Opinion Vs. Experience

One thing that is important when writing about hot-topic issues like sex, sexuality, gender, women’s health, marriage, equality, and polyamory is understanding the difference between an opinion based on feelings and gathered information and an opinion based on experience and real life lessons.

Everyone is entitled to have an opinion. In fact, everyone should have an opinion on important issues. What is important is how we develop those opinions and how we share them with others.

I really enjoyed this excerpt from the book “Adulting: How to Become a Grownup in 468 Easy(isn) Steps” by Kelly Williams Brown.

She says that this should be the method for developing an opinion:

 Take in facts – – – Process/analyze according to your own personal value set and belief system – – – form opinion.

You can do this by watching the news, talking to people who have actually lived the experience, going through the experience yourself, reading news articles or research studies, reading other peoples opinions, thinking critically about all the different opinions you could have about something, and so forth.

The wrong way to develop an opinion, she says, is:

Take in opinion from media, parent, or significant other – – – regurgitate opinion from media, parent, or significant other to anyone who will listen, then sloppily defend it to the bitter end.

Often times we will develop opinions more passively than this. We may not even hear someone saying “I think abortion is wrong!” We may simply watch nothing but Fox News 24/7 simply because that’s what we grew up watching on TV and suddenly we find we are pro-life and aren’t sure exactly why. I would argue that many of our opinions on things are actually formed passively like this.

I think it is great to write about your opinion because it helps you strengthen how you feel about different issues and it allows you to talk to other people who might agree or disagree with you. One thing that is important when sharing an opinion is remembering:

1. You do not have the only right opinion

2. You cannot force someone to change their opinion

This should also be remembered when leaving comments on other peoples posts. Comments that revolve around “you are wrong” are not useful comments. Instead, try having some discourse with that person. Ask them about their beliefs openly, with curiosity. Read their thoughts and say nothing at all, just try to understand. Maybe say how much you appreciated reading what they had to say and then link them to your thoughts so that they may read them on their own time.

It is also important to remember that you can have opinions about things, but some things you cannot possibly really understand unless you have experienced them. This doesn’t necessarily have to prevent you from writing about those opinions, but I think it’s crucial to note, say, if you are writing about abortion, that you have never had an abortion. That you have never needed an abortion. That you would have access to and would be able to fund an abortion if you did need one. Those are all valid points that helped form your opinion on whether or not abortion should or shouldn’t be legal. If you are a man, that too, is a valid thing to point out. As you will never have an abortion.

I think the safest bet is to follow this simple rule: be respectful. Under that umbrella is all of the above. Remembering that you don’t know everything and you are not the great beholder of all that is truth. In fact, maybe you will change your opinion.

Remember that sometimes your opinion may hurt others who have more experience than you. Be willing to accept nudges from people who provide facts and lived experience. Sometimes your opinion can be factually wrong. And wouldn’t you want to know if it was?

Another safe bet *bonus* is only writing about things that you actually know. You can still write about most things this way. This is a work in progress for me, but for example, lets say I wanted to write about being trans*. I wouldn’t write a long winded post about how hard it is to be trans* and what that experience is like, because I am not trans*. I could, instead, try writing about different language that people could use to be more trans* inclusive. I could talk about what pronouns are and how they are used. I could link to outside resources. I could write about privilege and how being cis affects my every day life.

These are things you can and should write about and talk about. They are things you should try to be better about. You shouldn’t expect to be perfect all the time, but trying is what counts.When you are writing, leave open doors for new thoughts to enter. You (and your readers) will benefit all the more for it.

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Doing Gender: The Nosebleed

One of my professors told me once that you do gender. Everything you do is in some way influenced by gender. Even if you don’t consciously notice it or even if you refuse to abide by it, it’s there, a living and breathing entity.

So I get one nosebleed per year.

It gets really dry out and I can tell it’s coming the same way I can tell when my vagina is about to remind me I’ve failed as a woman again. So I knew, with some sort of nasal sixth sense, that this was gonna be it.

I was sitting in the middle of the bookstore. I’d acquired a scone and a cup of coffee and sat down with the book of the month to get reading. Then came the tickle.

I knew with great sense and precognition that when I sneezed, I would sneeze out blood. The wibbly-wobbly dam that my nose had built was no longer willing to hold back the great flood. I held that napkin as hard as I could and I sneezed the most lovely valentines day card.

This is where gender comes in.

