14/31

I often find myself thinking, ‘it’s really not fair for people to assume that an 18 year old knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives,’ but then I’m left wondering when we know for sure or if we ever know for sure. If not at 18, then when is it the correct time to ask a person, ‘so, what do you love more than anything else in this world?’

I do think that some people are meant to be teachers and others are meant to be doctors and that people like Edgar Degas were meant to paint for every day of their lives. However, I think that there are millions of people out there who have never found their true passion- either they weren’t given the opportunity to, or at some point in their lives a different career was forced upon them.

I’m lucky. I’m at an amazing college that provides me with tons of amazing opportunities and I’m doing what I really, really like to do. I paint or draw every single day, I write every day, I do yoga every day, I try to read every day, I learn new things every single day. I go to school for something that I love. Do I know that art is going to be the thing that I’m the most passionate about 10 years down the road from here? Absolutely not. But I can say without a doubt that I will always have a creative urge. It’s part of who I am. I know that I will never be able to do the same thing without fail for the rest of my life. I crave (and have always craved) the ability to expand my knowledge and to express myself in new and exciting ways.

As humans, we are always changing, always adapting, always seeking new opportunities. Maybe 10 years from now art will not be my passion. Maybe a teaching job will open up and I’ll realize that that’s what I’m meant to do with the rest of my life. Or maybe I’ll be the type of person who’s never satisfied- but not necessarily in a bad way, more in the way that I am always looking for new adventures and am terrified of being tied down.

I suppose it’s possible that we never really know what we are meant to do. Maybe there isn’t one singular job that is meant for us but instead, since we are constantly changing and evolving and growing, we are meant to take on jobs that change and evolve and grow with us.

So I guess, in conclusion, that I don’t really have an answer for my initial question of when it is finally okay to ask someone what they want to do with their lives. I think that it’s different for everyone and I think that it varies depending on what stage of life you’re at. Personally, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to say ONE thing that I love more than anything else, but I actually think that I’m okay with that.

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13/31

Yesterday I stood for 10 hours straight and I can now say that I really can’t imagine standing for the full 24. During hour 5 I got a foot cramp and hopped around on one leg for a while and then by the end of my time there I was walking around barefoot because my sneakers were hurting too much. All that being said, it was a pretty amazing experience.

They had an amazing sound system and a stage set up in the front with multiple performances going on throughout the entire time. Most of the performers were dance or singing troupes through the University, but while I was there I also was able to hear a man speak who had given three Ted Talks. His name is Alex Sheen and he began an organization called because I said I would after his father passed away from a terminal cancer. Alex created small cards- about half the size of an index card- that said in the bottom right corner “because I said I would” and pledged to give away 10 of these cards to anyone who requested them, no matter where they lived. The point of these “promise” cards is to write on them a promise that you wish to keep either for yourself or for another person. You then keep that promise, with the card as your reminder. You can read a more in-depth explanation of what exactly to do with the cards here at his website. Alex wasn’t expecting the organization to get as large as it did, but as of today, he has given away over 3.15 million promise cards to over 153 countries.

Not only was this an impactful talk because of the message that Alex talked about- the idea to make a promise and then to stick to it- but it was also a reminder of how powerful the internet can be. Alex’s cards went viral. The first day, he sent out 5 packets of cards (he gives 10 to each person). The idea went viral on Facebook and Twitter, and in no time Alex was sending out 150,000 cards every single day. He made a promise to himself and to his father and, despite the organization blowing up to a size that he would have never imagined, he has worked every day to keep that promise.

12/31

Today I supposedly have to stand for 24 hours for the Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. It’s for a great cause and I’m proud to have raised money for it, but I’m not sure that I’m going to stay and stand for the full 24 hours. Does that make me a terrible person? I really don’t think so.

Dance Marathon is a fundraiser that raises money for children and the families of children at one of our local hospitals. The money goes to helping with pediatric rehabilitation and therapeutic treatments- therapy that has been proven to help kids find a creative outlet and provide them with a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

So far, I have raised a little over $200 and have hand-made 15 t-shirts for the girls on my team. I feel as though I have already helped the kids of C.S. Mott and Beaumont Children’s Hospital without needing to physically kill my poor soles by standing for 24 hours. If I get there at 1pm (when it starts) and stand/dance/do my thing until midnight and then have one of my friends pick me up, I feel as though I have probably done enough. I think that the kids wouldn’t mind my desire to get a full night’s sleep and be able to make it to my 8:30am class on Monday morning (during which I have a presentation that is a hefty part of my final grade…).

I will let you all know tomorrow what I end up deciding to do, but as of right now a night in my bed is sounding like the best option.

