Beginnings are often the hardest part. That idea is ringing true to me as I have now written and deleted more than 33 versions of this blog post—my first official post on a site I launched. The fact that I could even write the previous sentence almost feels surreal. I’m now doing what I’ve dreamed of doing for years, and like all great adventures, it is exciting, terrifying, and amazing.
In the past 14 months, I left my full-time job as a magazine editor, started a career as a freelance writer and stylist, and traveled more than 40,000 miles. I’ve seen the sun make its descent behind a rice field in Cambodia, shared tea with a refugee family in Jordan, mixed oil-based paint in 115 degree weather to get the color aqua needed for a room makeover in West Africa, watched my nephew hit a home run in my hometown, and sat on the Spanish Steps while eating gelato a la Audrey Hepburn-style on a Roman holiday. And I’m grateful for each of those moments as well as the ones before and in between—some, others painful, all important.
I think Alfred, Lord Tennyson sums it up well in his poem, “Ulysses”: “I am a part of all I have met.” And so are you.
Our stories matter. Knowing and being known. Laughing until we cry. Crying until we run out of tears. Minor chords, major scales. Painting and prosing (that’s my new word for composing prose), sharing life and cheesy fries, searching for significance and exploring the infinite abyss. Trying and failing and trying again.
So often we get caught up in the busyness of the day to day or the completion of a task that we fail to see the moments as they pass. This has been me more often than not. But lately I've been thinking about a middle school moment when I had to read the part of Emily for the class production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." Something about the words resonated:
"It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed . . . Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?"
The next line of dialogue spoken by a character called the Stage Manager answers Emily's question, "The saints and the poets, maybe they do some."
I think perhaps somewhere deep inside we are all part saint and part poet. Sometimes we just forget to look at each other. Or fail to pause and focus on anything other than our to-do lists. Or grow so weary that goal simply becomes survival. My hope with this ever-so-tiny space on the internet is that it will be a place to tap into some of those poetic moments; to celebrate beautiful things; to consider or, dare I say, even try something new; and to provide some encouragement to keep pressing on and fully living our minutes. Because if we keep going, we get the opportunity to experience more of life, to love and be loved, to discover purpose, to see things in a different way, and to help someone else who is struggling with the same things with which we've struggled. Though I don't understand the math behind it (I'm an English major after all), when we share the joy, it multiplies, and when we do the same with pain, it diminishes—I think that's part of making the most of our moments.
So here's to creativity, to sharing and becoming; may we take the time to look closely and live well.