My first thought was of a rambunctious friend of mine who would, in my shoes, shout in his most manly voice, draw as much attention to himself as he could, and show everyone what his tissue had collected. As a chick, I became self-conscious about my bleeding cavity, and went to go sit down before someone noticed something was wrong.

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A few moments later it became apparent that the bleeding wasn’t going to stop, nor was it going to get any better. I’ll spare you the gory details. I quietly and calmly packed up my valuables, left my coffee and my notebook guarding my spot, and meandered my way cautiously to the bathrooms two floors above me. I managed “excuse me” and “sorry, excuse me” more than once as I walked in front of people who had arrived to scope out their favorite books. Don’t mind me. I’m fine. Look the other direction. Is that the new Stephen King?

I made it to the bathroom and hid in the stall to mask the crime scene being born on my face. The sight, smell, and taste of it all made me a bit light headed. Most of all, I was furious to have left my coffee behind. It took about ten minutes to slow down and I started to get worried about my desk neighbors. What might they think of the weird girl who dashed off with her iPad but forgot her lightly roasted artisan coffee? Priorities.

I made it back without much mess but my nose was still bleeding. I’ve had to go to urgent care more than once, so I was cautiously optimistic that it would slow down if I could learn to breathe out of one nostril, or somehow get on board with mouth breathing. My posture was supreme, I took small delicate breaths, and I opened the book to continue reading.

Eventually I realized that there was no sense in trying to look attractive, and I shoved some tissue up my nose, fuck it all, and got to writing.

Certainly not all women would react in the way that I did (and I certainly hope they don’t) but I do think that all women interact with the idea of femininity in their own unique way. The same goes for men and masculinity. For me, I like to keep the gross to a minimum, because that’s just what has been reinforced. Luckily at a certain point propriety is won over by common sense and I’m able to say “I feel slightly unwell now.” Though, certainly, I’m sure that’s not always the case for all women, all the time.

Learning to speak up about discomfort, pain, fear, sadness, anger, and all those other negative emotions is incredibly important. So is recognizing that women are often expected to be pleasant and minimize their impact on those around them.

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One Goal Per Month

January: Run 1 mi every day  

I’ve been running fairly regularly for the last couple months and it’s felt awesome. I thought an easy way to get myself to run more frequently during these colder days would be to limit myself to at least a mile per day. When I woke up on the first I almost swapped January and February’s goals because it was so cold but once I got out there running I realized it would likely only get colder as Winter goes on. If you’re not a runner, an alternate goal could be going on a walk every day. You could even bring a camera and snap photos along the way.

February: Drink 4 bottles of water every day

I’m known for being perpetually dehydrated, which is silly, considering I know the benefits of water to the body and the brain. I always feel much more cognizant when I’m well-hydrated. I’ve already been carrying around a bottle of water with me but now I’m going to try to make drinking several of them per day a routine.

March: Read the news every morning

Most days I read the news in the morning, but I scan through to the articles that interest me the most, and end up avoiding important news stories that I should be reading. I want to make it a goal to read the news throughly every morning, catching up on important news stories, and becoming more well-informed about whats going on in the world. Work in progress.

April: No internet before 10am

This would exclude using my iPad to read the news. The first thing I do in the morning is check in with my friends. There is rarely anything so important that it needs my attention before ten in the morning. I want to practice waking up more mindfully, which will be helped by removing those connections from my routine.

May: Write in my journal every day

This is something I almost always do already but I want to focus on detailing what goes on in my life. Often times I only write when something has happened or when I’m feeling a particularly strong emotion. My favorite journal entries to look back on are the ones that showed me what life was like at a particular point in time. Who I was friends with, what I did throughout the day, what music and movies I was into, that kind of thing. I’d also like to focus on the tone I use when I write.

June: One friend date per week

One of my biggest goals for the new year is to keep up my friendships a little better, and to develop friendships with people that I have things in common with. I chose June for this habit because it’s just starting to warm up in Portland and there will be lots of opportunities for things to do outside. I want to commit to going out with one friend per week and doing something meaningful (hiking, going to take photos, going out to eat, making a meal, playing a game, etc) with them.

July: Make fresh-pressed juice every morning

This is going to take a lot of practice and will probably be a gigantic hassle but I think it will be incredibly beneficial. I chose to put this goal in July because produce will be cheaper and the weather will be warmer so I will be more likely to want to drink juice in the morning. I’ll have to plan ahead by buying produce and cleaning the juicer every night. This goal will probably keep me on top of the dishes and eating healthy fresh food.

