I’ve already established that I lived in my head for many months between being laid off from my job and moving to Alabama. While a lot of my journal entries were chasing after total understanding, obsessing over things that I couldn’t change on my own and just worrying about all sorts of things, there were also some moments of epiphany. Moments of clarity. These happened especially when I took time to slow down and just be quiet. Be still. Not chasing after things or trying to check off all the items on my to-do list. And I thought I’d share a few of those.
During the summer of 2007, as I was wrapping up my year in Los Angeles, our little volunteer community took some personality inventories.
I don’t know why we took these assessments at the end of our volunteer experience. Perhaps it was meant to serve as confirmation of behavior and preferences rather than uncover new insight. I walked away with some enlightening information and yet there were still plenty of questions.
I learned I was considered very introverted. Scoring 9 or possibly 10 out of 10.
We did these exercises in high school where we wrote ourselves a letter, most likely highlighting our goals for the future. Then the teacher collected them and maybe one year later (or five), we received them in the mail. At the time of writing, it seemed silly to write out your goals, completely convinced there’s no way you’re going to forget what’s important. But you do. The elapsed time prompts other interests and priorities. Opening that letter means grasping a piece of the past; tangible evidence of the person you were back then.
That’s how I feel with revisiting my old journals; I’m uncovering buried treasure.
I was reading through my college journals recently and came across several pages where I did some brainstorming for a new poem.
At the end of January 2002, the senior class had the opportunity to go on a class trip to Disney World. I think it was a Friday-Monday kind of thing, so we didn’t get to skip too much class time. It was an awesome chance to bond with classmates, even if it did require more than 7 hours on a bus.
Ellen may have been bold with her verbal communication and more direct than me, but it was the kind of push I needed. You can’t always wait for things to happen; often times you have to take matters into your own hands and act to bring the results you want.
The dawn of senior year meant Ellen became our basketball team captain. She earned that title for sure. Like many others, she could see my potential on the court, and so she pushed me to be better. She pushed me to be more of a presence in the paint, more aggressive, instead of being intimidated. She pushed me to take ownership of my ability. We were the “twin towers” under the basket, and we learned a lot about teamwork. You can’t be a successful team with a “one-man show,” and senior year certainly brought out more opportunities for working together.