You know how people say, “College was the best years of my life!”? When I was in college, I hated when people told me that. College, for me, were some of the roughest four years of my life. Academia was a breeze and I was thrilled to learn about social dynamics, structures, and inequalities. Socially, however, those years were full of personal growth, individuation, and emotional development that was difficult to process through. I quite often felt alone, and isolated, and frustrated that I wasn’t having the best time of my whole life. I didn’t like to drink those feelings away either.
However, this weekend, we went back to my old alma matter because we had a few things to take care of in town. I instantly turned into a full blown nostalgia machine. Dylan and I walked around like those obnoxious adults pointing out buildings that had changed, developments that had morphed structures into plazas, and laughed about memories that took place back when our biggest financial stress was textbooks. I was filled with Buffalo pride – embarrassingly so! It became so clear to me how people can block out the bad, and choose to remember the good, enjoyable, and funny moments that shaped you.
I am so pleased with myself, to see too, how just a few years later I have changed as an individual. I think I’ve grown more confident, more sure of myself in a world that seems big. It is a beautiful thing, to return to a place, and to see that perhaps, you’ve out grown the you who you once were when walking those paths and crossing under the stone walkways.
We also got to go to Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street Mall and walk around enjoying the Colorado blue sky in the bustle of people on a Saturday morning. The walking mall is typically full of people displaying their talents, and asking for money. I ran into an interesting gentleman playing a really neat drum called a hang. Stereotypically, he screams of Boulder – bare foot and with dreads in his hair. After a conversation, he became so much more than a visual stereotype. Along the way, Dylan and I stopped to talk to this kind man about his instrument.
I loved so many parts of our interaction. Before he played the drum for us, Ryan explained to us that he does his best to match the rhythm of the music to the pace of people’s feet as they walk by. He intentionally tried to connect to the people around him in a way of perceiving others and giving back their energy in musical form. His first little beat was slow, and steady, and indicative of a Saturday morning stroll. The second melody he played, however, he described as what was going on in his head. It was fast, and staccato, and his hands moved around the smooth surface in a tizzy.
Isn’t it amazing how we can choose which energy to engage in? We thanked him for playing, and walked in the other direction. After we got a block away I couldn’t help but think that his intentional choice to observe others, absorb their energy, and reflect back in peaceful ways of musical talent was a marvelous practice. We turned around so I could ask him his name and if I could write about him here. Look above – his face is full of pure joy. So thank you, Ryan Post, for giving me something to think about on Saturday. Thank you for sharing a brief glimpse of who you are with us, and for choosing to be intentional in the energy you put out into the universe.
How can you be more intentional with your choices about what you are giving to the universe? What is worth matching energy, and where do you instead take care of yourself?