I’m what some might consider a paradox. This voracious ambition of mine seems to be matched only by a wild spirit. And while my mind constantly pushes for structure and progress, my heart reaches for freedom and adventure. I feel my soul begging to hold more and more as my spirit pleas to detach and release. So I live my life in short stories.
A friend once described my mind as a sponge—in a constant state of sensory overload, he said. I’m an empath by nature, and I feel everything: the speed of blood flowing through my veins, the tickle of leaves against its bark, the taste of agony or bliss within a tear. I perpetually feel the clash between this raging hunger to create and invent, and the unquenchable thirst to experience every last bit of life. Above all, I feel potential and I feel purpose.
My partner and I celebrated our two year anniversary yesterday, and in his card, he urged me to explore the world (knowing wholeheartedly that it could place distance between us). He described me as an earth shaker, telling me that I had purpose flowing out of my eyes balls. This man urged me to fly and soar, to never stop fighting for the magic I believe in—to travel the world and live as many lives as I could, write as many short stories as I could, and one day, inspire others and share my philosophy.
Ever since my very first moment of consciousness, I’ve felt that I was meant to live an extraordinary life. There was this mighty force within me telling me that I was to do something grand in the years that I walked this earth and breathed this air. This sense of magic is at the very core of my being, holding together everything I encompass. But my whole life, I’ve struggled to balance this unwavering ambition with that wild spirit from within. When every bone in my body was ready to fight to its death, a little voice in my head urged me to release all desires and lose myself in the dancing patterns of the wind.
Within the seemingly paradoxical forces, I finally found a common link: purpose. This is precisely what my partner led me to realize yesterday. (If you’re reading this and ever wonder what’s keeping this free spirit of mine so close to you, I hope this will help to explain it. I’m not chasing after things because they’re different. I’m chasing after Beauty. Expansion. Magic. Creation. I want the raw and the true, and you bring me closer to that. The meaning I live for, I find within you).
And my purpose is to approach life like a kaleidoscope. My favorite kinds of people are the people who carry a spark of magic within them—you see it in their eyes, in the way they walk and smile, and you see it in the way they live their lives. Perhaps the first thing I can do is show someone that it’s okay to live our lives this way. It’s okay to open the curtains every morning and breathe in the sun. It’s okay kick ass and let our vibrant rays explode into the air around us. It’s okay to create our own paths in life to reflect the kaleidoscopes that we are. In fact, it’s magnificent!
WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE IN SHORT STORIES
A little background is that I’m at a time in my life where everything around me is accelerating. Something incredible is about to happen, and I know it. Every day, I feel that much closer to my purpose. All this momentum. All this potential. I can hardly breathe on most days.
So what does it mean to live your life in short stories? Well, think of individual chapters in your life, only they’re each their own unique story. Different settings, different characters, different narrator, different author. Stop living your life by the chapter. Stop following a timeline of what you need to accomplish at a specific age. Jump around. Live the life of a 38-year-old businessman today, and then that of a 6-year-old prodigy in a few months. Defy the laws of time because why not? In the end of your 100 years (or 50 or 25), who’s going to care?
I’ve pursued my dreams and fantasies one at a time, lived different lives and become different versions of myself in the process. And I’m sure as hell not the only one. People like us, we go through life losing ourselves and finding ourselves again. We speak in metaphors because facts are subject to a limited life. We live our lives as verbs, not nouns. Sometimes we feel like we grow more in a month than most do in a year.
Think of your life. Are you living your life in chapters or short stories? Are you writing an epic poem or a research paper? And if you were to divide your life into separate chapters or stories, would you define them by traditional life milestones? Childhood, elementary school, college…etc. If you are, how long do you have to wait until the next chapter (because you wouldn’t be in control of time). Do you have titles that draw you in? Would you read your own story?
I don’t mean to glorify this kind of life, because it has its ups and downs. And more importantly, it’s really not for everyone. What I’m trying to say is that while we’re encouraged to explore and pursue our dreams, we’re also constantly reminded of the importance of stability. The life of an artist, we’re conditioned to believe, is unreliable. We’re portrayed in movies as the parents who leave their children to chase after an unattainable fantasy. We’re the ones who blindly follow the aesthetic life. That’s where the paradox in me lies.
HOW I DO IT
First off, the ups and downs—that’s who we are. We embrace the patterns and colors of the universe—the positive and the negative, the light and the dark. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re ups and downs, like notes of an unfinished song. So long as we’re the ones writing it. Don’t be afraid to embrace the good and the bad. Believe me, there are days where I just lie there and feel the weight of all the characters I’ve yet to step into, all the stories I’ve yet to write, and then there are days where a random stranger will share his/her story with me and reveal the secret to their life.
[At my parents’ house and I hear my Mom laughing downstairs so I’m going to take a break and see what she’s up to.]
Secondly, freedom and stability are by no means mutually exclusive. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m very grounded in my values and principles. Let’s take a closer look at the song example I mentioned earlier. Every song carries a unique tune, but within that lies a separate universe in how you express it. By singing the same song, two singers tell different versions of the same tale, and that song instantly becomes two. In the same sense, the way you live your life defines the tune of the song; you write the notes just like you write your story. But how you sing it, how you decide to carry the tune is entirely up to you. For example, a woman may reveal her motherhood through her pitch; if that’s the case, she should be mindful of that pitch as she composes her song. But she must also recognize that the qualities of being a mother doesn’t necessarily live in one’s pitch. It could be in her timbre, or even the pauses she takes to catch her breath.
There was a point in my life when I didn’t know how to balance my family with my ambitions and need for freedom. (And believe me, I’m still far from mastering it). But what I’ve slowly come to realize is that things like family and principles, you can always fit them into the new world you want to create. And sometimes it’s not about balancing them every day. Sometimes you take a step back and think of how to balance your life with them in it. The timeline you’re so used to living by—replace the time values with your own principle values. Be creative. You create your fantasies and dreams. You create your desires and motivations.
It’s like time management. It’s about managing and organizing your life, not about balancing everyday so they take up equal time. A recent study about travelling parents shows that what’s most important in a child’s life isn’t the amount of time they spend with their parents, but rather, the quality of the time they spend with their parents. So don’t hide behind your kids or whatever principle it might be—they’re not your shield. My family brings me a kind of bliss that I could never feel from chasing the world. It’s a different kind of beauty, and it adds a new dimension to my life. So organize your life like you manage your time. Take charge of your life and stop with the excuses.
To the beautiful souls and free spirits—you’re made with an incredible capacity to carry life. Never stop surprising yourself by how much bigger and more beautiful you are than you had imagined. Don’t feel the need to take the conventional path too often. Never stop surprising yourself. Never stop creating. Never stop wondering. Never stop living. And never stop exhaling magic.
Just remember that your substance, your spark, and your purpose are magical. No one’s version of the world will ever be good enough for you, so create your own. Just make sure it’s a good one. Don’t just create something, don’t just be someone different. Be someone beautiful. Be someone inspirational. Be someone who carries warmth and grace. Don’t just experience life, understand it, teach it, play with it. Don’t ask for less responsibilities, ask for more strength. And when someone throws negativity at you, learn to detach from the negativity and offer them a glimpse of your world. I hope you never stop believing in yourself and the universe, cause I won’t. That’s my promise to the world, and that’s my promise to my 3-year-old self.
And I’ll say this again, I’m far from mastering it. This is just the beginning, remember?