“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.”-Allen Ginsberg
I’ve always been drawn to quotes similar to these, not for my own benefit, but as a reminder that I need to be aware that there are other people around me who have stories that I may only know a few chapters of. For some, it may be as little as a few paragraphs.
Sometimes I catch myself drifting off into my own little world of isolation and I tune out society. I’ll find music to listen to, photos to edit or stories to read and write and ignore everything else.
We’ve all driven home before without realizing how we got there (essentially finding ourselves running in autopilot).
But occasionally something pulls me from this self-imposed solitary confinement and I notice little details that I probably would have overlooked were it not for this introspection.
Ultimately when I started writing this blog it was for me to learn from my daily actions and reflect on how my life is going right now. Looking back, I’ve realized that I haven’t necessarily followed that formula, but I have learned a lot about my life in this moment.
I’ve learned that I have incredible friends, that I enjoy my work more than I initially realized and at the same time I’m more stressed about work and school than I’d care to admit. However, I’ve also realized that I tend to prepare for the future more than I live in the present.
This is the moment that I’d like to shift that way of thinking–at least every now and then.
On Sunday night of this week, I put aside my last internship application and cover letter and told myself that I was going to focus on the moment I was living in.
I captured a few photos each day that ultimately summarized how that day looked for me or what was the most memorable moment that stuck out. So here’s a snapshot of my week, a few abstract and atypically-typical photos at a time:
In all fairness, when I first started this week’s post I had just finished a round of homework and was blowing off steam with a couple episodes of “The Office.” I have learned that I am essentially Jim Halpert. (Lily also agrees)
Monday was a rough one as Lily had to encounter our neighbor dog for the first time-via window. After a tense exchange, the heated conversation was resolved when he re-entered his home. (She’s a little territorial.)
Production nights consume my afternoons, evenings, early mornings (and occasionally my nightmares). Tuesday was a long evening filled with a hefty amount of copy edits and design changes, but in the end the paper was produced and amazingly the sun rose again the next day.
My favorite afternoon of the week (because work isn’t on the agenda after 11:30 a.m.), I spend the majority of my time skimming through new musicians and trying to pin down the next artist I want to see live. Okay, well I do this in-between homework stretches, but still…
I can’t lie, the most memorable part of this day was also my least favorite part–the fact that it began at 4 a.m. However, as the Observer staff took off to San Francisco for another journalism conference, it improved dramatically. The best part so far? The hotel’s art in the lobby and the rows of rooms that remind me of the Galactic Senate in Star Wars.
It’s the end of the week! Even though this isn’t technically a full week, especially since Saturday will hopefully be filled with a lot of great information and city exploration, Friday has been a decent end-cap. The highlight was by far an early session in the morning with the photo editor of Mother Jones (a magazine) and going out into the town and visiting the City Lights Bookstore. The photographic and historical aspects were both inspirational and thought-provoking.
Allen Ginsberg has been an incredible influence in my writing career, and visiting the bookstore in which he first read “Howl”–a poem that challenged the norm and censorship laws simultaneously-has created a highlight of this journey that will be challenging to top through the remainder of the week.
Granted, this week has been more adventurous than my typical week, but looking back I have realized that even the littlest moments can be memorable and exciting. It hasn’t been exciting because I’m in a new city or exploring late-night Chinatown on a Friday night. I’ve found excitement this week in the small rifts between my cat and the neighbor dog, and joy in the small bookstore that I have a deeply personal connection with thanks to a once unknown beat poet who shaped the world of literature.
I truly believe that awareness of the world around you, including your own world and all of the little moments that make up your days, will help you realize that life is important. It’s also crucial to have moments of introspection every now and then to ensure that you are aware of what makes you happy.
So whether the highlights of your day include finding a new musical artist that you fall in love with or reconnecting with an inspirational poem that has shaped the world, find those moments and hold on to them. Learn to live in the present, because all too soon it will be the past.