Sunday, January 04, 2009

this blog post will change your life.

i had a conversation the other night in which one of my friends alluded to a comment one of HER friends made that changed her life. she very earnestly [see below] told me that it actually changed her life. i, of course, believed her.

the comment was something like, "our generation doesn't value the internal life." we're always into telling people everything we do and constructing a whole narrative [and you know how i love narrative] - but where's our reflection? or prayer, even?

i like this for two reasons:
1. the "secular ways to talk about the faith business" thing. i'd tell very few people that they'd be happier if they thought more about their prayer life, but i'd talk to a lot of people about their INNER life. like, are you taking time for yourself? do you feel like you never relax? is something bothering you, and you don't know what it is? and i'm not saying religion is the answer, but i wonder if we're wired to require some kind of... well, something more. something that makes us different than the worker bees.
2. as an over-sharer, i'm sensitive to the value of not sharing some things. if they're really important.

then, i had another life-changing conversation.

h: i always think it's so weird when i'm drunk at a bar and someone asks what i do - and i talk about working with kids.
b: try being a religion teacher. that's always a fun conversation to have with a stranger...
j: but i think that's just part of being our age, you know? trying to balance having a career with still trying to have fun and be young.

and we moved on to talk about how much people should talk about their weekend activities at work. but, how awesome is that? yes, bar conversations as a metaphor for being a 20-something and feeling like you're living a double life. well, two or more lives. i mean, that's one of the reasons i started this blog. [and maybe it ties in with the "inner life" thing more than i thought.] because, if i can't talk about the things that are important to me, how important are they? and, if i can't talk about my job at the bar, why am i in that job? [or, of course, why am i going to the bar?] let me be as authentic as i can be. yes.

then, i had another one.

m: can we blame society when we respond to sincere emotion with snark?
b: YES. please always feel free to do things WITHOUT IRONY.
m: someone once told me i was "earnest" and i didn't know what to do with that.
b: i think that's a huuuuuge compliment.

and i do. [someone once told me that something i did was "endearing." i liked that, too, and consider it somehow related.] but you know, when you have a moment of earnestness with someone, where they lean over and say something real and serious and important to you - that's what i'm talking about.

and the opposite of that, well - while i'm ethically opposed to [or, i guess, offended by] stuff white people like, i often think about the entry on irony.

Also, you might find yourself in conversation where you mention that you like something and there is an awkward silence indicating that it is not cool. In this situation, you must say “oh yeah, I also like [insert similar things]” and smile, the white people will laugh and all will be well.

again, one of those things that always sticks with me. maybe because i've spent a lot of time worrying about how to be ironic. or, you know, asking my friends whether other people were being ironic. [because you just have to KNOW.] and all along, i think, i'd rather be earnest.

oh, and my current favorite life-changing conversation? i was upset about something, and one of my favorite slightly older friends just said, "your 20s are really hard! i remember being really confused the whole time." i was like, THANK YOU. that's just what i needed.

on a related note, may i interest you in a few songs. and in seeqpod, where you can search for songs and embed them! i got this recommendation ["like youtube for songs"] in a christmas letter.

first, as always, i thank the lord for the people i have found...

[later ed: apparently seeqpod is now defunct. you'll have to provide your own elton.]

and, "fill it up again" by the indigo girls. from a relatively recent album. and ROCKIN, especially for the new year. the new road is an old friend...

[later ed: guys, when the album all that we let in came out, i was very "this is my LIFE" about it. kind of still am.]

so what i'm saying is, get the whole song. right now.

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