August: Go on an evening walk every night

I love going on walks at night, especially in August. You can stroll hand in hand while the sun sets, and the weather is still warm enough that you only need a light sweater. Bonus points if you stop by for gelato, frozen yogurt, or a cup of tea mid-walk. I’m a creature of habit and usually walk in the same places. I think this August I’ll find some new places to walk, explore some new streets, and maybe (like above) take my camera and shoot some photos along the way.

September: Read one book per week

It’s my goal this year to read 100 books – again. That means I’ll be reading a lot of books before September hits, but by September, I’ll probably have some catching up to do. Just for this month I want to make sure I stick to the one-book-per-week rule. Technically I need to read about two books per week all year to hit the goal, but I know it’s not a very reasonable goal for me to keep.

October: No junk food diet

For October I’m going to cut junk food out of my diet. That means no dessert, no pizza, no burgers, no wings, no bar food in general. I’ll have to order healthier dishes when I go out to eat. There are a lot of options in Portland. Salad bowls, rice bowls, soups and sandwiches, all things that I really like to eat. This goal shouldn’t be too hard but I think I underestimate how much I love eating something small for dessert. Halloween is excluded from this goal as one should not completely deprive themselves.

November: Read before bed every night

I have this horrible problem. Whenever I get horizontal I fall asleep immediately. It’s as though there is a little vile of sleeping potion standing upright in my head that tips over and spills out into my brain whenever I rest. Worse problems, but poor for reading in bed. I think I’m going to have to invest in some sturdier pillows or perhaps a boyfriend pillow if I’m going to hold true to this one. I absolutely love reading before bed for an hour or so. I’m looking forward to this one.

December: Meditate every morning

I don’t really know what this means yet. I suspect for me it will mean sitting in bed or getting up and sitting in my chair and just practicing breathing. I’ll try to focus on clearing my head and getting engaged and ready for the day. The biggest challenge will be sitting still and being mindful for a period of time.

 

I’m hoping that choosing one goal per month will help me manage the things I want to do a little better. I’m also hoping that these goals build on one another over time and by the end of the year I’m doing a lot of these things more frequently and with greater ease. Feel free to steal the list or make your own based on mine. Remember that most things happen in small increments over time and that taking on too much all at once can be detrimental towards keeping your goals. Don’t forget it’s important to reward yourself and give yourself treats. Complete deprivation isn’t the answer towards achieving your goals and it’s not really any way to live, either. Hope you all had a great New Years!

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What is your 2014?

This has been the driest December in Portland for quite some time and it has left me feeling ripped between Fall and Spring. How was your Christmas? This was my best holiday season since I’ve moved to Portland. Full of celebration, cheer, good tidings, joy, all those things that build up over the year with great anticipation. I’m tip-typing from my new iPad keyboard which is the best accessory I’ve gotten for my gadgets spare the indispensable portable charging device. I’m sitting at a little cafe in Portland on the bustling 23rd avenue, packed full of boutiques and tea parlors, girls with curled hair and knee high boots parading around with their Christmas winnings. I like it here, but they don’t have wifi, so this post comes from the past.

I know I promised a gift guide, and there was no gift guide. Truth be told, I’ve completely avoided my blog for the past couple of weeks. As of this writing I still haven’t logged on to my email or my inbox to see what sort of questions await. I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with my blog as it rests on the precipice of “what will be.” I don’t believe that the New Year is the start of all things, but I also believe that in retrospect we view our lives through the years. In that respect, 2013 was big for me. There were all kinds of changes. And I suspect that 2014 is going to be even bigger. The theme for 2013 was “self-respect.” The theme for 2014 is going to be “acceptance.” I have all kinds of goals for the new year, things I’d like to implement into my daily life. What about you? Do you have a new direction? Goals? Resolutions?

So, anyways, I’m sitting in the window of this cafe and a woman just passed by through the street carrying a bag with the word “LUSH” written across it. (Lush is awesome, look it up!) It reminded me of something else I wanted to talk about.

The other day I was reading a-friend-of-a-friends Facebook. Isn’t it irritating how all these strangers keep popping up in your feeds? The update was something to the effect of: You can’t dress like a slut and then complain that you can’t find a good man.

