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[personal profile] meorae
Georgia looks over at me, throwing out a question that just came to her mind as she tends to do when she's bored: "What do you find beautiful?" I start to answer, but then have to stop and think about it. "Well, I find a lot of things beautiful. A tree reaching magnificently towards the blue sky. A cat dozing peacefully in the grass. A person's face lighting up as they laugh. A simple and elegent proof. An elaborate poem. Someone proud of an accomplishment. Confidence." I go on to tell her that there's a version of beauty held up as standard by magazines, tv shows, movies, but that everyone has their own vision of beauty and it doesn't have to do anything with being thin. Beauty can be found in nature, it can be found in art, it can be found in math, it can be found in people. Georgia, who is still bored, obviously didn't expect such an elaborate answer. We find something to do, but the conversation plays over in my head (like many of our conversations) for the rest of that day as well as randomly since.

I find beauty in people's happiness. I find confidence attractive. There are other personality traits that appeal to me, like intelligence and curiosity. But really I see beauty in happiness. Someone happy with themselves, passionate about their work, surrounded by people they love and who love them is beautiful. The wedding I went to this weekend was beautiful. Somewhat simple and small, but heartbreakingly beautiful to see two people so in love commit to each other in front of their closest friends and family on a small island in Boston harbor.

It's something I've been working on a bit this year and thinking about a lot. Bringing my life more in line with what I consider beautiful and valuable and worthwhile. Trying to live my life in a way that adds joy to the people I surround myself with and in that way add beauty to their lives and mine. There's a philosophy I've been aware of for awhile that I've started to try to integrate into my life over the past year. The philosophy revolves around the idea that I am responsible for my own happiness. It is my choices that determine the course of my life. There are any number of things that are completely out of my control, but by accepting those things and focusing only on the aspects of my life I do have control of, I can make conscious choices that make my life and the lives of people around me better. I may not always have control of the situations I find myself in, but I have control of how I respond to those situations. And I can choose to respond in ways that will make me happy. I can surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself and engage me intellectually and emotionally. And I can schedule my life in such a way that I have time for all of the things that matter to me and all of the people I matter to. It's still a process to make the right choices, to find the right balance, but the shift in thought is essential. And I find myself less stressed out so far this year, with more time to read and juggle and watch Doctor Who and spend time with the people who matter to me. And that is incredible.

March 2010

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