“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the starts, but in ourselves as we are underlings.” -William Shakespeare
I prefer to live life without regrets. Having as little amount of negative retrospect, the better.
Recently I had the chance to visit my family after 6 months. After I began travelling and working across the nation, I’ve only had about a week to see family after half-year intervals. My sister and her boyfriend were returning from their respective missions and I saw my chance; I requested two weeks off of work (the most I’ve ever dared to ask for). I texted family and friends, planning my couch surfing regime. I counted the money I was about to spend like mad. I pre-meditated conversations with old friends. In my mind, the conversations and memories we were about to make were just as tangible and malleable as the fern trees I kept staring at outside. There was only one problem. They weren’t as tangible or malleable as the fern trees outside. Because I didn’t truly believe that my sister was coming home after 1 1/2 years. And I didn’t truly believe that I would be seeing my mysterious ex or binge-watching movies with my bffs. It never seems real until it all happens. And then you’re stuck in a rut, unsure whether you should forget all you planned or go with the flow of things now that time had caught up and intended to keep moving. Welp, I saw that guy I used drool over a year ago… Now what?
I fantasize often. I jump to a specific conclusion in my future and stay there- even after it’s passed. On many occasions, it has properly helped me prepare myself for reality, and I appreciate that. However, I don’t always appreciate the reality of it all. Fantasy seems better to me, mostly because it’s my idea of something better.
Picture this. You’re handed a diamond. It’s a different jewel than you wanted, a bit smaller than you wanted and not as polished, but it’s nice. You accept it. But as you study and weigh it in your hand, you can’t help but think about that jewel you were gawking at a while ago. By definition you have under-appreciated what’s been given to you. This is a lack of gratitude.
When I was younger, my dream was to live in a big city. New York, to be exact. It was the people, the diversity, the plethora of fabulous opportunities- all of it. New York was where I wanted to be.
From 12-16 yrs old, Broadway was my sole interest. I would listen to Broadway music, talk about Broadway music, watch old show tune-filled movies and research all the things I could find out about Broadway on Broadway.com or Playbill.com.
I’d always enjoyed show tunes since I was a child. I watched movie musicals (besides Disney) like Hello Dolly, Singing in The Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, etc. My first two genuine Broadway experiences were Wicked** and Thoroughly Modern Millie** on CD.
My sister dubbed me “obsessed”, but I found myself passionate and devoted, appreciative and loyal. Simple as that. It severely bothered me that she saw it in such a negative light.
I would sit on my side of the bed, invested in my (then) favorite musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella**. Sometimes I would cry with them, laugh with them, and anticipate their fears. I had told my parents how I dreamed of being on Broadway (I just couldn’t hold it in anymore!) and they replied with, “Okay. What are you planning to do about it?” I was stunned. What did they mean ‘what are you planning to do about it’? I just told them what I was going to do- be on Broadway.
My parents looked at me and said, “Diyana, you need to do more than just want it. You need to do something about it. What are you going to do to work towards that?” This appalled me. I felt like they were accusing me of being lazy, or worse, not being capable of even achieving my one and only dream. This broke my heart even though their advice was completely sound. I ran to my room and cried my eyes out while listening to Cinderella’s gorgeous ballad: “There’s Music in You”. A song full of encouragement and hope filled me up similarly. I was comforted that day.
My point in this case, though, is that I did not appreciate my life. My point isn’t that “Dreams aren’t for everybody”. My point is that dreams are great, but you shouldn’t let them take away from enjoying life. When I was dreaming about being on Broadway, I wasn’t grateful for my life. I was more concerned about where I could be, what I could have been doing, who I could have been drinking nonalcoholic drinks with. I didn’t even appreciate my own family. And I regretted that for a long time.
Today I still haven’t succeeded on being on Broadway, but I’ll get there someday, even if it just means seeing a show twice a week.
Do you take action? Or do you let your mind do the taking?
APPRECIATION IN THE JOURNEY
In institute the other day, I asked my teacher what the difference between belief and knowledge was. I’m aware of the obvious definitions of them, but for some reason they tend to be skewed in religion. My question went somewhat like, “I mean, I know there’s belief and I know there’s knowledge, but for some odd reason I can’t tell them apart at church. What’s up with that??” *cue the applause and laughter*
Anywho, after several answers and ideas of what the difference was, Elder Clark said, “Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination.”
