A strange desire occasionally flits through me to be as productive as possible. This desire will last for approximately sixty minutes and occur about once a day, sometimes twice if I remembered to eat breakfast. This will fade away, likely due to number of factors very specific to summer.
It’s the heat, or the sunshine, or the ever abundance of people to see and do things with.
It’s the long walks, and engrossing conversations.
It’s the books that have piled up, beckoning me to a shady spot to flip their pages.
It’s slurpees and cool basements, and free rentals.
It’s the quiet moments spent laying next to someone, just listening to their heart beat.
Last summer I lived in Edmonton, and worked for a post-secondary education advocacy group. I was immersed in the political culture of Alberta, and living with someone possessed with Gramsci. Surrounded by quick-witted minds, and engaged in drawn-out banter that did little but illustrate the meaning behind the phrase “narcissism of minor differences”. No wonder it rubbed off on me. Passionate and emboldened, I took too little time to sit and think, to question; instead I acted all the time. I couldn’t be without a communicative device or a way to express myself to anyone who would listen.
Here I am, in Lethbridge, where life is genuinely different. The pace is slower and less immediate. What isn’t done today can always get done tomorrow and I find myself slowing to this pace. I am *this* close to graduating with a degree and I am frantically pursuing a career. In that, I get lost in my own head sometimes. I forget to remember the community around me or my own body. I allow myself and my relationships to become ill, and slowly fade.
Summer sheds a bright light, bringing out the colours and details. Forcing me to pause as something catches my ever wandering eye.
I feel this is something my community could do a little more of. Not just slowing down, but noticing changes, and appreciating differences. There is an abundance of people who do little but revel in the narcissism of minor difference. While that can be quite pleasurable, the minor differences are what make up the major ones. It is perspective and values that should be appreciated, not just wit and clever phrases – however, those abilties should hardly be discounted.
I am an optimist in my daily life. Believing it is possible for people to come to something with an open mind and allow that mind to experience something new, possibly challenging. I believe strongly in failure, and from failure comes true success.
It may sound absolutely saccharine, but it is truly a beautiful world out there, regardless of how your situation is. Whatever is happening, stop in a park, it on a bend, strike up a conversation. The opportunity to learn and appreciate is everywhere, and I can’t help but feel incredible when I step outside my door and revel in those minor differences.