So you want to change the world…

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

Image source: Safe Defense

H circa 2009 was a (surprisingly?) wise young woman. Here’s something penned on March 19, 2009 at 12:30am. (I was always the meticulous one.*)

•  •  •

Reflect on those less fortunate and feel not guilt, but gratitude. In an age where inaction toward a(ny) cause may draw raised eyebrows from judging peers, feel not obliged to act out of pressure to conform to this new social norm if it does not come from a conviction within you.

Rather, begin by acknowledging your privilege, and all that it affords you.

gender  race  country of origin  current residence  sexual orientation  education  wealth  status  “beauty”  age  ability  wisdom  support  religion  opportunity  possibility

Be conscious of your advantages. Be grateful for them.

This is a start. This is enough. More than money thrown to a cause can ever do. Because this could spark true understanding; deep appreciation.

Appreciate the power of words.  Appreciate the power of small actions. Never stop questioning. Learn curiously. Learn concern. Learn humility. Learn gratitude. Learn kindness. Learn the art of negotiation. Learn the value of communication.

Learn to love. Love to learn.

•  •  •

Stumbling upon this entry of mine was so refreshing, because it was a tacit reminder of both how much I’ve grown, and how very much I’ve stayed the same. Reading through it, the following thoughts comically strung together:

“I want to be this person.”

. . . “I was this person.”

. . . “I am this person.”

There are, of course, other things I would add to that quick list I’d blurted out 3 years and 8 months ago (e.g. mobility, security, spirituality, agency, connection, freedom, technology…). There are, of course, nuanced thoughts and great complexities merely caressed by those words, that remain unexplored above.

But from where I’m sitting, that simplicity and imperfection is what it’s all about. So, from where I’m sitting, it’s simply perfect.

Yes, I’m out to change the world. (I will, I guarantee it.) I’m starting with me.

Humbly, ~ H

The big dots of the post

“Change is a process, not an event.”
Working on “me” first is even an airline industry concept (oxygen masks, anyone?)
We give our past selves less credit than is due (and our current selves more credit than is deserved). Note to self: stop that.
“Everything in moderation.” Reflection is powerful when it feeds into action; don’t get too stuck in either.
Action based on a solid foundation – of self, of knowledge, of cultivated empathy – is so much more impactful (IMHO). Pretty much unstoppable.

Do you still feel guilty when you’re faced with an issue you’re not currently “fighting”? How do you cultivate that much-needed strong inner conviction?

*Looking back on my calendar, it turns out I had come home sick from school that day. In the throws of work/papers/midterms/exec commitments that week… it was a rest day. Chased a recuperating nap with an 8 hour paper-writing stint – with these thoughts pouring out of me around the halfway mark. Funny how that works…

Related:
• Susanne Conrad’s “Above / Below the Line” concept visualized.
• “I Want to Be An Aid Worker” – on cultural tourism (a.musing)
• Taking care of the care-givers.
• Lehrer on The Virtues of Daydreaming.
• Bump that track; turn up the love.

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What sticks.

Image source: Annie’s Treasure Trove


What do you remember?

Forget the prompts. Forget the notes and scribbles. Don’t look at your planner or calendar. Don’t look at your photo albums (ahem, physical or digital). Do not look at your Twitter stream or media bookmarks.

What do you remember?

I’ve always had a naturally swiss cheesey / sieve-like memory (i.e. I forget a lot of things, have a hard time retaining information with one-pass, etc.). This is something that I have to work to overcome.

Enter: calendars  notebooks  souvenirs  photos  sticky-notes  coloured pens… (Stationary obsession? Is this why you exist?!)

But, in my humble opinion, there is (a) healthy dependence and then there is (b) crippling dependence. Slippery slope.

these are my confessions:
I have this dangerous reliance on my GoogleCalendar. To the point where sometimes I will have forgotten what day something happened, or what I’d done the previous Thursday. So I will look back to check.
Or (and I know I’m not alone in this) – some kind of request on my time comes my way, and I defer the decision with a quick (accepted, and understood) “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.”

Stop. What the hell are we doing? I wonder how much of this ties in to this epidemic of defaulting to “I’m busy“…

try this: Take the 168 hours of the past full week, Monday – Sunday. (Ok, sleeping, showering, pooping, etc. gets you a pass.) What do you remember?

A rogue thought that keeps re-visiting me is this: maybe those are the only things that count.

Are they? Let me think about it… (and not consult my notes).

Humbly, ~ H

The big dots of the post

Point of contention: if it doesn’t stick in your memory, is it truly worth remembering (long-term)?
There’s a difference between collecting moments and hoarding memories.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Forgive forgetting. It’s allowed sometimes.
If we can’t keep track of our lives, maybe it’s a sign we’re doing too much yet being too little…

Do you have a hard time remembering without the myriad of tools at our disposal? Is it time we start flexing that brain muscle to be the primary keeper of our memories?

Related:
• “Pictures or It Didn’t Happen…” on Truth and Cake.
• There are industries built on preserving memories. Take photography, for one. Apparently, this is the latest trend in the couples / wedding photography industry… #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmm
How Timeline could shape our memory of our lives.
• Ellen plays with others’ Facebook.

P.S. I don’t think it’s right to talk about remembering, specifically in November, without respecting history and remembering the lessons taught by our collective history. This year, I hope you’ve made the time to make “Remembrance Day” your own, whatever that looks like. Finding a veteran, or family members of veteran soldiers, to hear their stories; doing some research into the history; understanding the causes and effects of war. Do something that represents these big things in a way that resonates with you. Make it matter past a post or a tweet. Give a damn. My respect to the fallen masses, without whom I would not be living the life I am today. “We stand on the shoulders of giants.”