I am – and have been – listening to Bastille on a loop in between prepping for the end of winter break and the beginning of a different scene. I also happen to be wide awake at 1:42 AM, and just noticed that it’s the 7th – meaning that it’s been exactly a week since New Year’s.
Also meaning that it’s been a little over exactly one year since the start of this little blog site. Back in the day, I ended my farewell-to-2012 entry “…toasting to a better, brighter, classier 2013.”
This time around, one particular phrase recurred again and again in my mind which compels me to not only have a merely good upcoming year and the years following it, but to master them.
Before I reveal what exactly the phrase was, I think a little anecdote is necessary:
I recently read a story about one of my favorite actors in which he disclosed one of the most pivotal moments of his life. While filming in South Africa, he and his friends were suddenly kidnapped by some locals, bound and thrown into the back of a car. Some hours later, the group was set free in a remote location and without being told why. Of the incident the actor commented, “It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life less ordinary.”
These are the two words – a single commandment – that have been haunting me, but in the best way possible.
As I was listing down this year’s series of life goals (not New Year’s resolutions), each goal was written with the intent of pursuing a life that I can be proud of. I want every aspect of my life to reflect some degree of extraordinary-ness, in a Secret Life of Walter Mitty sort of way.
Of course I still have the usual goals, like trimming down, but I also have the mindset of not wanting to waste any time. Obviously I will waste time on occasion because I’m only human (as are you), but maybe I’ll be guilted/inclined to do so less?
Some specific goals I have include reading 50 books during 2014 (so I guess that actually is a resolution of sorts), devoting some time this summer to improving my Spanish, reading more news/becoming better informed, nixing some shows I used to enjoy in favor of “smarter” television (however you want to define that), etc.
But more importantly is the whole “live extraordinarily” concept. Starting within these next 365 days, I want to be more of a “yes” woman. Ever seen The Yes Man? With some painstakingly obvious exceptions, saying “yes” can mean a world of difference between being an average Joe and being awesome. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I spend my earnings and came to the realization that the things I most want to invest in are experiences versus material items. I’d like to think that a spur-of-the-moment trip to New Zealand will always be worth more than a set of wheels.
Back to Bastille. The first thing that attracts me to a song is the beat, then the lyrics. That’s probably not a good order, but it is what it is. In the song “Bad Blood” (which has excellent musical quality), I fell in love with the words of the pre-chorus:
“But those are the days that bind us together, forever
And those little things define us forever, forever.”
The things we do are indeed what define us. And the days ahead seem to beckon us to sharpen that definition.
Dear me, my flight takes off in a little less than 12 hours.