My new life after academia is beginning slowly. I am first doing some self-care using the occasion of receiving a new Apple Watch as a structure to do so. Capitalizing on my propensity to be competitive with myself I have now met my meditation, exercise and sleep goals for four days in a row. I have also been returning over and over to the blog post, “Headed Out: Destination Unknown”. The one which seemed to resonate for so many of us. Somehow it appears in my dreams and in my imagination as the foundation of a project that will evolve over time.
It seems that there is no good word to describe the feeling we all reported having that signals a change, an evolution or a reinvention that doesn’t sound like a cliche or implies that where we are at in life needs to be dramatically changed. Most reinvention stories I’ve read involve big adventures like taking off and traveling the world, quitting your job and moving across the country and doing something completely new and different from what you were doing before. These tales usually involve a radical transformation and imply you leave everything from the past behind and create something entirely new. You are generally by yourself in these stories.
My circumstances as a child and adult meant there were limited resources with which to execute reinventions. There were people and responsibilities I could not leave behind. To be honest, maybe I just don’t have the courage those other people have, the ones who do the monumental things. So most times the remedy can be what others may consider mundane or unexciting, like going to an obscure part of Brooklyn I’ve never visited before. The clothes I decide to wear on the trip are the catalyst that sparks something new. In them, I find the courage to take risks. It’s through them that the ordinary things I might be doing to make a change become far less ordinary. The world is the same yet somehow different because of them.
I have decided that in order to honor who I am now that the term, “What Nowness?” is a much better descriptor of the state that everyone spoke about in the destination unknown blog post. It implies satisfaction with who we are at our core, that this state is normal and a precursor to a new burst of creative self-expression. It is a state of perpetual openness to whatever may come before you, whenever and however it does.
Many of you were gracious enough to give me some suggestions of large and small ways to get inspired. I have been taking you up on some of them. I feel like I have been in a dark cave of work and now I can feel and see sunlight. I have been taking photos of things that catch my eye, going to more events and connecting with people. Letting myself be curious and open, not driven and directed. I am still in my state of “What Nowness?” and am fine with it. The state of “What Nowness?” is something that transcends social identity and the categories we are put in by society. It’s curiosity and wonder. Those younger because of the speed of technology may have shorter periods of “What Nowness”. They have different tools. But so do we. So I think that the way forward is to collaborate and begin a conversation about the tools that exist, and those we want to create, when we are dreaming and evolving in our times of “What Nowness”. Tools that can help us be the best version of the selves we already are.
When I was regularly doing my Weekend Fashion Bibliography I often linked to a website called NOWNESS. NOWNESS is a movement for creative excellence in storytelling celebrating the extraordinary of every day. So I give it a nod for all the inspiration it gives me including the name for my new state of being, “What Nowness?”