I had a Peter Griffin moment. It makes me so angry that other women put other women down like this under the guise of “helpful advice” or a “reality check” or even worse “im better than you and thats why I dont have those problems or act that way.” It further perpetuates rape culture (she deserved it because she was wearin’ her rapin’ clothes!) and it puts all kinds of expectations on women based on what they decided to wear that day.

Does this mean that women who dress more sexy are less good and does it mean that all girls who dress conservatively are better or more deserving? Does this mean if I put on my dress pants and spend my days writing about sexuality under the guise of homemaker that a man on a white horse is going to come upon me, hoist me up, and say “Gee, we must have missed you on our first go-around!”

The problem isn’t women and what they wear, its assuming that women who dress a certain way or behave a certain way are worth less as human beings or as potential partners. Its the associations we make, blindly, when we look at someone. The assumptions that prevent us from connecting to people. The things that prevent us from caring.

Certainly you should look for people who are similarly minded to yourself. You should seek out those who you are attracted to. But no good ever came from putting someone else down for being different than you, or for choosing to express themselves in different ways. We’re all trying to find our way.

Acceptance has already been a big theme in my life. Not necessarily clicking with everyone you meet or liking everyone you meet but understanding the wide variety of personalities that are out there and appreciating them and the uniqueness of all people. My goal for 2014 is to find that same acceptance for myself. Its not something I expect to hit completely until my 30s (that complete comfort, I suppose) but I’d like to at least reach a moderate level of ownership over myself. I think that would be great.

Let me know how you’re doing. Leave a comment, check in, and tell me about your goals, hopes, and dreams. What do you want 2014 to be the year of?

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30 before 30

The wonderful LaNeshe wrote up a 30 before 30 list. Ever compelled by list-making, I thought I would brainstorm a list of my own. The problem that I ran into was that so much can change in a year. How do I know where I’ll be six months from now? How do I know what I’ll want two years from now is anything like what I want today? I suppose one point of a list is to help give us direction, and like most directions, they’re only suggestions on which way you ought to go. I’ve decided to include some big ones and some little ones. I’ll save it away on a note and come back to it now and then.

  1. In the same spirit as her list, I’d like to meet another internet friend.
  2. Write a book. Any sort of book. Any size of book. Through any means of publication.
  3. Settle into a career, not a job.
  4. Have a family, of some sort.
  5. Start the process of looking to buy a house.
  6. Learn how to drive stick.
  7. Hold a steady volunteering position.
  8. Have a piece of my writing published on another site.
  9. Buy a couch, one glorious couch, that I adore.
  10. Learn how to make a latte.
  11. Make exercise a regular part of my routine, I’m getting close.
  12. Adopt a dog.
  13. Run a half marathon.
  14. Go a year using the once-a-month habit technique.
  15. Visit France again and speak exclusively in French.
  16. Go on a road trip with no precise destination.
  17. Get a tattoo of something, somewhere.
  18. Be a mentor, find a mentor.
  19. Get a firm grasp on my student debt.
  20. Join a club, start a club.
  21. Donate to a cause that I support.
  22. Go to a wine tasting.
  23. Take a dancing lesson.
  24. Grow a good strong group of friends.
  25. Learn a new skill.
  26. Have a well-stocked liquor cabinet and know how to use it.
  27. Document the reading of at least 500 books – I’m at 221 at time of list making.
  28. Have a heart-wrenching fight or disagreement and be better because of it.
  29. Buy one pair of obscenely expensive but will last forever heels.
  30. Ride a roller coaster without dying or vomiting on myself.
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Not Shiny Enough

So the other day I’m going to buy some groceries. I’m in kind of a foul mood, I may as well be unshowered and in my pajamas. I try to smile and be friendly but I’m sure it’s obvious to the cashier than I’m doing doing so hot so he asks me “So while I get started on this bagging I have a question for you.” It took me off guard, so I was like, uh, what? “What makes you shine, you know, what makes you really light up?”

In that moment I had no idea. I didn’t have a single clue. I looked down at my groceries winding their way along the conveyer belt and said

“Um. Coffee.”

“Okay, what else?”

“Ice cream?”

At this point I could tell he was getting a little agitated because I was a complete moron. Then I remembered that human beings like amusement parks, so I said that.

“Amusement parks!”

I hate amusement parks. I don’t hate them, I guess. I just find I tap out my preferred list of things to do very quickly and then spend the rest of the time avoiding the roller coasters. But this got him stoked, so he asked me which amusement parks I liked.

“Oh, I like… the ones where… people are happy there?”

