[ From the Archives of 365 ]
“So many people today are ‘self-aware,’ but lack the ability for ‘self-reflection’… when the door is unlocked, at least twist the door handle and check it out. Know yourself and see if it is what you want.”
Richard has been glued to his chair for days, retouching images from some recent projects — remove all that is unwanted, enhance what is there, and “keep it natural.”
I have to laugh about it sometimes; our world is obsessed with perfection, even at the expense of reality. However, to give equal voice to the art of retouching—a still photo is fixed, static, immovable, and sometimes “flaws” that would never, ever be noticed when a person is in motion, stand out so prominently that they overpower the whole. When personality, mood, and natural body expression contribute their share to the overall look of a person you get a very different picture. I could go on and on about this topic and the “false” images we are promoting to an ever self-confidence-loosing generation, but I’ll put my soapbox away (for now).
OK, so, I wandered off-track. Where is Richard and why is he having his lovely wife host-writing for him today? Well, once again, Richard’s schedule has compressed. As stated before, he has been retouching, prepping for a shoot tomorrow, and he still needs to shoot and write his 365 entry—taking him to the point of making a choice between sleep and work. As he needs to leave by 6:30am to be on set, I tell him to sleep and I will write his post for him. He gladly accepts… hopefully he won’t regret his decision.
I will admit, I have been grumpy most of the day. Hormones, lack of sleep, off-day… I don’t know, but my cup ’o patience is empty. After dinner I suggest we all get out of the house and go for a walk – dad, mom, daughter, razor scooter, Scottie, and Yorkie… the whole menagerie parading around the neighborhood, but it helps to shake my negative mood. It has been raining and this evening is absolutely beautiful. Afterward, Richard suggests we all head to Starbucks to get some hot cocoa and I could help him interview his 365 Stranger for day 200. So, off we go…
We arrive at Richard’s favorite Starbucks (I can think of at least 5 others within a short distance from our home – crazy).
“Wanna try a difference Starbucks tonight?” I ask.
“Not tonight. I like this one. There’s a lot of traffic and I always seem to meet someone here.”
Upon arrival, Richard immediately sees one of his past 365 friends and talks to him for a few minutes. He feels at home and I go along with it. A couple hot chocolates and a slice of pumpkin bread later, we find a table outside and wait. Richard has already had two rejections: interesting project, but not interested in being part of it. Richard doesn’t get ruffled or give up, he just counts them as two more people he has met and goes on.
“Life has a way of unraveling on its own, but everything has a strange way of working out.” He adds, “A lot of people get really caught up in their future and stress about it.”
As my daughter and I sip our warm pepper-minty cups and nibble on the bread, Richard approaches a couple sitting at a table. He talks to them for a minute and our daughter pops out, “They’re gonna do it!” Knowing that I am going to be host-writing today, I walk over to the table to be included in the conversation.
Meet our 365 Friends for day 200: Quintin and Jacklyn. Coming to Starbucks to take advantage of the wireless service, the friends huddle at an outdoor table to enjoy the evening and just be in the moment.
Quintin and Jacklyn are fun, intelligent, and easy to talk with. I will not reveal their ages, but I seriously thought we were talking to college graduates, several years into a profession. I was surprised to find that I was quite wrong. They are both barely two decades old, yet their insight on life and wisdom was refreshing and amazing to me. Both Richard and I left this meeting with a sense of hope for the future.
Quintin expresses, “Life has a way of unraveling on its own, but everything has a strange way of working out.” He adds, “A lot of people get really caught up in their future and stress about it.”
Jacklyn chimes in: “Enjoy where you are at the moment. Everyone is in such a rush.”
Now don’t get me wrong, these are not two kids just kickin’ it and letting life happen to them; quite the opposite. Their stance is more one of self-reflection, getting to know yourself, and understanding what you have to offer. Being true to yourself and your gifts and relaxing about it – being OK with who you are.
Jacklyn explains that one of the greatest gifts her parents gave her was the ability to do self-reflection—her key to life. “So many people today are ‘self-aware,’ but lack the ability for ‘self-reflection’… when the door is unlocked, at least twist the door handle and check it out. Know yourself and see if it is what you want.”
We talk for a time on this subject and Quintin, when asked about what he sees in the future, presents a very intriguing idea. He explains that since 2008, and the subsequent economic turmoil that has affected so many, he has noticed, “Even in the youth, all around, all are starting to do things they want to do… because, ‘How bad can it really get?’”
Both Jacklyn and Quintin express that uncertainty is one of the greatest gifts in life. When each day comes you can ask yourself, “What is going to come my way? I am going to wrap my arms around it.”
Jacklyn explains that we cannot see the future. Using the 1950s as an example of a time when we were better able to look to the future and map out a plan with some level of certainty: “50s life was so set-out… our lives are not so mapped out.” However, “we can hop on the computer and be more aware of things happening around (us). I like to think there is a happier outlook for the future”
Jacklyn and Quinton — thank you for your optimism, your maturity, and your fresh outlook on life. I hope for everyone that we can all do some self-reflection, trust our inner voice, and step forward with confidence in the belief that we all have something valuable to bring to the game—all in good time, all in good time.