Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Favorite: Stargazing

Every Friday I write about my favorite things. So far I've covered, well actually, this is my first Friday Favorite post!

I am continually amazed by the night sky. There is nothing like the feeling that exists only in the middle of open grassy fields after night has fallen. When the air is still warm and thick, but the grass is cool and it sticks to the backs of your knees. And the sky is both dark and crystal clear.

It is in those moments that time stops and my mind reels from the enormity and timelessness of the vista. If there is one thing that I have trouble comprehending and accepting it is the idea of eternity. Stargazing makes me face that head on. The night sky that I see is the night sky that all people have seen before me, it has existed always. The stars that I'm seeing existed in a time that is too long ago for me to comprehend and are at a distance that I can't even begin to conceive. It is every magical, fantastical, science fiction dream I've ever had except it's real.

The stars calm inconsequential fears and anxieties, they make my daily dramas seem like the silly things they really are, and they remind me to take advantage of the days that I have. Most importantly, they give me hope that there is always more. There are things we can't even conceive of out there and that's the reason that we should keep on going. The reason that humanity should keep on plowing away despite our gross failures. Because there is more for us to see and learn and know and in that is the promise that we will keep evolving and growing. Here, right now, for this tiny little blip of time, we get to influence that. I'll take it.

Image Source: Flickr user, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. You can find the image here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

25 avant 25

As we begin I have lived for approximately 22.3 years. I am at that awkward sort-of-life-stage where there are lots of dreams, but there isn't very much action. In my lack of years and wisdom I find myself intimidated by 25. It is the age that means that I can't be lost anymore, that means I should be more aggressive in life, that means I should embrace independence, that I should own the life I've created as one that is purposeful and my own.

I have expectations you might say and I'm anxious that in two and a half years I won't be meeting any of them. That I'll be right where I am now at 22. And so I've created this list. The '25 things to do before I turn 25'/'25 goals that will make me feel better about myself if accomplished'/'25 things that I have been thinking about doing for ages, but haven't done' list. Or rather, 25 before 25. 25 avant* 25.

These items are goals. Some of them are things that I want to make habits, that will take time and patience. Some of them are things that I hope to do for the rest of my life, but want to start now. Some of them are intangible while others are more black and white. Some of them are a bit out of my comfort zone. Some of them are silly. Some of them dull (but those seem to be the most important to me). Some of them are unrealistic. All together they make up a basic sort of outline of my hopes and dreams.

This list was inspired by the life list phenomenon started by Maggie Mason. My list is not a life list (I have one of those going as well!). These are not my wildest dreams, nor are they all of my dreams, nor are they even necessarily my most important dreams. Rather, they are things that I need to give my life focus and they are things that I can see myself accomplishing in the next two and a half years. The nature of a life list is such that all of the items on it may never be accomplished and that's okay. It isn't really comprised of goals as much as it is hopes. Whereas 25 avant 25 has a deadline and I intend to accomplish all the items on it in that allotted time.

My plan is to update the list as I accomplish different things. I will link to posts where I will record my accomplishments or failures and cross things off as I go. I'm also going into this with the awareness that I might need or want to add or remove items from the list and, depending on the circumstances, that will happen. Some of the items lend themselves to additional lists and I hope to add that content as I go (lists of books I've read, shows I've seen, etc.).

I'm excited. This gives me a mission and tools to accomplish that mission. I think that it will be fun to pursue 25 avant 25 and to track my progress. Get to my list by clicking the button over there on the right. Thanks for tuning in!

*I'm not French, nor do I speak French. Blame 'avant' on Coco avant Chanel. I was debating what to name my quest and the phrase floated through my head and that was that. It stuck. Sorry if it seems pretentious. I'm pretty sure that it seems pretentious... I just think it rolls off the tongue nicely!*