy task because it uproots our beat. Challenging people to change themselves is a futile endeavor. The way we dance to our own rhythm simply doesn't work for everyone else.
So then where does change happen? I'm not sure I have the answer -- but I think it has something to do with our daily flows, beats, movements, and rhythms. Also, I love dancing so any way to musically make sense of life is a win in my book.
I'm going to use my friend Kendra as an example. Kendra's groove is beautiful. She's (literally and figuratively) the gal everyone's looking at on the dance floor. She not only knows how to move but her JAM is on (maybe Dessert by Dawin?) and she's uninhibited. Sure, she has moments where she sits down, trips over herself, or looks a little frazzled but all in all, she knows how to cut a rug. But what makes her rhythm and jive so relatable is that even though she's fully dedicated to her own movement, she's always keenly aware of how others are moving around her. She's willing to take suggestions, listen in on someone else's song, and adapt and grow. Someone's shoulder-hunched, eyes-to-the-floor, foot shuffle becomes an exuberant, hands-to-the-sky running man when they're around Kendra. It's inexorable when someone's life rhythm is so full of joy, laughter, and authenticity like Kendra's.
Inevitably, Kendra's willingness to dance exuberantly while paying keen attention to others has and continues to pay off. Promotions at work, public speaking gigs, beautiful familial relationships, fulfilling volunteer opportunities, an engaging group of friends, and the list goes on. Her attitude of gratitude and focus on others always comes back to her ten-fold. Her intention in giving to others isn't to receive something back. It's just a direct result of a life lived selflessly.
So today I'm beginning a new rhythm.
The past two years of enduring some major changes have drastically changed the beat of my life. I flatter myself by thinking I used to have a joyful groove like Kendra's. But unfortunately, time has turned me into the dude with no rhythm and a sad two-step. But, alas, there's always hope!
People like Kendra, Katie, Andrew, Audra, Lacy, Kipp, et al., have taught me that the best way to amp up my moves is to put the spotlight on others, to bask in the glory of another human's light, and to ceaselessly pursue gratitude. So that's what I'm going to write about.
Here's the deal: Every single day for the next year, I'm going to write a letter (blog post) of thankfulness to a friend, a family member, a stranger, an acquaintance, whomever's rhythm inspires me that day.
First, I'm going to lay out some rules for myself because Lord knows I don't do well without direction:
- Repeats allowed.
- No writing in advance.
- No length requirements.
- Since I tend to write in the morning, I'll be writing about the day prior (aka tomorrow, I'll write about today).
- And I have to do my darndest to make sure I personally reach out to the person I write about and share the post with them.
And I'm going to share it with you. Not to prove my goodness to you. But simply to put goodness into the world. Read it, ignore it, whatever.
As I start to rediscover my jubilant rhythm, which I hope looks something like a power stomp into a body roll into the splits, I'll leave you with this quote:
"As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody's individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us." - Yo Yo Ma.