He was obviously referring to faith and how I should utilize it- to find my own answers. I know his statement to be true.
And then, my mind took that piece of information and used it as tracing paper onto my own life. Apply the ‘journey not the destination’ piece onto brain like so and see how it goes *beep bop*
My mind raced. It gave me plenty to think about. My conclusion ran to something like: Life isn’t only about that light at the end of the tunnel, it’s about the path to that opening. It’s what you learn along the way to the Moon, not the hole-y, chalky planet itself. It’s great and all, but what meaning does it hold?
GRATITUDE OUTLIVES LIFE AND TIME
I think that gratitude is a powerful thing. It’s powerful in that you can see the good in things, and have a more positive outlook. That substantially changes lives on its own.
My struggle with gratitude is that I tend to be too late. As I mentioned before about bad timing and being stuck, gratitude is one of those things that I let get past me a little too often. If I could depict this onto a pie chart, gratitude would be at 42% of “Personal Improvement”.
But gratitude befalls life and time. Gratitude is eternal, even. Once it’s born into the universe, it can float and swirl in your Mindaverse (like that?) as much as it wants, until you pluck it down again and restate it. I appreciate gratitude and I appreciate all it’s done on my path. It’s an anchor for me. When I wanted to be on Broadway or when I was imagining how cool I would be back home, I failed to plan my marvel of it all. I was blessed enough to even have a sister and then to top it all off, she’s coming home from a mission and teaching me a bunch of stuff I could never conjure up on my own- like eyeshadow. And plus, she’s super cool. I look up to her a lot. But I didn’t appreciate her enough when I had her.
Do you see my pattern? This life, this journey, isn’t so without gratitude, without looking around and smelling the roses. Noticing all the beautiful things God has granted to you and the things you’ve been given and surrounded by- even if it’s just a cow- are blessings anyway.
The photographer who took my featured image portrays perfect gratitude. He saw the beauty in the fields that day. He saw it and he captured it.
THE FAULT IN ASTROLOGY
As some of you may know, I lived in the Grand Canyon. Not literally in the rocky crevices and caves of the great natural phenomenon, but in a Lodge, in the North Rim, in a safe and clean environment 😊
Before I went there, I’d lost almost all desire to reach high or hold ambition or dream. I felt pooped, done with, over it. I didn’t want to dream anymore, I just wanted to get by. Life wasn’t about the journey anymore, it was about the checkpoints, and I took this seriously.
However, one day there was going to be a week-long star party going on at the Lodge. As an employee, I caught wind of it a week in advance and actually gained some excitement for it. But I didn’t go on the first night, or the second, or the third. I attended the star party meeting the fourth and last night. It was a wonderful, crazy, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with my friend on a whim.
It was absolutely beautiful
I don’t know why it did, but I suddenly felt this warm glow of inspiration and ambition grow inside my heart. Looking at those stars I remembered what it was like to imagine myself amongst them. I wanted to do great things like these stars did every night. I wanted to be something. I wanted to shine, make my mark, and fall gracefully, if I ever did. I wanted to have a career and a life that had a purpose.
It wasn’t until I was looking at Jupiter and Saturn and M-51 with crazy good HD quality, that I realized I wanted to be right where I was for once. I was happy with where I was, and I thanked God with all sincerity that I had a chance to be there that night and have a realization of my potential.
Do you know why I figured better things were in New York? Because the buildings are tall. To me, that shows that the people reach as high as they can see. I mean, since you can’t see the stars there, you gotta settle for something, right?
But on a serious note, they have what I dream of having. They have aspirations. They have enthusiasm, drive, desire. They have high goals that they plan on reaching, because you can’t get to the 61st floor on a bus pass.
Something clicked in my head that night. I should “grow where I’m planted”. I had been placed there for some relevant reason, just as I have been planted here in sunny Park City. I may not know why I’m here, but I’m loving all that I’m learning here and all of the people I’m meeting here. And “I appreciate that” -DJ Khaled
Love, Diyana 💖
- Wicked: https://wickedthemusical.com
- Thoroughly Modern Millie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoroughly_Modern_Millie_(musical)
- Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway: http://cinderellaonbroadway.com