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Go Play

I wanted to keep today’s blog post pretty simple. As everything starts opening back up, I’ve been getting a lot more busy between work and side projects. While it feels great getting into the swing of things again, it’s definitely a bummer being a little more inconsistent with the blogging. I haven’t posted anything in over two weeks!

This topic was something I wanted to write about since the beginning of creating this blog. When the thought of sharing stories on the internet first crossed my mind, I started writing down a few stories I wanted to share first, and this was first on that list.

This picture has been the wallpaper background on my computer for the last two years. The picture was from a trip to Los Angeles back in 2018. This was taken in Hermosa Beach, featuring the same pier from La La Land (one of my favorite movies). “Go play” is a lyric from an Owl City song (one of my favorite music artists).

There are so many parts of this photo that come from different influences in my life. Of all the photos I have taken, this one feels like the embodiment of my personality. I try not to take life too seriously. I’m a relatively reserved person. I’m usually the quietest person in a group. I always joke that I’m better at listening than being the person in the spotlight. This is probably the main reason why I love photography so much. I get to contribute to the creative world but people rarely see me. They see the vision that I see.

But even if I’m quiet, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of adventure. I like to be spontaneous. I’m not much of a planner if I don’t have to be. When planning trips, I do plenty of research about the location I’m visiting. Doing basic online research is a mini adventure within itself. But there’s something special about waking up in the morning and not knowing where the day is going to take you.

The world is what you want it to be. Yes, there are certain parts of life you can’t really avoid. Paying bills, going to school, getting old; I can go on and on. But all those things are what you make of it. Just as an example from my own life, I remember having to write a paper in college about something pop culture related. I could pick anything from the last 100 years, whether it was a television show or an event, or anything in between.

Growing up I had a fascination with The Twilight Zone. And I don’t mean modern day Twilight Zone. I mean the original episodes from 50’s and 60’s hosted by Rod Serling. My dad grew up watching reruns of the show and passed his excitement down to me. So I decided to write a paper about The Twilight Zone for my pop culture writing assignment. But while this was a fun topic for me to write about, I didn’t get too excited about it. I think it was because somebody else was telling me what to do to, instead of me wanting to do it organically.

So instead of putting enough effort into the project to just get by, I thought about ways I could get myself more excited about the assignment. I thought about what made The Twilight Zone so unique. If you haven’t seen the original Twilight Zone episodes, this might be where I lose you. But in a nutshell, the show is narrated by the series creator, Rod Serling. He sets up almost every episode with a monologue and ends it with something to think about. Here is how he introduces one of my favorite episodes:

"Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there's a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines - because they displeased him - and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages - just by using his mind. Now I'd like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It's in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn't like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you're looking at now. She sings no more. And you'll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio, have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone."

He had a unique way of speaking and narrating. I figured out what I wanted to do. I wanted to write my paper as an episode of The Twilight Zone. I thought of all the key points I wanted to write about and wrote them out like I was Rod Serling. I started off my paper with one of pop culture’s most famous opening lines: “You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”

This was a long winded explanation of one of my college writing assignments, but that one example is how I try to live my life. There are things I can’t control. But I can control how I approach those things. I try to make an adventure out of anything I can. And this is where the words “Go Play” come into mind. Life is what you make it. Get out there and be goofy. Put your name on the day. Find a way to end the day, seeing a new perspective you didn’t see when you woke up. Get in the car, turn off your GPS, and make a wrong turn. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. Open up a map and learn about a country you never knew existed.

As we go through these uncertain times, there is a Harry Potter quote that has been resonating with me a lot lately.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

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