I’d Like to Say I Did It On Purpose

team_danraj last practice

CSz San Jose

Every Tuesday night is all company practice night for the CSz San Jose team – it’s our weekly 2-hour meet to work on improv skills, concepts, and hone our craft. It’s been that way for as long as I’ve been with the team and much, much longer before that. Tuesdays have been, for the most part, off limits for 13+ years for me now.

Last night just happened to be a last practice for one of our players, Danraj. Every week, after practice is over, maybe a few folks will linger – typically only for a quick collaboration about side projects, because it’s late and families are waiting, responsibilities are hovering, and bedtimes are approaching.

As we broke for the evening, I realized the buzz in the room wasn’t just louder than usual – it was deafening. It was well after quittin’ time for this group, and there was a hum in the air – talking, laughing, catching up, hugs.

I could only stand there and take in what was around me.

If you’ve never seen the movie About Time, there’s a simple, thinly veiled challenge at the end, and it has stayed with me since: To live each moment as if you chose to travel back in time to that moment, on purpose.

Now: What do you notice?

Tangentially, I’ve been allergic to the word “Just” for a little over two years now. I’ve been exploring it as Ellen Leanse does, regarding clear communication ( if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it). And I’ve also been observing the use of “just” when it comes to living life. I hear it so often:

“It’s just a meeting.”

“I’m just waiting for the bus.”

“It’s just another _insert weekly occurring instance here___”

“Just another Monday.”

It has been increasingly weighing on me to ask myself often, “What do you notice that you would’ve otherwise overlooked because you took the moment for granted?”

This isn’t meant to put unnecessary pressure on my moments, but, instead, to encourage me to pick my damn head up. See the opportunities to notice, connect, give or accept.

The realization: I don’t want to just get through anything. I don’t hate Mondays – why waste 1/7th of my life by trying to “just get through” a day?

So I’m looking around the room, on purpose, and I’m reminded by that noise – that glorious, deafening noise –  that what we have, while at times may seem mundane or a routine part of life, is so good, and not to be taken for granted. Not one practice, not one match, not one moment.

Will things always be, by average definition, “good”? Of course not – shit will go down, things will break, and devastation is inevitable. My hope in those moments is that I can call on resilience to pace me through.

Shawn Achor outlines a similar concept beautifully (and hilariously) in his TEDx talk, “The Happiness Advantage,” about how we can “look at stress as a challenge, instead of as a threat.” Even more resonant for me: “if happiness is on the other side (of success), your brain never gets there.”

Now. Is. So. Good.

Coincidentally, now is all we have. So we say the “I love yous,” and I will snake underneath most of your guys’ arms for one last hug before I drive home, wherever I am.

What a great night.

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