At this point I’d regressed to the vocabulary of a small child so I completely gave up (and so did he) and I went on my way.

I didn’t think about it again until yesterday when I was shopping for a rain jacket. Somehow I’ve managed to live in Oregon my entire life without ever buying a rain shell. I walked to all the various cold weather retail stores in Portland yesterday and finally found the jacket I wanted. It was mid-range, had a hood, and I could layer it with everything I own. I walked in to try it on one more time and one of the sales people walked over.

“I really think you should get it in blue or pink, because black is boring.”

They were pretty colors so I tried them on and did, indeed, think they were pretty. But the problem with buying something bright and colorful is that it won’t go with everything that you own. I was also on my way to a soccer game and wanted something neutral to wear over the team colors. Black just works for me. But it made me self-conscious.

“It was the predictable choice.”

I realized that pretty often, when I’m out, people interact with me in such a way that makes me feel like I need to be more receptive. More bright and cheery and girly and cute and happy and smiley and, really, I don’t suppose anyone would be too surprised if I broke out in song.

Really I just want to go to the grocery store and be courteous and then pull my black rain hood up and walk home without anyone giving me any grief about not being shiny enough.

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Mementos of Past

I am bits and pieces of everyone I've ever met.

Sometimes you're doing something mundane like showering or making breakfast and you get triggered. Oh we bought this soap together, I remember when we used to make the bed and, hmm, if I could only open this fucking jar of jam. Life is a timeline and sometimes one life overlaps the next life and bits and pieces of former you tap present you on the shoulder like, hey, hey, whatcha doing? I wash off the suds and I soap myself up again.

I wrote about dating a lot – okay, polyamory, open relationships, ethical non-monogamy. Now I feel like I should be writing about dating. What would monogamy be like? What should someone expect from a monogamous relationship? Would I even remember how to monogamy anymore? And how does one deal with heartbreak? Emotional turmoil? What clothes do you wear when you're single? Are these the same clothes I wore when I was in a relationship? Isn't that – like – wrong somehow? Pieces of lives overlapping.

I went to the grocery store the other day and I was looking intently at kitchen appliances. I was looking at spatulas and Mr. Coffee liners. All of a sudden this guy is standing next to me with his arm extended and he introduces himself as Steven. Hi. I'm Steven. Just like that. I'm not kidding you when I say I took three hesitant steps backwards, bug-eyed, and said no, no no no, oh I'm sorry, but no. I fast paced myself to the other side of the store pretending I desperately needed a new carton of eggs. Then I walked to the front of the store hiding behind those floating islands of off-brand nail polish hoping I could check out before someone hit on me trying to scan my tampons.

There was a brief moment where I felt like insecure. I sat in the cafe and everyone turned their squeaky necks to look at me at once. You're new here, they said, all at once. A production of roses and love letters. They said hello and I started chuckling and answered about the weather even though they didn't ask. Could it be possible I'd forgotten how to flirt? I think I knew how. I thought I did, anyways. Maybe it wasn't them that had changed, maybe it was me. Some idealization of what I thought I might experience. Some realization of what I guessed I might want. I'm taking the longest survey of my life every morning. Check yes in this box, no in this one, rate your desire on a scale of not interested to strongly interested.

I wish I had more to say that could be useful but it's really what I've been saying all along. You wake up each morning and you smile. You do good things for people, even the ones that don't necessarily deserve it, because you're good. You maybe binge on a pint of ice cream and watch an entire season of something on Netflix. You go out and you get a drink and you talk about the meaning of life. You read a book that is so good you have a hard time starting the next one. You relive moments so incredibly intense you feel like everything is falling apart and then five minutes later you regain your composure. You make new friends, and you make the good ones better. And you keep figuring out who you are.

I wrote this a while ago, but finally decided to post it.

 

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OK, Final Message

So I disabled my OKC account – again. The second time in two months, the second time since I started it two years ago. It doesn’t feel right to have it, but more than that, I think I wore it out. I want to practice meeting real human beings, in real life. I want to walk up to someone in my classes and say, hey, you’re cool.

I mentioned something on twitter the other day that I’ve been thinking a lot about. The people who intimidate me always end up being the best friends. Do you ever look at someone and think, wow. They seem really put together, and cool. They like all the things you like, and are doing the things you want to do, and they kind of just seem really rad. The few times in my life I’ve been afraid to talk to someone, to get to know someone, to really connect with someone, have been the best experiences. I don’t want to settle having people in my life who I merely get along with because it’s easy to get along with them. I want people who challenge me, inspire me, and push me.

