from the blog

What I Live For

When I was a freshman in high school, my English teacher used to have us do a free writing exercise where we wrote about “What I Live For.”  I remember sitting in my standard issue hard school-issue chair, gazing out the rectangular windows of our classroom and writing lists of things I loved that this writing prompt ended up generating.

Only recently did it occur to me that our teacher might have been trying to remind us, adolescent girls, about all there was to live for, as a sort of suicide-prevention technique.  Adolescence is hard, and suicide is a real threat; who would have thought that a teacher might come up with a writing exercise that might do something to prevent it?

The gratitude lists I keep to this day are also reminders of what is good around me, even when a lot feels hard.  Same with my Instagram Joy Challenges, one of which we recently finished (you can find all the tagged entries at #bandj30daysofjoy).  These are ways of focusing on the good, remembering all that is beautiful and inspiring and worthy of love and excitement around you, no matter what inevitable challenges are there too.

It makes me emotional to think about my teacher and this writing exercise.  I am embarrassed to say that I don’t remember her name.  But she left a lasting impression.

It’s such an evocative thing too, to slow down and think about “What do I live for?”  What things, small or large, give my life meaning, or pleasure, or joy?  Some of those things for me are sunsets, rainbows, laughing with my kids and friends, books, color, music.  I’d love to know some of your things.  Let me know in the comments— What do you live for?  

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