Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Before I die…

            I love historic homes, buildings, neighborhoods, all of it. Well, maybe not ALL of it, as I look at my endless list of house projects and wonder where I’ll find the time and cash. Last week was the Annual NPA Home Tour and before that was the Upstairs Downtown tour. We are drawn to these spaces that give us a sense of place—these spaces that have history and beauty and a richness to them unlike any other. I feel like these buildings and homes have so many stories and secrets to share, and we need to be innovative and find ways to utilize them fully in our ‘modern day’ times.
            I recently watched a TED talk by Candy Chang, who has begun a movement in her home city of New Orleans that resonates with me and makes me wish I would’ve thought of it.
            Chang was reflecting on the lightening pace of every day life as she mourned the loss of a friend, and she wished she could make her life and those around her more meaningful. “We don’t bump in to every neighbor (often, if at all), so a lot of wisdom never gets passed on. But we DO share the same public spaces.”
            “How can we lend and borrow more of our things without knocking on each other’s doors at a bad time? How can we share more of our memories of our abandoned buildings and gain a better understanding of our landscape?” Chang lives nearby an abandoned building that made her wonder how she could use it as a catalyst for others to gather and share a part of themselves. She painted one side of it with chalkboard paint and the words: Before I die, I want to….
            The side of the building filled up by the next day. It became a space of giving and taking—of sharing. I’ve written before about things I want to see in Noblesville, and it’s that sort of gathering spot and sharing our voices in public spaces that makes me go, “yeah, that’s what we need here right now. That’s the sort of world I want to live in.” 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Stepping outside my comfort zone

At my recent high school reunion, I won the unofficial title of ‘coolest person in the class of ’92.’ It was unofficial because there wasn’t actually a title and there wasn’t actually a vote, but I have to admit I kind of basked in the glory of popularity in the eyes of my former classmates for a little bit.
            I wasn’t popular in high school. At all. I was shy, awkward, and afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to be like that but I was, and my holding back wasn’t doing myself or the world any favors. I was determined to work on myself and to bring more of who I was deep down out into the world. I will always be introverted, yes, but now I am also able to speak up and share my worldview and not be afraid to let my passions show. And I realize that’s where the magic is.
            I don’t like to hear people say they ‘just want to be comfortable.’ I used to think this myself and it kept me from taking risks, pushing myself and achieving things I surprised even myself about.
I thought of all this a couple weeks ago as I danced in my studio’s performance showcase. I’m amazed at all the women I have met and become friends with who share the same passions and love of dance as I do. I never would have met them if I hadn’t pushed myself outside my comfort zone to go into the studio in the first place, and the same goes for them. It was intimidating to take the risk (what am I doing here?). It placed doubt in my mind (what if I fail?), and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
            All this to say, it’s worth a continual evaluation of your life to constantly see what you’re capable of, what your dreams are, and how you can take steps toward making those dreams reality—in essence becoming more of who you really are. The world needs you.