Thoughts on Thirty-Seven: Stories and Words
This week I turn 37, and because the number 37 will always remind me of Kevin Smith (and if you’re around 37, you’ll get that, and if you’re not, you won’t), I’ll try to turn that connection into something meaningful. Ish.
Apparently (I don’t really follow his career) he wrote a book, in which he said this:
Which is touching.
And let me tell you why.
I get his point. I like his point. But he’s wrong, really wrong, in one important way.
I don’t know my own story. Neither does he. Neither do you. Neither do any of us. Maybe storytellers do sometimes know where they’ll end up, but sometimes not. Often not.
Same with life. And I think one of the most paralyzing things we can do is think that we’re expect to know where we’re going. That has panicked me over and over.
If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be here now, 27-year-old me would’ve laughed.
Life happens. Thank God. So no, I don’t know my own story. Thank God. But yeah, it’s mine. Thank God.
Never trust anybody when they tell you how your story goes, because it’s your damn story, and you and God haven’t made it up yet, so who does this fool think they are to know?
His is catchier, I grant you. But I think mine is realer.
While we’re doing that, though – making up our stories – we do have to be careful. We can have directions. We can have dream. And we can stay careful. Our stories are made up of words, and they aren’t just the words we choose at dramatic moments. They’re the words we choose every day.
It’s anathema, in this world of immediacy, not to respond immediately – to snap words out as fast as we can talk or type. But one of my beautiful, gorgeous, brilliant friends reminded me this week of the power that lies in not doing that, and it’s been sitting with me. The power of being sometimes quiet.
Watch the last minute of this beautiful talk by Benjamin Zander. Maybe – let’s try to live into that as we write our stories. Together. One word at a time.