Saturday, June 4, 2016

Who Are you? Who, Who...Who, who?

These last three days…
…have been a challenge of my emotional stability, my perseverance, my social wit and my physical stamina…in addition to being a thrilling example of the diversity that is my existence.
This last year I have become increasingly aware of the diversity of my life experiences and how they have shaped my life. In these last few months as I’ve heard stories from grandmothers who used to hitch hike across the country, bartenders who used to be strung out on cocaine, and stay at home moms who have raised two kids, moved 4 times and gotten a degree in the process… I have considered how much our experiences shape our lives, and how important it is to take opportunities that are provided.
In the last two days I have : cleaned my house, stuffed other people’s things into my closets, taught improv, moved into my car, sweat through a 12 minute body weight leg workout, rock climbed with my mentee, build king Ludwig’s castles, picked up a bag of red wigglers from an old friend, sat on a panel, hosted a summit, given a tour, slept in a van, had a meeting in a hallway, cried, laughed, bled, and ate a muffin.  As exhausting as it has been, I kept having a flash thought of gratitude. I’m so thankful I know how to pack my car, and that I have the opportunity to move and live in different places that I love. I’m also thankful that I have practice at teaching a group of people without any notice, and living out of a bag.  
One day I might expand on some of the bigger life experiences that have shaped me, such as teaching juggling, going to college out of state, stand up paddle boarding, summiting a mountain in one 24-mile day, connecting with youth, and sleeping in a wigwam. But right now I’d like to focus on the less-obvious opportunities.  

I have “said yes” to holding a friends hand throughout the night to ease their anxiety. I have agreed to stay up all night to hear a friend talk who just had a lot on his mind. I’ve agreed to help people move, or go and watch a movie starring an actress I hate. Sometimes, these are not my favorite things to do—I would rather be doing something “more productive” like writing my blog (hah) or collaging. But taking these social opportunities has proven just as influential as the previously mentioned career/professional or adventure opportunities.

From January to May I did something I hadn’t done in years—I put my relationship before my career. I agreed to trade sleep for conversation, to spend money that I would have preferred to save, either out at dinner, on Chinese take out, or at a stay-cation with a sauna and a hot tub in town. I said yes to opportunities to go out to bars (not my favorite thing) with my sweetie to meet his friends, and spent less time with my own friends so I could hang out with him. In the hindsight of his passing… I am SO glad that I took these opportunities. I DID recognize that these weren’t sustainable decisions. I could feel my body begging for more sleep, and knew that I would eventually have to pull work back to the forefront of my life… and I would have figured those things out had he remained alive. But now that he’s gone, I’m so glad that I had the courage to take opportunities, whether big or small, knowing that each experience will shape who I am.