I want to be able to look at the people in my life and think “I’m your friend? I’m pretty lucky.” And I don’t want to look at myself and think “They wouldn’t want to be friends with me.”  I think it’s easy to compare yourself to people like that, and I don’t think it’s true at all. We should want people in our lives that make us feel good about ourselves and who we are.

I shall miss the banter, I can’t say I’ll miss the messages too much. Although I know some of you will. Who knows, maybe it will be back one day. Until then, whats the moral code on anonymously sharing conversations you overhear in coffee shops? Just curious.

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Levity and Whatnot

I feel that sometimes it is just as hard to look back on the past, and imagine all the things that could change, as it is to imagine the future as a series of endless possibilities. Each year past I look back at how things have been, and I am confounded by the change. How can so many good things, strange things, bad things, things in general, happen in such a short period of time? That’s being 20-something. No guidebook. No safety belt. You have to be kind to yourself and good to yourself and good to the other people around you. You have to scan out, backwards, glance around at everything all at once. You have to view experiences as less insanely overwhelming than they feel, because time will happen, and things will find their place in the puzzle that is your mind. So I am, for lack of a more meaningful way of saying it, not currently in a relationship.  The writing on my blog is based on my own perspective, and my own point of view, and my own experiences, I think I would be amiss to not mention that I am going through some not-so-fun things. Some hard things. The sadness comes in waves and you have to push forward and make each action intentional. There is nothing else that I am going to say about it, though I am sure that it will have some influence on the topics that I choose to write about, as writing often imitates life. I did not feel comfortable continuing to write without being honest about this thing that happened. It also may explain how I went an entire week without writing. Criminal, really. 

Sondern. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

I know that many of you feel that you know me. In many cases, I may not know you. For a minute lets just all pretend we know each other. Because we kind of do. If everyone were supremely honest with themselves, stripped down to the core, gutted and removed of pretense, we’d see the raw experience of being human.

Now let’s focus on sex talk and inappropriate jokes because that’s just how things go down here.

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Letter To Myself

Dear 15 year old me,

Let’s get the hard stuff out of the way. You’re almost 25, and you haven’t done much. A decade has gone by and we’re not too different. Wish-lists and to-do lists, weighty goals combined on loose leaf pages of notebook paper stacked in little piles, they don’t amount to much. I’m making the same lists now, jotting them down in journals and scribbling them in the margins.

You always have some idea of what life will be like in the future. Some blank slate that you may project your ideal world onto. A film projector showing repeat showings of fantasy-you. It’s been this way as long as I can remember it. From five to ten, ten to fifteen, fifteen to twenty, every so often I stop to think what have I done that I said I would do? Not much.

It is easy to think that the inability to check these things off means some you’re some sort of failure. That the inability to keep the promises you made to yourself a decade ago means that you did something wrong. But you haven’t. If I were to look at these lists in another ten years, which I will, I will know what guided me. I will see the dreams that I had and what encouraged me. I will think about the things that woke me up every morning, the things that pushed me out the door. I will know what collective dreams bottled up to make me, me. Explore the world, learn french, become very good at something I enjoy. I haven’t done these things, but it took getting older to realize that you never really do. They are all a process. They are all a sliding scale of mastery. I cannot give these things a final checking point because they are always in progress. It is the process itself that makes me who I am, not the completion.

You don’t just wake up one morning and find that you are who you want to be. You always want to be more, different, better, you always have some point to look forward to. When we get small pieces of the things we want – graduation, a house, a car, a new friend, a new love – we move forward, but it’s hard to tell. You cannot understand the scope of life through a series of things that happen to you. There are always more things.

I understand that it is hard to think that a decade went by and, here I am, telling you that there are no real moments in which I could say you might find extraordinary. It is lucky for you, however, that you find all these seemingly mundane moments so special. Conversations, new connections, the feeling you get when you look certain people in the eye. Little trips that beg the desire for more and bigger trips. You will take photos and look back at them and want more. It is the cloyingly sweet truth – not the destination, but the journey. I’m sorry to put it to you that way.

If I could advise myself of one small thing it would be to not try so awfully hard to want of the future. It’s coming every moment and there is no earth-shattering sound when it arrives. It is here now, and now, and always coming faster.

In these lists you can look back and see what it is you tried to grasp along the way.

Sincerely.

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