I spent New Years Day in Venice Beach, CA. I ate some so-bad-it's-amazing Mexican food and sat by the beach and drank coffee and watched people nearly kill themselves on the bike trail on a myriad of wheeled toys.
The best part of the day was sitting on the beach watching the sun set. The colors were unreal, and the waves crashed in front of me. It was quiet, save for the ridiculous 19-year-old girls trying to take pictures of themselves being silly in front of the ocean, but even they quieted down as the sun dipped closer to the horizon.
It was a moment not to be missed. It felt extra special for a lot of reasons --- maybe because of the company, maybe because it was the first sunset of the new year, maybe because it was so extraordinarily beautiful --- either way, it was a moment I'll tuck into my heart and hold for always.
Being the good blogger (HA) and social media user that I am, my first instinct was to Instagram it. OBVI. But instead, I resisted. I sat back and I watched and I was just there. No worries about a witty and/or deep caption or finding the right filter or waiting until the surfers below me were out of frame.
In that moment, I realized that as beautiful a sunset as it was, I wanted it to be just for me --- to live it instead of document it.
People more articulate and thoughtful than I have written time and time again about social media and our/my obsession with it. I know I'm guilty of posting things simply for the attention of having posted them. As embarrassing as it is to admit, "likes" become a way to see if I'm okay, if others enjoy what I'm doing, and/or to show everyone that I'm having an amazing experience and that I'm doing something worthwhile. So to not document this beautiful sunset felt so liberating, and more meaningful simply because I appreciated it on my own terms, without needing approval or interaction with anyone else.
In a weird way, this stepping back is representative of my goals for 2014. One thing that 2013 taught me is that it's really easy to do things because they look or sound like what you should be doing. After years of being a "good kid" and living life pretty publicly online, I find myself wanting to live on my own terms, with less concern about "likes" both on and offline. I want to fully inhabit my life as it is in each moment.
In past years, I've made lists of goals of things that I want to do each year to become the best human being I can be. I still have goals, of course, but there are only two I really care about this year, and they can be boiled down to two words.
First, present. I came across this quote by Lara Casey in several places this week: "Put your phone down. Close your computer. When something great happens, don’t say, 'I wish I would have had my camera,' say, 'I’m so grateful that just happened!' Look people in the eyes and give them the gift that changes things." Instead of looking around for ways to document and share so many aspects of my life, I want to simply be grateful that it happened --- to keep it just for me and let that be enough. My life is full of so much joy and goodness right now that I don't want to miss a single thing behind the screen of my iPhone. Presence really does change things.
The second word I want to focus on is truth. What does it mean to listen to and live by my OWN truth? What does it mean to tell the truth about how I'm feeling and where I'm at all the time, worrying less about how that will be perceived? I want to be braver about telling the truth and living from my own inner voice, and while I don't know what that looks like exactly, I know it's something I want to focus on this year. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the good that comes from just being myself and I want to live from that place as opposed to one focused on living a truth that works for other people.
So, 2014, let's do this. Let's do things while being fully present and fully truthful. I'm ready for an amazing year.