Written for my former blog, “Sweetly Surprised”
At the end of 2010, I made a last-minute decision, signing up for a Creative Nonfiction writing class through UCLA. My (wonderful) teacher began our first day of class with an exercise, one that surrounded a familiar question:
“What three words would you use to describe yourself?”
One by one, each person wrote his or her words on the board; thereafter, each student spoke for a few minutes, further explaining why each particular word was so very valid.
Not only have I participated in this exercise during numerous classes, but I’ve been asked the same question during job interviews. It was only a few months ago -during an interview for a job that I absolutely did not want (in Los Angeles), that I had to describe myself in three words. If I had felt comfortable answering that question as honestly as possible, I probably would have said something along the lines of . . .
Amazed: I’m truly amazed that I’m here, putting forth effort to “have a shot” at receiving a position that is similar to one that I had, five years ago, during college.
Frustrated: I’m frustrated that I drove through Los Angeles traffic in order to sit here & put on a facade -acting as if I want this job.
Overqualified: I’m overqualified for this position, which will lead to utter boredom & (quite possibly) depression. Thanks for taking the time to put on your facade -just for me. Goodbye.
Three days ago, I began to think of the lovely “three-word” question while perusing the aisles of Michaels Craft Store (one of my favorite places, and quite possibly the greatest establishment in Oregon City), during my break between a few promotional jobs.
It was Saturday night; I was booked to work at two different bars. After having finished my first shift, I treated myself to Michaels. At 8:30 PM, wearing my short black skirt & black high heels, I was in search of the perfect notebook; and, I couldn’t help but wander a little, dreaming of all the art to craft.
Suddenly, I was reminded of my life, five years prior, when I worked at the District Attorney’s Office (during the day) & Hooters (at night). The thing that has remained true within time is that my life seems to be full of things that clash (according to the average person’s perspective). But, that’s apparently part of who I am, which makes it a little tough to sum myself up in three small words.
The thing about the whole “three-word” ordeal is that a person changes from day to day; so, even if you aren’t a vegetarian who dislikes salads -even if your life is full of things that ring harmony to others ears, it’s still quite silly to sum yourself up in three words when you never really know what tomorrow will bring. Each day is brand new, and you’re given an opportunity to evolve & change in positive ways.
During a recent conversation with a friend, he and I discussed matters of the past. Something occurred to him, much earlier in his life. After he told me about what happened, he confessed that this past occurrence was very much a part of who he is, to this very day. But, within the next thirty minutes, he was able to see a new perspective, realizing that he’s actually not connected to what occurred, in any way at all.
The real truth is -tomorrow, when we wake up, we must remind ourselves that it’s the first day of the rest of our lives. It’s our choice to connect ourselves to the past. But, if we connect ourselves to the past, we are choosing to “be” someone -in the present moment- that is associated with a past time -a time we can never return to. We can’t ever return to our pasts, nor are we able to skip to the future. Time is so very fleeting, therefore if we make the choice with the freedom we are given, we can choose to wake up each morning with new eyes.
Waking up with new eyes is waking up & making the choice to embrace the unknown (i.e., future) in order to live in the present. That’s what being “Sweetly Surprised” is all about; it’s an awakening to the truth that every day is new. Instead of going about the day, seeing the “same old” sky, bird, someone you love, or even a stranger, you see the day with brand new eyes, as if every single thing is new and amazing because it is. The truth is -if you can’t get the past back, and you cannot guarantee the future, then everything is always new; and, if it’s new, so are you. It’s your choice. Easier said than done -but, I guess that’s why this life is not for the faint of heart.
Be surprised by everything you see and experience. Live in love by making the choice to love who you are. “Who you are” is based upon this very moment; therefore, you can choose to be the person you want to be, and live life the way you truly want to live. If you base “who you are” upon your past, are you truly being “you,” or are you putting forth effort (i.e., wasting precious time) to create a “self” that is based upon a period in time that you can never get back.
To be more selfless, each person must not put forth so much effort -making sure we consider the past & each “yesterday,” in order to live accordingly, today. Would you want me to live my life, tomorrow and so forth, basing my existence on what occurred, yesterday -basing “who I am” upon the ways I have been treated by others? Do other peoples actions and hurtful words make me worthless or unworthy of a good today? We all do this -we base our today upon what happened yesterday; yet, is that living truthfully?
There’s an amazing book that I’d recommend to anyone & everyone: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Not only is it an easy read, but it consists of 138 pages which provide the truth & simplicity of it all. Oftentimes, we make agreements with ourselves. . .
“I don’t dance.”
“I want to be ______ when I grow up.”
“I’d never do that. I am ________.”
Today, tomorrow -any day that you’d like- I hope you find yourself Sweetly Surprised, once you realize that it doesn’t really matter what you (or someone else) did or said, yesterday (or any day before that). Make the choice to wake up with new eyes, allow yourself to feel Sweetly Surprised by life and by the freedom you have to choose who you are -who you want to be. Be who you want to be.