Sometimes, I feel like signing on to Facebook is just asking to be bombarded with viral meme photos, incendiary political opinions, and Farmville invitations. However, sometimes I sign on to a newsfeed that is delightfully and surprisingly full of gold, like I did yesterday. If you’re stressing about something, having a “blah” day, or just needing some external inspiration, here are a few bites of soul food via my Facebook buddies.
Need some motivation?
Check out this TED Talk by psychologist Meg Jay. There are a lot of Thought Catalog articles floating around lately on how to make the most of your twenties. They’re super inspiring when you read them, but then you realize they all sort of say the same thing, and there’s not much substance behind them to get you going. I love that Meg Jay relies on psychology more than purely emotional arguments to make her points – although her stories about past clients like Emma certainly will make you think and relate. Even if you’re not a twentysomething, this TED Talk is a great reminder about making the most of the present instead of waiting around for the future. It’s a lesson I need to relearn myself, honestly.
Need some inspiration? (Alternately: Want to cry really hard?)
Watch this mini-documentary from SoulPancake (Rainn Wilson’s website!) about Zach Sobiech, a 17-year old kid who lost his battle with cancer two days ago. I promise, it’s well-worth the twenty minutes. This guy’s composure and purpose during his last few months of life are nothing short of miraculous, and his wisdom is beyond his years. I think there’s probably a take-away for everyone in here. If nothing else, it has sure put my own problems and stressors in perspective these past few days. If he has such a good and selfless attitude while facing his own premature death, what excuse do the rest of us have for road rage?
“It’s really simple, actually. It’s just… try and make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it with time, maybe you have to learn it the hard way. But as long as you learn it, you’re gonna make the world a better place.”
Need a little lightness after that?
Watch this cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Walk Off the Earth. The video concept is so simple but so cool. It’s just happy. And this song always makes me think of 10 Things I Hate About You. Such a 90s staple.
So there’s your food for thought. It’s still kind of early so just think of it as breakfast in bed. Thanks, Facebook friends!
What’s inspiring you lately? Any good YouTube covers out there?
This post could be about a few different things. If it was called The Inbetweeners, it could be about my favorite British television obsession from last winter (besides Sherlock… and Downton Abbey… wait, I can’t really narrow it down).
If it was called The Inn-Between, it could be about the iconic Geneseo bar-in-a-barn that makes no sense to anybody who hasn’t been there, and to many people who have.
(This is an accurate representation. Oh, the IB.)
But it’s called The In-Between, and it’s about home. Technically, I have a lot of homes now (hello, blog tagline). Places where I’ve moved and stayed and eventually left again, perhaps with a little bit more or a little bit less of myself than when I arrived. But right now, I mean HOME home.
That’s Rexford. What brought on this little bout of 518-homesickness? These guys did, of course.
Oh, you didn’t know I grew up with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper? I didn’t. Rats. But they DID just film an entire movie in and around the exact area I grew up in. The Place Beyond the Pines was completely shot and set in Schenectady, New York, and a few other parts of the Capital District.
It wasn’t showing anywhere on the Outer Banks, so on a whim, I went up to Virginia Beach last week to see it by myself. First of all, Abby introduced me to going to movies alone and it is AWESOME, and second of all, I knew it would be really annoying for anyone I went to see it with if I kept whispering, “That’s my bank! I know that street! I went to high school with her!”
As a side note, I didn’t realize until I got there that the theater I’d set my course for was Beach Movie Bistro, a dine-in movie theater restaurant. It was so great. The seats were gigantic, everyone had their own table, and a man named Barry brought me pizza during the previews. Score.
Anyway, in an odd twist, the pre-movie entertainment was about base jumping in New Zealand.
That is Mt. Cook valley, and the view is almost identical to those from my tramping trip there! Crazy. The next segment was about this guy named Steve Fisher, an extreme kayaker and one of National Geographic’s 2013 Adventurers of the Year (man, I’d like to win that prize). I honestly was paying more attention to my pizza during this, but he caught my attention at one point by saying, “My life has shown me many places that tempt me to stay… but even so, there are always new challenges to take on.”
