I just finished reading "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. One of her keys to happiness involves "Being Gretchen." She explains this by saying that she should stay true to what has made her happy and what continues to make her happy, even if it seems silly to other people. She loved scrapbooking and reading children's literature... and when she could do those things, even if they seemed like a waste of time for other people, she discovered a happier version of herself. And so it got me thinking... what would it mean to "Be Sara?" What has made me happy and continues to make me happy? What are some themes of play that have carried over into my adult life?
I immediately thought of writing, for one. I've kept a diary since I was at least in 2nd grade. I loved writing everything down. As I grew older, I recognized the importance of keeping diaries, not only for my own memory's sake, but for the sake of my future children, who will one day be teenagers who point their fingers at me and say that I just don't understand. I could whip out one of those bad boys and say, "Why yes, little one, I do indeed understand... Exhibit A." Writing was always my main means of expressing myself. I didn't have many real-life friends as a kid (which was fine--I was content playing by myself for the most part, and the friends I did have I really loved), but I had a ton of pen pals. One pen pal per state, minimum. And then I had a handful of pals from countries I had never heard of, such as Latvia or Ghana. I loved and love to write letters. Sending and receiving mail always brought me an insane amount of joy. Writing letters has always been one of those things that I gave up on as I got older because I let other things take a higher priority... such as doing homework and volunteering. When i was younger, I also had an "Expage" website (called "Sara's Giggle Page") which I updated regularly with the happenings of my life and everything else I deemed important (I'm pretty sure it could be equivalent to my first web blog). I even have a little notebook with different HTML codes so I could do cool things with my webpage... like making the background flash different colors when the mouse hovered over a link, or having that cool text that followed the mouse around the screen.
I also loved to read. I used to challenge myself to read a book a day. I was often successful.I distinctly remember a story about a kid who renamed a pen to be called a "frindle." Reading like that has taken the backseat to reading for school... which often left me so exhausted I didn't even want to read for myself anymore.
I volunteered a lot. I loved volunteering at PADS sites for the homeless. I think that was my favorite place to volunteer. I also spent a lot of time in youth ministry. I did everything. I think I even got a little cocky when it came to my faith, too. I became a bible-thumper at one point. I never liked my bible-thumper tendencies... but especially near the end of high school, the friends I had made were fairly bible-thumpery (not necessarily in a bad way) so it makes sense.
I had my whole wedding planned out when I was younger, too, though I was always up in arms about what my dress would be like. On one hand, I wanted the pouffy dress... but on the other, I wanted a 40's theme wedding, where all the men would be in suits with tails and canes and tophats and the ladies would wear some kind of vintage-y dress too, and I would have a live band to play jazz music, which meant that when it came down to my dress, it probably wouldn't fit to have a big pouffy one. I know that I wanted to get married and have at least two children.
I always loved driving around. I really do miss my 1990 Ford Thunderbird Supercoupe... even if it did take only premium gasoline and was breaking down and I couldn't afford it.
I also loved going to the pool... at least up until the point where I realized my body looked different than everyone else.
Maybe I should get back to these old habits. Maybe I should get a pen pal or 50. Maybe if I got back in touch with who I was, then I can figure out who the heck I am called to be.
Be Sara. How can you "Be (Your Name)"?