25 years, 7 thoughts, part 1: [BEAUTY.]

Hello, dear friends!
Yesterday morning, I was in my apartment and was suddenly flooded with a number of thoughts about life – about the things I enjoy, about the purpose I serve, about what ways I can be a receiver of life, and what ways I can be a giver of it. I jotted down 7 thoughts, and decided to do a blog series on them leading up to my 25th birthday.

In a lot of ways, I’m terribly self-critical, so I undoubtedly had to fight thoughts such as, “have you seriously not learned this by now?” And in a sense, I have – I grasp it mentally. In other senses, I haven’t. There’s a constant battle between my inner thinker and my inner feeler – I am very much both – and I can let logic inform some of my actions, but often times I let emotion inform them. In some ways, my emotions even inform my logic, so it’s all one hot mess of logic and emotion and thought and information.

So I’ve decided – for the sake of my own process and the accountability of others – to share these publically.

Here’s the first of seven thoughts, and I will hopefully write one every day leading up to next Wednesday.

Find what is beautiful, celebrate it.

You could replace the word “beautiful” with the word “excellent,” either way. But essentially, this breaks down into two things.

1. The pursuit of beauty. Be on the look out for it at all times – because it is everywhere. It is in the cup of coffee you brew in the morning. It is in the labor of the numerous journalists who compiled the newspaper you grab on your doorstep. It is in the reliability of your car that gets you to work. It’s in the combination and coordination of music that floods your ears during the commute. It’s in the architecture of the building, the leaves on the trees, the bright colors of the green go-light, and the stillness and the slowness of the red stop-light. It’s in the play you go to in the evening, the steak you eat for dinner, the shot of bourbon you drink after, the warmth of your bed at night. It’s everywhere. So, as Rachel Held Evans kindly reminded me in her latest book, pay attention.

2. The celebration of beauty. If the first component is an inward reminder, the second is an outward expression. Compliment beauty. I don’t just mean people and their looks – although that is a kind thing to do (if you do it right and don’t step on too many toes in the process) – I mean compliment the process. Tip your cap (or maybe just tip) to the barista who made the coffee (I say this as a coffee consumer, not as a coffee laborer.) Say a silent “thank you” for the excellent glass of wine. Say a prayer and tell God how great the sky looks. Applaud the actor, the musician. When someone does good work – acknowledge it. Feedback is the fuel of the human creative consciousness.

So keep your head up and your eyes open – find what you love to see (more on that in the next entry) and find what you don’t love to see…be on the constant lookout for beauty in life. Music, art, nature, poetry, literature, work, films, plays, exercise, writing, planning, photography, dance, whatever that is for you – find the beautiful things in life, and celebrate them.

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