 

 

11/31

Many times I have wondered if I’m actually creative. If I actually belong in the art school and if I actually am able to come up with ideas that are unusual and different and haven’t been done before. I worry and I worry and then I finally am able to e myself by thinking about what it would be like if creativity did not run through my mind.

I would no longer see a blank piece of paper as a new opportunity; something to conquer with a pencil in my hand.

I would no longer stare at buildings and think to myself what I would change to make them more beautiful.

I would no longer look at paintings that I love with a slight tinge of envy, wondering how I can implement the artist’s techniques in my new work.

I would no longer look at the patterns of interesting shadows, the way they cross and intersect, and long to grab a pencil and recreate their movements.

I would no longer be interested in my mom’s favorite beach game- creating a made-up story for the lives of each person that we walk past.

I would no longer feel the urge to redecorate my room on a daily basis; the only reason that my room is not forever changing is simply because of lack of time in the day.

My body, my brain, my heart would no longer ache for more, always imagining the things that could be.

I would no longer be me.

10/31

Today I had the best yoga class that I have had in my entire time here. Back home, I love my studio. I think that all yogis are partial to the first classes they ever took/teachers they ever had, and it has been hard for me to feel as satisfied with a yoga class here at Michigan as I always am at home. But today, I found it.

Did it help that my teacher was beautiful? I’ll admit it, yes. I highly enjoyed it when he came around and pushed me deeper into poses. But it was more than that. This was the first class here that I have actually enjoyed and paid attention to what the teacher was saying. It seemed as if he had actually put some thought into what he was going to be talking about during this class with us instead of the usual “breathe into your posture. We are all one heartbeat, one soul here,” willy-nilly stuff that I’m used to hearing at the yoga studios around here. Sorry, but I am happy to not be sharing my heartbeat with the dude next to me who can’t catch his breath or the lady in front of me who has been in child’s pose 95% of the class.

No, today I wasn’t hearing any of that willy-nilly hippy stuff. Instead, what he had to say actually resonated with me, and I realized that that’s what my classes have been missing during my time here. Meaning. Bryan talked about how we are all too obsessed with the “when” and the “then.” When we finally achieve this, then this will happen. When we decide to put ourselves out there, then we might have more friends. When we just get a little more flexible, then we might try wheel posture or going into a split. His opinion was that if we are too obsessed with the when and the then, then we will forget that there is a now; and now is a perfectly reasonable time to try something new. Most of the time, he said, that we wait for an ultimatum in order to try that new thing, is simply because we’re scared of what might happen if we put ourselves out there.

The next time that I think to myself I think that I’m going to wait until this happens to do this, I’m going to try to remember the words of Bryan and work to not put things off because I’m scared.

9/31

Many people have many different definitions of the term “introvert.” I like to think of it in terms of the classic definition: a person who gains energy by spending time alone. In this sense, I am a classic introvert. I refuel by plugging in my headphones or reading a book or writing in my journal or spending a few hours in the art studio. Personally, I hate the other common definition of introvert; the one that says that all introverts are shy and don’t like to be approached. That is SO not me. I don’t think that anyone, ever, has described me as a shy person. It’s very easy for me to meet new people and I do enjoy the occasional small talk. However, when I hang out with large crowds I get tired easily and long for my future alone time so I can again refuel.

The other part that I would include in my definition of the classic introvert is someone who doesn’t like to fight for another person’s attention. This is the main reason that I really don’t prefer to hang out with people in groups much larger than three. When groups get big, instead of feeling as though I am a worthwhile, active participant in the conversation, everything that I say feels forced. I end up feeling as though I am fighting other people to make my thoughts heard. When I’m just one on one with someone- or even two on one- I feel much more comfortable and as though what I’m saying matters. I don’t feel as though I have to yell or say something incredibly absurd or intelligent or hilarious to be acknowledged. There’s less pressure to say the right thing and the atmosphere is much more, for lack of a better word, chill.

I think that my dislike of competing for attention is one of the main reasons why technology drives me crazy. My friends call me the “hippie child” because I can happily go for hours without my phone (they don’t like it because it means they can’t reach me and, in this day and age, everything is an emergency and needs to be shared immediately). When I’m having a conversation with someone and they have their phone out- maybe they’re scrolling through Instagram or checking their email- I feel inferior to this inanimate object; there is this other world that they are choosing to be a part of instead of being enraptured by my every word. A phone is a hard thing to compete with. Everything is new, everything is interesting. How can I possibly compete with that?

All in all, I am very content with being a hippie child introvert. I know what (and who) makes me happy and I usually do an okay job at providing myself with the time alone that I need.

