Gatsby – you know, Jay Gatsby, Leo Dicaprio incarnate – surrounded himself with glittering things. As I dance through this life, I am determined to do the same. Why? Because they don’t make cameras with lenses fast enough to capture fear exploding into bravery or laughter stretching its arms wide and growing into love. With each new breath we take, let’s remind ourselves of all that is beautiful and leave behind the darkness that tries to convince us otherwise.
One reoccurring theme for my spring semester is this: life is awful pretty. Let’s give her room to dazzle. So here’s a list of ways I’m attempting to do just that.
1. Never ever underestimate the power of a conversation. Crash on someone’s couch and spill your guts. Spend an hour on the phone with your other half. Type the message and hit send already. Words are remarkably insignificant until you string them together, mix in some sincerity, and start releasing them into the atmosphere. What you say= a direct barometer for how warm or cold your heart is so use those syllables wisely and make someone smile today.
2. Truth shines especially bright. As do confident people. And shoes. There are some hurting souls who may try to tear you down, but stand firm knowing who you are and why you believe what you believe. Combat their pain with grace and compassion – not just because it is noble but because you will find yourself shining brighter and dreaming bigger.
3. Let go. Please please please let go.
I see you there, holding onto your uncertainty…loosely like a firefly, in cupped hands that shake, wondering if it’s something you should clasp onto, or if you should simply set it free in the black night air.
Fall to your knees and lose your composure. Nobody has it all together. If it looks like they do, they’re a gifted pretender. You be a gifted defender of finding peace in choosing release.
So much about our world is uncertain and that is okay because it encourages us to place our hope in something more, something greater than ourselves.
When I become consumed with planning and start color coordinating my schedule you better believe all my plans go up in smoke. I set deadlines, I make goals. But I do so in pencil – I am Amy, trying to be flexible, hear me roar.
4. There is beacoup de joy in holding close the nouns you love – the people, places and things that make you glow. If you’ve lost your glow, don’t be afraid to search for it. I cherish lattes and hugs from my favourite people. I get excited about Scrabble and raspberries when it’s summertime. New nail polish makes my day. Pardon my English nerd moment but these nouns allow me to complete verbs with more energy. The little things help me to trust, to give, to learn, to make mistakes. What are your nouns and have you told them they’re awesome today?
5. I will admit to Facebook stalking a lot of people out of rampant curiosity, but I actually Facebook stalk myself most often. Disclaimer: I’m not encouraging narcissism. But when I scroll through the photos on my profile I remember all the folks who’ve blessed me with their presence…I have relived my Floridian spring break and the tan lines I was so proud of countless times. I have relived my angsty high school years when all my statuses were a collection of pointed song lyrics (you did it too, don’t lie). When I look back at that girl from 2008 before Twitter was cool, I have a new appreciation for the girl I am today. I guess what I’m trying to say is allow yourself to wander down memory lane. It reignites your passion for all that is not set in stone.
6. Read books, not just news feeds. They’re great company.
7. But don’t forget to enjoy solitude. Settle down on a park bench and watch the world spin by or light the candles and have some me-time. Last week, I was not feeling Monday and rolled out of bed, grumpy and alone. So I blasted my favourite song and danced for a solid 5 minutes while I looked for something to wear. I’m most free when I’m most alone. No shame.
8. Be good to your body. Eat clean, sleep long, exercise often. It may seem elementary but I am annoyingly peppy and positive when I’ve just dominated the elliptical machine. I also have brilliant ideas when Beyonce is motivating me through one more mile. Somehow gently pushing our bodies into motion gets all the other gears turning. Step out of complacency and into a little Nike today. You know you want to.
9. However. Indulging is okay. I indulge in chocolate, indie music, poetry, one last Psalm before bedtime, Greek yogurt, and Friends. I trust those who appreciate 90’s hits and willingly split multiple desserts with me.
10. Judge less. Read between the lines and refrain from pointing fingers unless you’re pointing someone in the right direction.
In essence, this is a carpe diem post. Sometimes the diems are downright hard to carpe, but I’m rooting for you from my little corner of the Internet. I know the next storm will rain on my hey-everybody-I’m-happy parade eventually, but for now I’m seeking out life’s goodness.
God is not in the business of wasting breath – I want to use each one he provides to the max.