“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” ― Angela Duckworth
“Stress happens when something you care about is at stake. It’s not a sign to run away – it’s a sign to step forward.” ― Kelly McGonigal
“There’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.” ― Charles Duhigg
A version of this blog post has long existed in the back of my mind.
It’s had multiple beginnings, different takeaways, but never a clear ending. The idea has never stopped morphing and evolving, growing alongside me. The thing is, I’ve never felt good enough to actually write this post. Instead, I’ve carried it with me across state lines, through deserts, over mountains, and occasionally to the beach, where I’ve protected it with a generous dose of high spf sunscreen.
Because how do I go about writing an expository essay (full of my trademark wit and signature charm) that adequately sums up one of the biggest lessons of my 20s? How can I succinctly summarize a journey that began 5 years ago — when I graduated college and started this blog — to who I am now and the person I hope to become? How do I write about a journey I’m still on?
Stories are powerful things, and the stories we believe about ourselves are perhaps the most important of all. So let’s start there, with a story. And let’s start NOW before I give up trying to figure out 3 years worth of WordPress updates I’ve missed…
“I wasn’t a native in the land of the literal minded, but I enjoyed my time there.”
Michelle McNamara, I’ll be Gone in the Dark
Last year (Um, I guess two years ago…), I summed up 2017 in facebook statuses. I received several requests to dust off this old blog, and do it again. Thus, I combed through my newsfeed and picked a few of my favorites. Nevermind it’s 2019 already, here is 2018 summed up in 15 Facebook statuses.
“I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”
― Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air
My whole body aches. My neck, in particular, is sore from resting my head on the car window. And then… then I remember that I’m in Germany. I’m in Germany, traveling with some of my favorite people. The excitement wakes me up, and my exhaustion wanes slightly.
It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.
As the year wraps up, I hope you’ve braced yourselves for the onslaught of “year-in-review” and “2017 bashing” videos and posts coming your way from all sides this weekend. I’ll let the big news agencies and everyone else cover the heavy stuff.
Instead, I’ve taken a much more lighthearted approach. From January to December, here’s my year, summed up in 25 Facebook statuses. I went through all my posts from the last year and picked my favorites. Never forget, 2017 was the year that Starbucks dazzled us with unicorn frappuccinos, the Harry Potter series turned 20, and poop emoji’s are still a thing, leaving sociologists and cultural analysists with plenty of material for future research.
I’ve been gone for some time, and to be honest, I’ve really missed all of you! I feel somewhat guilty for just falling off the grid with no explanation…
So now I’m gonna do that thing bloggers do from time to time, when they feel they have horribly failed their audience. Every bad apology has a few lame excuses. Here are mine:
“Wait?! You weren’t born in Mexico? But your Spanish sounds so Mexican. You have that rhythm, that accent, that I associate with Mexicans,” a Colombian friend recently told me.
And there it was: exacting and persistent, unforgiving and conspicuous as ever. It neither cares for my schedule or my need for sleep.
There it was… that deep, familiar longing to write.
I’m afraid that wherever I go, words will always follow. They pester and annoy me until with not a few heavy sighs, I walk over to my desk and commit them to paper. Or well, you know, the fathomless depths of the internet, otherwise known as this blog.
Clearly, binge-watching Downton Abbey has taken a toll on my writing voice.
Here’s to my favorite character, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, who has all the best lines in the show:
Violet: “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”
Matthew: “But isn’t she American?”
— Violet, speaking to Cora and Matthew about Martha Levinson.
“Will liked to live so that no one could find fault with him, and to do that he had to live as nearly like other people as possible.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”