The thing about blogging is that I started it in college and I gave it up a few years later. I still remember where I would blog, in the living room of that one-bedroom apartment I shared with a close friend, using the dial-up internet and trying to log into Livejournal, hoping the website would be up and not down for maintenance. I remember staying up late drinking coffee, writing those essays I wrote for my English classes, and always slipping away to write some kind of blog post I thought was so clever or cute and most of the time was neither. But I remember that moment because it was probably the moment where writing was the most magical and it sparked something for me. When I thought, “Oh, I would love to do this forever.” No one had to read it and I would do that forever. I still feel that way about writing.
These moments from ten, fifteen years ago, they still feel so strongly to me. It’s not like you get older and you just forget about these things. I know we’re somehow supposed to because we’re supposed to be mature. Maturity seems to be about hardening, pretending that things don’t bother us anymore. We’re supposed to toughen up and solve all our problems by being positive and proactive, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from getting older, it’s that I’ve realized how much softer I feel towards the world because I think life can be so hard. There is a melancholy to life knowing that things will never stay as they are and that we will lose those we love along the way.
The difference between now and then is that now I would claim my space in a way I wouldn’t have done back then. I remember thinking that how many people wanted to be my Livejournal friend would validate my writing. I remember that strain to be so clever. I remember the way I was always waiting around for permission. I never really got that permission, by the way.
These days I am taking a Life and Career Planning class at a local community college with mostly nineteen to twenty-year olds. Nothing makes me feel older than hanging out with nineteen and twenty-year olds. I don’t think they realize how stunningly beautiful they all are, just by their youth, by the bloom on their faces. We’ve taken a lot of different career and personality tests and it’s been good to see my strengths that I have for so long dismissed. Careers don’t have be so awful. They can have a kind of ease to them when you are finally doing the right thing.
Recently, I heard David Whyte speak on the On Being podcast. He spoke to me so I bought his Consolations book. It is lovely. I would put this book in the hands of every person who walked by, and I swear the world would be a kinder place. But I liked what he had to say about genius: “Genius is something we already possess…To live one’s genius is to dwell easily at the crossing point where all the elements of our life and our inheritance join and make a meeting…Our genius is to understand and stand beneath the set of stars present at our birth, and from that place, to seek the hidden, single star, over the night horizon, we did not know we were following.”
I love this idea of genius already residing in all of us and somehow figuring it out. That resonates so much to me with my class and what I’ve been thinking about these days. I would like to use this space to explore ideas like these more. This is a start.