The power of forgetting

Saturday, August 13, 2011

That quote has been gnawing at my neglectful little brain this week. In this Age of Distraction, we allow ourselves to forget the ambitions most worth remembering.

Amongst the aspiring basketball players and marine biologists in my fifth-grade yearbook, my ambition stood alone: Writer. In college I studied it and went to every craft talk and reading, faithfully jotting little pieces of advice on How to Write Well from the writers who knew best. I happily spent hours in the library when I picked and prodded at and reconstructed my work until I felt it was as perfect as perfect could be. In college it was easy: there were deadlines, and professors to impress, and an entire built-in community of people who loved what I loved.


And then, somewhere along the way, I forgot. I don't mean to say I altogether stopped writing, because that will never happen. My need to write is as fundamental as my needs to run outside on a beautiful day, and drink coffee when I wake up, and sing in the shower. Malawi was full of inspiration, and having lots of free time and no Internet made for an ideal writing environment, and over a year later, I have dozens of long rambling pieces about that life-altering experience begging to be touched again.

And France? France was eight months of indulgence: long dinners over confit de canard and carafes of Bordeaux wine, long conversations with strangers who spoke my favorite language, long nights playing and creating music with my new best friends. But yet have I gone through the notebooks I kept with me during long afternoons outside caf├ęs in Bergerac. Yet have I racked my brain for the anecdotes of the musicians and bartenders who played pivotal roles in my year. I'm afraid they're already forgotten.

My point is this: Don't be afraid to admit that you've forgotten why you're Here. Reclaim your passion, whatever it is. The most successful people are those who build and build and build on what they've been given.


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