Whoa. That resonated with me, for some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. I’m not an extreme kayaker, so I probably don’t think of everything quite as intensely – but still, I wanted to give Steve Fisher a big “I feel ya, man” on this one.
That all may sound unrelated to the ramblings I began this post with, but it’s all to say that I was in a weird, wistful mood before the movie even began. And then the movie itself was like driving around my hometown for a couple of hours, albeit with two really good-looking actors running around and a bunch of people shooting guns.
Altamont Fairgrounds, where my friends and I used to go for music festivals. State Street. Vale Cemetery. The GE building where my mom worked for most of my childhood. The 1st National Bank of Scotia. Story Avenue in Niskayuna. I had a couple of high school friends who were visible extras in the movie. They even used our actual newspapers and television anchors instead of creating fake ones or hiring actors. At times I actually had to remind myself to look at what Ryan Gosling was doing because I was too focused on the scenery – really??
Unlike the countless movies set in New York City or LA, this movie will not make you say, “I wish I lived there!” Schenectady is not glamorous. It’s real. It’s just a normal town in upstate New York that’s had golden ages and crappy periods and is surrounded by a bunch of other even littler towns that are just keepin’ on. But it’s green and beautiful in the summer, and there are drive-in country ice cream places EVERYWHERE, and apparently it’s kinda easy to rob banks. It’s where I grew up, and I know it, and I love it. I never got as burned-out on living in suburbia as some of my friends did in high school (maybe because I lived “over the bridge” and got to escape back to Rexford after school), but I’ve grown to appreciate my roots even more since moving away. Isn’t that how it goes?
So why “The In-Between?” I intentionally planned to go back home to NY for over a month between leaving the Outer Banks and going to London. I want to spend time with my family and friends, and just enjoy the area again, before moving halfway around the world. But ever since I’ve started making concrete plans for the fall, like deciding on housing and booking plane tickets, I’ve gotten wrapped up in London daydreams.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. I’m glad that I’m so excited for grad school, and for moving somewhere new. It makes me sure that this is the right decision. However, it’s also made me sort of forget about my in-between time.
It was unexpected, but The Place Beyond the Pines reminded me to look forward to the in-between, my five whole weeks of 518, after I leave another place that I love but before I set out on my next big adventure. Because I’ll be home. Unfortunately without Bradley Cooper.
Has anything ever made you unexpectedly miss home?
I am major major major stressin’ over this grad school decision. I’ve narrowed it down (technically there were still five contenders then, with two in the same location). I’ve gotten it down to three but don’t feel any closer to a final answer.
Honestly, I’m just most surprised that the decision isn’t clearer to me. I never expected to feel so fully invested, and really be able to see myself, in three different programs. I really thought I’d have a stand-out choice that just felt like “the one” in my gut.
And I’ve just realized I sound like Sean the Bachelor, who never thought he would fall in love with more than one person at once.
I probably just need a good balcony to think pensive thoughts, and maybe some solid QT with Chris Harrison to talk it out bro-style.
I’m currently trying to escape my indecisiveness and crazy stressball status, and mellow tunes usually do the trick.
Sit back, press play, and reeeelax.
Weezer – “Island in the Sun”
My brother reminded me about this song yesterday, even though it was to tell me that he never knew it was by Weezer. I love this song – a) it really does make me feel like I’m on an island in the sun (technically, that’s where I live – I should remember that more often) and b) it reminds me of that Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.
Andrew Bird – “Sovay”
This song has been on my sleep playlist for as long as I can remember. Maybe that’s why I find it so hypnotically relaxing.
Van Morrison – “Crazy Love”
I know there are sweet versions with Ray Charles and Bob Dylan in there, too, but this classic version is just so smooth and comforting. Actually, this whole album has really been doin’ it for me lately. One of my coworkers told me yesterday that she always thinks of me when she hears Van Morrison. That was a nice compliment.
Guster – “Diane”
Guster always makes me think of my freshman roommate, Carly, and this has always been my favorite Guster song. It sounds summery and makes me feel like I should chill out. Which I should.