in reverb10

Living is the Only Way to Live

The first time I’ve posted on a Saturday…ever? Even I’m surprised. Seems perfectly fitting for the theme of today’s #reverb10 prompt question asking, “How did you cultivate a sense of wonder this year”?

Before answering, I think it’s important to define just what wonder is. By definition, “wonder” isĀ an emotion comparable to surprise that people feel when perceiving something rare or unexpected.

A couple days ago I summed up 2010 with one word – “Change”. 2010 has been a year of wonder, a year of learning about myself, figuring things out, asking questions, making mistakes, falling short, and having success.

One of my favorite movies of all time is American Beauty. The story tells the tale of Lester Burnham, a husband living in a loveless marriage, a father to a daughter who resents and despises him, a man with nothing to live for – simply going through the motions without ever asking one key question: “Why”.

But finally, something clicks, he realizes that in order to make his life worth living, he has to live. He says, “It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself”.

We often lose touch with that – we feel as though we’re stuck on a pre-determined path and we settle into being “comfortable”. But this year, for me, has been anything but. It’s been chaotic, terrifying, and above all, exciting. I’ve surprised myself time and time again and at the end of the day, have learned that “living”, in the truest sense of the word, is the only way to live.

Settling with the path your on right now? It’s nothing but a Jedi Mind Trick – you tell yourself you need to pay bills, you need to get experience, you need to pay your dues. All of these may be true, but if your sacrificing your dreams, your passions – if you’re losing your “wonder”, it’s time to take a step back and think about what you are doing, what you want to be doing, and how to bridge the gap between the two.

How have you surprised yourself this year?

(Photo c/o liquid in plastic)

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  1. There may be people out there who haven’t experienced Change as a major theme of 2010, but I don’t know any of them. This has been one intense roller coaster ride of a year!

    I remember 1999 as being an incredible year of powerful films piercing the status quo myth of comfort that was really a form of deadness–from The Matrix in the spring through the summer’s American Beauty to the fall’s Fight Club. Each of those three films attacks the illusion of materialism and the absence of passionate aliveness at the core of the quest for numb comfort.

    It’s 11 years later now, and have we learned the lesson?

    There’s a huge subcurrent of messages out there like the one you’ve written, Matt, that tells me many have. Yet there’s still this mass of folks scared to come alive.

    For my own life, 2010 has seen me leaping out into the unknown–major new recording project, two new websites with two other big side projects in progress, embracing technology in a new way, building new friendships and letting go of old ones. Change, change, change.

    So let me ask you, Matt–do you feel like you’ve totally pushed through all that resistance and numbness and come out on the other side? How do you keep your edge? Looking forward to your posts over the rest of December as you keep following the rever10 prompts–I’m doing that as well and have already received a lot from it.

    • Great thoughts here, Matt (good name by the way). I don’t think you ever completely push through – I think that’s part of life – figuring it all out. Just as Neo in the Matrix comes to the realization for what he must do, it takes him his entire life – up until death, to truly come to a final conclusion. (You brought up my favorite film series of all time).

      I keep my edge because I fully admit I don’t know it all – not even close. I ask questions, I learn from others who are smarter than me – I offer up what I know to others, and this year especially, it’s been an absolute roller-coaster. Cheers!

  2. I can definitely relate to your current theme, because I too have gone through some major changes this year.
    Without going into details, I can say that a very special person woke me up to the fact that life is never “over”, no matter how old you are.
    I’ve re-discovered who I used to be, back when I had drive and enthusiasm, when I saw only the possibilities and the happiness, when I just plain enjoyed my life and all that I am.
    It’s so easy to slip into that “settled” mode, Most people, including myself, never notice it happening, until it’s too late.
    I’m glad that I was “rescued” and hope that your post inspires others to follow that route.

  3. Being in the process of trying to bridge the gap between what I need to do and what I want to do, I can tell you one thing, it sure brought back my sense of wonder :-)

  4. Like you Matt, I surprised myself just by blogging on a Saturday. And yeah, there were certainly a few nice surprises in 2010. I appreciate your thoughtful reflections. Here’s to a surprisingly good 2011! Cheers!