Button-down, Goodwill | Dress, Kohl's | Boots, Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace, Macy's | Bow, Rire Boutique
Photos by my brother
At home, it's easy to settle.
It's all too easy to waste away before backlit screens, thumbing through social media feeds, mindlessly scrolling through pop-culture articles, oogling enviable products on retail websites.
It's too easy to dream without acting, drawing up grandiose plans but then casting them aside. It's too easy to exist without living.
So as I indulge in my self-prescribed days of "actual break," and attempt to recover from the blasted post-finals sniffles, I strive for enriching relaxation.
Yes, I am that girl who watches lectures and reads social psychology books for fun (don't fret, I also consume more than my fair share of frivolous media--definitely a guilty pleasure).
Of course, the lecture and book in question deviate far from standard academia.
The talk is Randy Pausch's Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, as part of Carnegie Mellon's "Last Lecture" series. It was actually taped in 2007, but his message is timeless. Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, but still continued to maximize his final months as an effervescent soul. You can find the lecture on youtube, or you can pick up the book version. Here are my favorite snippets:
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
[on his cancer diagnosis]
"Brick walls are there for a reaon. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something"
[on obstacles to goals]
As for the social psych book, I finally finished Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath that I had begun over Thanksgiving break. Gladwell's thesis is basically my life anthem: that misfortunes can be powerful portals to great achievements. Transforming failures into impetuses has propelled me so much further than innate motivation. Here's my favorite excerpt:
"...the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty....Giants are not what we think they are. They same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness. And the fact of being an underdog can change people in ways we often fail to appreciate: it can open doors and create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seemed unthinkable" (6).
And on that note, let's take some time to reflect on the footprints we've left behind and our trajectory ahead.