I am happy to report that I am feeling much better since the last time I wrote, thank you for asking. Things have settled down quite a bit: lovely large-bathtubbed flat, supportive emails and phone calls from fantastic people, and a robust social calendar have all combined to give me a more cheerful perspective on life, not to mention encouraged me to count my many blessings. (The brisk walking commute, the resumption of my non-special-kind-of-oatmeal habit, and the getting nine hours of sleep a night haven’t hurt either.) I’ve been pretty busy, but have spent more time alone in the last week than I probably have since it began and it turns out I still got it when it comes to being by myself. Monday I took off work early and immediately checked out five books from the library: I’ve read two and am in the middle of my third, and there have been not a few times in the past week that I have sighed the contented sigh of someone who barely managed to read four books in the past month, and who is deliriously happy to kind of get back to normal. The past six weeks at the Maple Lodge seem like a dream to me now, only a week later. A nice dream, of course. I might even go so far as to say a very good dream indeed. Still, though. Over now; nothing very much to do with me anymore.
I have been thinking a lot about awesomeness this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about awesomeness, in fact, basically since I got here. I feel that my decision to come to New Zealand represents one of the best choices I have ever made, ever in my life, because I finally decided that damn the consequences, I was going to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time, even if I didn’t exactly know why I wanted to do it. Carpe diem, living the dream, and all that. It was not a very practical decision and it brought about quite a lot of emotional turmoil, but still. I knew it was important to do. I still don’t really know what this year will bring…I’m still a little discombobulated about what the past seven weeks have brought, frankly, so give me a little time on that, but still. I know it’s the right thing for me. I love New Zealand, and Wellington especially, more than I thought would be possible, and I’m so glad I decided to come here, to stay here.
In fact it’s been pretty interesting to see how things have gone, since I made that decision. I started talking about it on the internet, which led me to correspond with some people who lived here, one of whom put me in touch with my current job and another of whom came over last night and shared trenchant wisdom and a Limbo-no-tomatoes-with-olive pizza with me last night. My predilection for obsessive research alerted me that I could go to Fiji, so I took a deep breath and paid the extra money and then saw a freaking octopus at the Octopus Resort. I felt very sad and lonely last weekend but due to a random conversation I had with a girl in Napier which led me to stay at the crazy Maple Lodge, I had people to meet me at the station and hold my hand. On and on and on. I’m not sure about fate or destiny or manifesting or whatever, but somehow, slowly, it’s all coming together.
Anyway, when I originally started thinking about being awesome I sort of conceptualized it as something that just sort of…happened. I mean, there were things that you could kind of randomly do to be awesome, you know, like go to bellydance class and make sure to pet your tortoise named Joachin if you had a tortoise named Joachin, and to hug and kiss your friends in a friendship-appropriate manner as often as they’d let you. But it was kind of haphazard. I wasn’t sure if people could get more awesome. I thought maybe they could, but I didn’t really know how to go about it.
And then, right around the time of prom, I began to think of awesomeness as a sort of project, and to think of myself as some sort of project manager or something, in my own quest for ever-increasing awesomeness. I have started to think that at any given time in your day or week or month or year or life, when presented with any sort of dilemma (“Jeans and t-shirt or feather boa and bodypaint? Crappy fast food or delicious penne pasta with zucchini, goat cheese and olive oil? Vicious silent treatment or conciliatory hand-holding?”) you can always choose to be a little more awesome.
Sometimes, as we know, life brings you to a fork in the road where the available choices are basically between Suck and Suck A Tiny Bit Less But Still, Frankly, Suck. This is not so great, and it often feels as though awesomeness is, uh, elusive, to say the least. But still. Still, you can choose. You can try. Maybe awesomeness, if you choose it, will not necessarily feel that good at the time of your choosing it. You may still cry a lot and you may still hate your life. You may think that there is nothing good for you in the world and you may wonder what the point of it all is. You may even take some sort of secret twisted pleasure in how horrible things are, just like they always are, just like you knew they would be. But isn’t it worth something, to know that you have furthered your project, that you have at least tried to be awesome, that you have made some sort of move towards awesomeness, and hence, away from suckiness?
I think that the more you choose to be awesome, seriously, even if just in tiny itty bitty ways (“Why yes I’d love to go bowling!”), the more awesome you get. Maybe the more awesome you get, the more awesomeness you can see around you, the more you can recognize it in other people, the more you can dedicate yourself to it. That’s got to be a good thing, right? That’s got to change the world…at least, if everyone did it, it might. You don’t know. Maybe if everyone was choosing to hug and kiss instead of fight and yell, or to go to fun dance parties instead of to restrict other people’s rights, or to go to the zoo and drink milkshakes instead of fearing and hating people different from oneself…well, right. You get it. (Although it does occur to me that clearly not everyone agrees on what constitutes awesomeness. It seems quite obvious to me that awesomeness equals stuff like hanging out with your friends and making fun stuff and dancing around in your underwear if necessary. Cooking a delicious dinner and eating it with friends before dancing around in my underwear and then maybe getting in the hot tub and having a little ice cream–wearing a feather boa, perhaps–is to me the epitome of awesomeness, but we can all think of people who would rather be mean and cruel and generally sucky. These people are to be avoided, in my opinion.)
I have been laughing at myself the entire time I’ve been writing this entry, because apparently I am some sort of motivational speaker now: Be all you can be! Try your very best! Love one another! La la la rah rah! Woo! You guys, be awesome, okay? Luv ya! It’s kind of annoying, and maybe for a lot of people it doesn’t matter or make sense. But I kind of don’t care because today I have a lunch date with three beautiful women with three different accents, and then I’m making orange and pink yams for dinner, and then tomorrow I am going on a coastal hike and to a party, and then Sunday I am going to brunch, to the farmer’s market, and to see my beloved kakapo video at Te Papa. I’m here, doing something I didn’t think I’d ever do, continuing to do it. All of this feels right and good.
But enough about me. What awesome things are you doing lately?