|If you want people at Starbucks to look at you oddly,
start taking pictures of your legs underneath the table.
As of late, my goal with my students has been to understand the importance of stories, and I’ve been trying to help them see that stories are invisible, that they are truly everywhere, and that we, as storytellers, simply need to bring them out. It’s odd, because there seems to be this inexplicable lag time between the moment when I tell my students something and the moment when I actually begin to internalize it.
Two years ago, I first taught this idea of uncovering stories to my students. After one more time this past summer, I’ve begun teaching this idea for, yet, a third time, and as I teach it, I am truly starting to see, not only the ever-present stories that surround us, but the relevance of those stories, and our telling of them, in our lives.
In fact, narratives themselves are the experiences that shape us. As I’ve stated many times before, we are nothing more than the experiences that precede us. Perhaps I should modify that statement: We are nothing more than the past narratives that compose our existence. And there is one part of my body that I feel has propelled me into a life full of stories, and has given me my story for today. That body part, oddly enough, is my legs.
Today, I decided to walk. I took the L into the city, disembarked at the Monroe stop, and decided I’d make a stop in Millenium Park, perhaps do a bit of reading or working, and then maybe make my way elsewhere. Surely enough, the great lawn was being watered, so those plans were quickly swept aside. I walked further, wandering aimlessly until remembering that I wanted to buy a book of blank music sheets, for my new song-writing kick. I found a Barnes and Noble and wandered down that way.
Nothing of importance occurred on the way to Barnes and Noble, aside from a minor anxiety attack after I jaywalked in the presence of an officer. How embarrassing would that be: A jaywalking ticket?
After that fear receded, I got inside, retrieved my music book and decided to ponder some of the “new” books they were selling. I came across The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter–and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay.
Naturally, this was the perfect choice for my current third-life crisis, so I purchased it immediately, excited to begin unfolding its pages and subsequent meaning.
|From my walk today|
The first part of the book recounts the misconceptions surroudning twenty somethings–that our twenties are simply a waste of time, that this time should be free of commitment and full of non-committal irresponsibility, and that thirty is the new twenty. I already wholeheartedly disagreed with these ignorant fallacies, making the book’s message especially palpable in my mind. In order to shatter this misconception, she stresses the importance of twenty-somethings taking charge of their lives and making decisions that require forethought and a plan for the future. More so, however, it is important for twenty somethings to do something–something purposeful, mind you–even if they’re not sure where it is going to lead them.
How do I take this? I take this as writing your own story. As a twenty-something, it is my responsibility, at this ever so critical point in my life, to take control and write the rising action to my own story. For it will climax eventually, and I’d rather the rising action be something to read about.
The twenties are not a waste; rather, they are a critical part to the rising action of our own stories. They are a critical time for growth and discovery, but that discovery and growth should be purposeful and responsive to the consequential events that unfold.
So today, I appreciate my legs–my legs that helped me wander through the city, the legs that are helping me to wander through my life, the legs that are redirecting me when I’m lost, the legs that directed me to Barnes and Noble today, and the legs that are going to eventually take me exactly to where I need to be.