Every month, I meet with a small group of friends and we discuss our financial goals for the next month. I have taken on the role of secretary, keeping track of what each person has accomplished and marking their aspirations for what is to come. I enjoy typing these up, as I like adding some goofy humor.
Recently, after sending these out, a friend responded saying, “if my entire life was so wonderfully and amusingly summarized by you, it would be the best record/diary ever!” I found myself thinking, “I wish that I could describe my own life that way too.” I then realized how silly that was, as it was my own brain that had written the notes, so of course I could describe my life that way.
The importance of story has always felt resonant to me. I love listening to podcasts like “The Moth” and “This American Life” to hear what stories people have to share. In my life as a therapist, I always found myself listening for people’s stories. There is power there.
I think about this as I think about the story I’ve been telling myself for the past few years: “I don’t know what to do with my life;” “After coming back from Grand Cayman, I’ve failed at figuring out my life.”
A few months ago, I noticed I was tearing up at a song from Matilda, the musical, called “When I Grow Up.” The song elicits emotions in me for various reasons. One part that particularly stands out to me is when Matilda sings:
“Just because I find myself in this story
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me
If I think the ending is fixed already, I might as well be saying
I think that it’s ok
And that’s not right
And if it’s not right
I’ve got to put it right.”
This is my story to write, and I get to decide how I want to tell it. I write this as I sit on a plane. It’s the first plane I’ve been on in over a year. I find myself holding back tears as I think to myself, “right. This is me. I’m a traveler. I’m an explorer. I am a receiver and teller of stories all over the world.”
What’s your story?