I watched season 2 of The Carrie Diaries yesterday after devouring season 1 a few weeks ago. A coming of age story for a group of high school friends from Castlebury, Connecticut in the mid 80s, it is a prequel to the Sex and the City television series and based on Candace Bushnell’s book of the same name.
What I most enjoyed about watching the show, perhaps even more than catching the warm and fuzzies from the theme of strong friendship or drooling over the GORGEOUS Austin Butler, was observing Carrie’s determinedness to go for her dreams of becoming a writer and to make her way in the city that has always electrified her. Like Carrie, New York City, in all its dizzying chaos and harsh extremes (rich, poor, overcrowded, intimate, uplifting, depressing), has dazzled me from a young age. Seeing her coming into her own, navigating her way from sheltered suburban kid to bold, street-smart young woman who wants what she wants badly enough to risk embarrassment and failure struck a chord with me. Carrie, just 17, was mature for her age, as I have always been. She has always seen herself doing big things in life, just as I have. I grew more and more inspired to work on my goals with each passing episode.
The thing is, it’s easy to say you’re going to commit to making things happen for yourself, changing what you know needs to change, and going for the life you feel you want and deserve while basking in the touching, beautifully blinding light of inspiration. A centering vacation, revelatory spiritual retreat, enlightening personal development book, or powerful sermon, for example, can fill us up with hope and excitement about our futures that often brings us to tears. These moments remind us of the non-jaded, unafraid little kid inside who had big dreams that not only seemed possible, but certain. We’re rejuvenated and filled with fire…all from the comfort of our couch, a gorgeous beach, or cozy place of worship.
But what happens once we get off the plane, when we finish the book, when the sermon is through, or in my case, when the show is over? I believe we choose to either use the inspiration to propel us to action, or let it fade, perhaps reasoning that at least for a few hours or days, we knew how it felt to be alive.
So now it’s just me sitting alone in bed. Silence, rather than a peppy fictional storyline, is what has all my attention, and it forces me to turn inward and face my ego’s fearful thoughts. I have to consciously decide whether to let my old self-defeating habits (such as binge eating and procrastination) dictate my future, or to unabashedly show up for my life and respect myself.
I have begun to understand why once bright-eyed dreamers passively choose to stay small, as I see how this could be considered an easier route to go down rather than not settling for mediocre. Sure, there may always be that constant low hum of “what ifs” and question of fulfillment in the back of one’s mind to contend with, but surely there are enough distractions in today’s busy world to drown that out as best we can, healthy or not. It’s far harder to work up the cajones to actually take leaps into the unknown, instill self-discipline, and challenge the voices in our head that say we’re crazy to go for what we want and that the world is a cruel place that’s against us.
I, however, am not at the point where I feel comfortable imagining a life I’m merely “content” with, and fortunately for me, I am easily and often inspired. If I can do one thing that will boost me towards my goals and DON’T do one thing that will take me further away from my goals, I will consider that time spent soaking up the inspiration very much worth it.
Peace, love, & glamour,