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19 July 2010 @ 04:41 pm
Navel-gazing on Life and Experience  
I recently read an email from someone on the subject of what constitutes life experience. This person has had some Really Bad Shit in their life along with some really wonderful experiences, but it got me to thinking what I consider to be my defining life experiences. While I have some Really Bad Shit of my own that still gives me nightmares and/or anxiety if I dwell on it too much, it's not really what I would count among the top things that have provided me with Life Experience. Those were things that were done *to* me... but I do have control over how I react to them and I don't allow them to define who I am. They inform my choices and do impact my worldview, but they are not who I am.

Instead, my identity and the experiences I value are more centered around what I have done, learned, or made. And while I love the SCA and am proud of what I have done in it, the experiences there that I most value surround relationships and knowledge rather than job titles or rank. There's this great joy in feeling the almost physical weight of an endeavor - whether it is a brain buzzing with newly acquired knowledge or inspiration, or hands sore at the completion of something beautiful or useful, or heart full of joy or sorrow after an evening shared with dear friends, or body thrilling to the touch of a foreign wind upon steeping onto a new land. I've gotten to do some pretty cool stuff in my life, I have goals of doing so much more, and I believe I can do so... Past experience is valuable and important, but so is what I am doing and where I am going...

If anything, I think this is probably my core principle - the deep belief that I can do that which I set my mind and heart and hand to doing. I may not be the best at whatever it is, my plan may not work out perfectly, I may, in fact, fail in the end. So what? I tried, I'll try again. I'll never know what I am capable of, I'll never know what secrets the world holds, unless I venture forth confidently and experience all that I can. Skills and relationships, places and people, knowledge and projects, they pile one on top of the other, forming an unruly cumulative history, not a mountain but a glacier of experience - weighty and deep, but ever pushing me forward.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
akitrom: Botticelliakitrom on July 19th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Careful, lady. That's hero talk, being all indefatigable and all.

Keep doing that, an' you'll give us all hope that we can do the same.
eithni: darkladyeithni on July 20th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
I can only hope... The more company I have, the easier it is.

Although, I'm not saying that failure is not disappointing, discouraging, or tiring. Just that Bad Shit and Failure do not need to be The End, or even An End, or even a permanent part of our path. As long as the glacier keeps going, that giant pointy pile o' ick can be worn down. Time doesn't really heal all wounds, but living certainly softens them.

Edited at 2010-07-20 07:59 am (UTC)
Jonya 'Sorcha'spot1111 on July 19th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Very inspirational post. You gaze at your navel pretty good! And thanks. I was needing to hear these words.
eithni: greeneithni on July 20th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Happy to help. I know how an accidentally well-placed word can help in a rough patch, so I'm glad to have paid it forward. :)

Edited at 2010-07-20 07:52 am (UTC)
Sara: strangelostvirtue on July 20th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
I'm so used to facebook now, bah, I want to "like" this post.
eithni: peekabooeithni on July 20th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
:) Thanks for the impulse, even if LJ deprives you of the lovely likey button. ;)