Awhile back, I read something somewhere.
Okay, so I know that we’ve all read this probably hundreds of times before. As individuals who frequent the Internet, this is a given. But before you scroll past this, thinking “I’ve already had my fill of unwarranted opinions today,” bear with me. Pause. Marinate with this.
Awhile back, I read something somewhere. I don’t know which book or magazine or article I got it from, but it stuck with me.
The Dalai Lama was asked for words of advice on how to improve our daily lives and emotional wellbeing. It went something like this…
“Go somewhere you’ve never been. Do something you’ve never done. Repeat this once a year.”
Now, this didn’t give me some sort of huge epiphany. I didn’t feel renewed or like a glass had shattered above me, but these words stuck with me, silently pushing me to live at least once a year. It became an unintentional mantra.
My family used to go on these big, two-week summer vacations. They were always to somewhere new. We explored and loved every minute of it. My most favorite memories are from those trips. We climbed rocks in Maine and watched fireworks in a severe thunderstorm and hiked a canyon in the snow.
However, our lives have shifted since then. We still do trips, but they’re smaller and typically within a couple days driving distance from home. When everything shifted, seemingly all at once, I remember wondering how I’d continue to live my mantra. And then my depression really took hold.
I had to start from square-one again. I was too anxious to really leave my home. It was so bad that my mother and sister regularly checked on me, bringing me lunch and offering a ride to class nearly everyday. I was broke. I made myself busy with rehearsals and classes and an on-campus job, subconsciously giving myself an excuse to isolate.
But something changed in me over the last few years. I have lived and loved with intention, which I think is really the gist of what the Dalai Lama was saying. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Anyway, this past weekend I went to a new place and did a new thing, as small as it will seem to many of you. I joined my family in Mammoth Lakes and hiked to the top of Devils Postpile with my father. I swam in Horseshoe Lake (the only one actually swimming, since people are apparently not into cold water like I am), and I painted two new landscapes. I solo-roadtripped from here to there and back again. I feel proud. I feel fresh. I feel exhausted. I feel alive.
So, I must ask you, how will you live this year?