8/31

Today’s blog post is going to be a total cop out and it is for one reason only: I am stressed. I have a lot of things to do and, although writing my blog post was on my list, not everything today could get done. So here is a list of things that took priority over me writing my blog post today:

  1. Homework. It sucks, but it’s true. I have an assignment due tomorrow and a paper due Thursday
  2. I went to yoga today. I went with a friend that I don’t usually hang out with a lot outside of class and it was lovely
  3. I spent a long time at dinner tonight chatting with people about how their breaks were. It wasn’t on my list of things to do tonight, but I felt like it was pretty necessary.
  4. During my only break today (the one where I normally blog and eat lunch) I had to go to Home Depot to buy supplies for an interesting new project and then use those said supplies to begin to work on that aforementioned interesting project.
  5. Sleep is a very valuable concept for me (especially when I have a class at 8:30 tomorrow morning) so I really didn’t want to plan to write this post once I finished everything because that would have been too late for poor little me.

Tomorrow my post will be slightly more substantial. 🙂

7/31

I’m pretty sure that I have not yet talked about my plans for this summer, so that’s what I’ll do today. Those of you who were wondering about the “painted rocks” mentioned in the last post, this one’s for you.

So, as some of you may or may not know, I usually spend my summers in a house that we inherited from my grandparents on the water in Rhode Island. It is, among many other things, my happy place. Last summer, I spent my days going to early morning yoga with my mom and my aunt (and, occasionally, my dad and/or uncle), taking the dogs for beach walks, eating a lot of fantastic ice cream, and painting rocks and driftwood for a little store downtown.

This summer, I am doing an unpaid internship for the United Theater, a brand new project in downtown Westerly, Rhode Island. With them, I will hopefully be able to put my newfound experiences with design (Indesign, Photoshop etc) to use with their marketing and advertisement department. However, it is unpaid so I do need some type of revenue. Cue the rocks.

Throughout all of August last summer, I was able to paint and sell over 20 rocks and Christina, the owner, has asked me to continue this summer. I will be working in her store not only as a retailer, but also as an exhibiting artist! Much excitement.

Here are some pictures of the rocks/driftwood that I made last year for her:

Also, if anyone is interested, you can check out my art tumblr here. There isn’t too much on it (yet) but it provides people with a good idea of what I’ve been doing here the last couple of years.

6/31

My mom likes to tell me that I’m very good at doing nothing. She doesn’t ever really say if this is a good or a bad thing, but over the years I have decided to take it as a compliment. By being good at doing nothing, I have made sure that I never get bored.

Today, I have nothing to do. But I just worked out, I have to write my blog post, I’m thinking that I’ll maybe paint some rocks (I’ll describe this in a later post, probably), I would love to work on my application, I am at a very good part in Snow Falling on Cedars and, because I just drove for 16 hours and only slept for about 5, a nap sounds quite lovely.

Over the summer, my mom would come home at 3 and ask what I had done all day. Often, I would just shrug and respond with, “I puttered around,” or “made some cookies!” or “talked for a while with Christina. She says hello.”  And she would shake her head, amazed at how content I was with doing “nothing.”

My major (art and design), although still very demanding, offers a lot more “nothing” time than other majors here at Michigan. The workload is intense, but I find myself doing my best work when I go to the studio and work for 6 hours straight on a Sunday as oppose to spreading out my time- an hour on Tuesday, two more on Friday, etc. So, when I’m not at the studio and find myself with “nothing” to do, I am able to pull out my notebook and write down some thoughts, or finish another couple chapters in whatever book I’m reading, or practice some handstands against my bedroom door (much to my roommates’ dismay).

Sometimes, I think we all need to find the time to relax and just do “nothing.”

5/31

Tonight we head back to Michigan, but for today you can find me at the beach, soaking up my last few hours of warm sun.

For my application for the writing minor that I want to do at U of M, the main question is along the lines of “why do you write.” I’m actually struggling a lot more with it than I originally thought. Why do I write. It’s such a simple question but it has an infinite amount of complex answers. I write because it’s how I communicate. I write because it connects me with my mom. I write because it’s how I learn more about myself and my beliefs. I write to have a voice.

I wish that they instead had asked, “what makes you write.” What imaginary (or very much so living and breathing- hey mom) force drags me to my journal (almost) every night to record my thoughts and wonderings and plans for the days to come. I think that, for me, it’s the actual act of writing that I treasure the most. It’s the idea that I have the power to make my thoughts concrete and “real.” As I write in my journal, I imagine someone finding it 100 years from now and getting a very real view into the life that once was Larkin Meehan’s. I imagine them still struggling then with the same basic concepts that I struggle with now and that my words might help them, as they have helped me, find some peace in that.

What makes you write?