Category: Lessons

this present moment

A friend recently told me that they only ask questions if it pertains to who a person is right now.

“I want to know who you are, not who you were.”

Not going to lie, my brow furrowed.

I see a strong vein of truth that I agree with, but almost equally powerfully disagree.

I am who I am because of who I was.

A conversation here, a crazy night there, a struggle, a triumph, a journey, a moment.

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To only want to know a person in this present moment is to lose the rich tapestry of being alive.

The past gives depth. The future gives growth. The present moment is only a snapshot. I would not be who I am if it were not for the experiences that led me to this moment. I am on a trajectory for tomorrow because of where I am today.

You are always told to live in the present: YOLO, carpe diem, all that.

The present is a beautiful thing. Time is a beautiful thing. But to only know one part, be it any part of their timeline, is to miss the true beauty.

This present moment is a kaleidoscope of memories and dreams, taking a deep breath to appreciate a thousand coincidences and questions that drove you to right here.

This present moment is full of opinions and beliefs that are wildly different from the past – but why? When I meet someone, I don’t just want to know that you agree with me, I want to know why. What led you to be the person you are today?

There’s a story.

A beginning, a middle, and an end.

I want to know you, who you are today. But I want to know where you’ve been and where you are going. I want to know why you justify some things, why you forgive others, what causes triggers and emotions to flare. I want to know what makes you you.

Those answers rarely are found in the present moment.

They grow, they develop, they change.

If I want to know you, I want to know why.

I want you to be genuine.

I want the intimacy that comes with revealing.

I want to share in your joy and laughter, your heartache and pain.

I want to know the past, dream of the future, and have it all come back to this present moment.

starting over

I moved to Denver out of anger.

A year ago, I was at Barista Camp, sitting at a symposium about running a cafe. Everything that people suggested for what a good owner/manager does, I just kept thinking about my Boss Man. “But that’s what my boss already does,” I fought back tears.

I was living my dream a year and a half ago. Dream job, dream roommate, dream boyfriend, dream circle of friends. Life was amazing, and I was thriving under the pressure.

When the walls came crumbling down, I didn’t know what to do. When after months of putting all his effort into getting a fair shake fell through and my boss made the sad decision to close our store, I was at a loss. I was bitter, angry. I wanted to flee the midwest, start running and never look back. Without realizing it, without meaning to, I started shutting down. I wrapped up the infection in my soul and ignored it.

Phoenix with G? Louisville with Emily? Seattle with Janice? Did I want to go to Boston, because of the song? Did I want to go to South Carolina, because of the travelers from a train in Ireland? No, I decided. I wanted to go to Denver. Denver, for the mountains. Denver, because it was far, but not too far. Denver, because they told me there was a thriving coffee scene. Denver, because I knew the Chaser would love to follow me there. Denver, because moving to another state alone was scarier than moving to another country for the same reason.

Denver itself was a flip of a coin. But fleeing? That was from anger. That my dream First World had been shattered, and I was done.

Anger is a fuel. But not necessarily a good one, and very rarely a healthy one.

I ran on it until I could run no more. And then I found myself complacent. I’d run out of steam, I’d run out of passion. I felt alone in the city, restless in my job, trapped in my townhouse, and discontent in my relationship.

Then, somebody made the mistake of asking me a question.

“Are you happy?”

That is who I used to be. My level of normal was at most people’s really good day. And I no longer was. I was no longer curious, excited, passionate. I was no longer confident, creative, overflowing, or easily delighted. I was sinking. Day by day, complacency was replacing my soul.

Saying “no” to that question was a shock to me.

This last month has been like a shockwave through my system.

Two dear friends moved to Denver with their significant others, and I’m finally started to develop real relationships with people I met here. I’m single for the first time in two years, and cautiously starting to question who I am and what I want. I put in my notice at my promising management job so I could step back into the role of student and coffee geek.

Life is scary.

But for the first time in a year, anger is no longer my fuel.

I’m allowing myself to feel for the first time in far too long.

There’s a lot of bottled up pain, a lot of displaced emotions that I’m finally letting myself examine and deal with.

I’m starting over.

It’s scary.

But it’s time to heal.

Blogging, a question mark

What is the purpose of blogging?

The last several months I’ve noted that more and more of my Facebook friends have taken the proverbial pen in hand to broadcast their thoughts and lives to the world in the form of a blog. I am by no means a regular writer in my own, but take pleasure in reading from others.

I also am constantly searching for new blogs, seeking validation in the emotions and questions that I have – how do other people in my stage of life handle situations, make decisions, move from one day to the next? Although I suppose I qualify as a “digital native”, I am lost in the tangled world wide web, using rudimentary search functions to try find my far flung peers.

I was complaining about this to my roommate the other day. “I can’t find blogs about twentysomethings just trying to figure out what they’re doing with their lives! College students, young mothers, business professionals, sure! But what about those who DON’T know what they’re doing with their lives? Who have graduated, are not married, and are not working for a multi-million dollar corporation? Where are we represented? Why can’t I find their daily ponderings about how to survive?”

She looked at me, and bless her heart, said, “Why don’t you write it?”

Well, the reason is: I’m an external processor. I write when I have something to say. That’s usually when I’m processing something. It’s hardly professional to write about wrestling with the decision of whether to stay at my current job or move on, publishing my thoughts for the world to see before I’ve had that conversation with my boss. (For those of you keeping track: I’m staying.) Nor is it kosher to write about the frustrations and victories at work or in relationships.

I can’t write in an abstract way. I can’t discuss in real time what I’m learning, how I’m changing, what questions I’m trying to answer. It is only after the coals have cooled that I am able to speak with clarity, fairness, and quality.

But frankly, that doesn’t help the next person searching for answers. The thought process I think is just as important as the answers. It’s messy, it’s ugly, and no two people can ever follow the same road map. Viewing a situation through someone else’s lens, and understanding their reflections, can reveal more angles and ideas in ones own world, even if the final outcome is completely different. The journey is the destination, after all, isn’t that what has always been preached?

I do not have the ability to write about my journey. I can only stand on the plains and look around me, sometimes euphoric, sometimes just introspective. I can talk about where I have been, but I can’t talk about how I got there. Forgive me, but I can not write the blog I so desperately want to read.

Humans of New York
“What we see is affected by our memories, our feelings, and by what we’ve seen before.”