Thursday, August 1, 2013

10 Things That Will Transform Your Life

1. A Bikini


*************************************
We wear too much. Our lives and our bodies collect layers which are meant to serve a purpose: keep us warm, help us blend in, make us stand out. All too quickly between costume changes, we just start piling on one thing after another. Having to switch between so many hats convinces us to just wear them all at once. This gets heavy, hot and confusing. Being able to strip down and let our inner-skins get some tanning and breathing done will surely change our perspective of that old pile of laundry we've been carrying around.

*************************************
 2. Waves to Ride


*************************************
Rhythm, not balance, drives our lives. Forget about stoicism and the middle-road. It goes without saying that arid sands can dry us out and floods can rise above our head. Growing up in the Midwest has made it difficult to endure a year without distinct seasons. Like a heart-beat, this rhythm offers a pulse of tension and relaxation that gives us the push and pull to keep going. But this repetition needs to hardly be without the perpetual articulations of difference. Maybe it's the Bass-player in me, but a good rhythm section is nothing without an talent for improvisation. Whether in sound or the water, no two waves are exactly the same.

***********************************
 3. A Car


*************************************
Wherever you are, you can always leave. A car gives us the power to get up and go, if we need to. This is a power many teenagers come to revere. It may not always be with a car, but at some point in your development, starting with learning how to crawl, we discover that we don't have to stay where we are put. A car simple adds horse-power to this escape. You can't take it all with you and you may not be gone for long, but being able to close a door, turn up the stereo, and hit the accelerator towards... somewhere else ... is a liberation which diminishes the naturalized terror of wherever we find ourselves. There are always costs, but you can always leave. It can be worthwhile to remind others, and yourself, of that fact.

***********************************
4. Somewhere to Go


*************************************
"No map is complete without a utopia." So wrote Oscar Wilde in his characteristic paradoxical wit. What might be lost among the GPS generation to whom maps are more of an art piece to be framed and forgotten: maps are meant to be used. Putting a utopia, a destination, an X to mark the spot on a map is not an empty or aesthetic gesture. We may never arrive at our aim, but a journey without one is exactly that: aimless. Our lives take on the shape our goals. The means and roads we take matter, everything has a history and formation, but it is utopia that fills them with their essence.

***********************************
5. Mountains to Climb


*************************************
The craft builds the crafter. Creatures have always made the creator in their image, it's how they come to be and come to know each other. There is sense in the medieval tradition of naming a person by what he or she does. Materially we get about as much as we give, in different ways, from our relationships with our work. A hikers legs become shaped by the mountain they are climbing. A carpenter's arms become built up by the wood they are cutting. A mother's tit becomes transformed by the sucking of a child. A scholar's mind is changed by the things they read. Whether we are aware of what we do, we do it. Wherever there are mountains, they will make mountaineers.

***********************************
6. Moms who Buy You Hiking Shoes


*************************************
Our first investors are never ourselves and outcomes are never ours alone. No matter how much I protest (sometimes more than others), I can't dissuade my mother from giving me gifts that make my every day richer, easier, and possible. At one point I may have seen these gifts as threats to my independence. I've gotten over that! Need is a great teacher. Love is an even better one. "This is an investment in your future," my mom will say when she buys me a new pair of shoes or a plane-ticket. The humility that this teaches me makes me work harder as I enjoy it that much more. For every person that contributes to my life, who becomes responsible for another part of it, the better I can view my life as a gift. My future is spoken for: I can neither be too proud nor too ashamed, because I receive it not out of right or by merit, but by the thousand of blessings I receive every day.

***********************************
7. A Penguin to Come Home To


*************************************
Humans are communal animals -- we can befriend nearly anything. We can and we do. Most of us will hold conversations with pets, stuffed animals or other favorite house-hold things. And I strongly object that this counts as talking to yourself. When I am swearing at my computer for freezing for the 6th time that night, I am not yelling at myself. This hardly means that we expect our non-human companions to suddenly take on sentience. One does not want all your friends to be exactly the same. What I like about my Little Penguin is that he isn't going to suddenly talk back. He sits there, keeps me company, chills. That's a good friend!

***********************************
8. Things to Celebrate


*************************************
There is reason enough in a glass of beer to celebrate. In all statistical likelihood, nothing is far more probable than something. Physicists are still trying to figure out how the equal part of anti-matter didn't obliterate the equal part of matter just after the big-bang. Theologians wonder at why. Philosophers will often debate whether things actually do exist. Add to all these the thousands of little cosmic incidentals to bring us all together each day, to craft a single mug of beer with people to enjoy it, is enough reason to celebrate. We might yet still create reason enough by calling it "Steam-Punk Weekend" and get our goggles on.

***********************************
9. Good Food


*************************************
Polish Truism: Food is Love. This is hardly exclusive to Poles. Calling people in from the streets and breaking bread together has long been regarded as one of the most primal rituals. Animal communities form around the watering hole, the human-animal as well. Perhaps this why hospitality predates charity. Before we knew how to give, we learned to share. There is practical reason for this: teaching someone to fish is fine, but it's hard for any of us to work on an empty stomach. And in sharing our meal we feed on other kinds of food: company and conversation.

***********************************
10. People to Share It With


*************************************
I love you for not being me. No matter how happy a life is, change requires difference and the difference is always somehow unexpected. Given room enough and time, I can plot out my own course but I can't (so long as I remain the same) imagine change. Whatever transformations I can furnish my mind with all contain their roots in what I already know. The allure of life and change, really the mystery of all things, is that which I do not contain within myself. My world becomes wider with every swerve in the conversation with friends. This is when the adventure of an ever changing community shines over the monotony of being. I like my friends because they are like me, but I love them because they are emphatically not.

1 comment:

  1. I love it! (And I love that I made it up there!) ;)

    ReplyDelete