As a member of the X Generation, I have spent many years developing and improving upon my cynical nature and stockpiling large quantities of snark to create the sparkling personality that is Anna Alexander. Despite this large cache of weapons and a bunker that would make Dick Cheney jealous, the occasional romantic movie (Wings of Desire) or book (Time Traveler’s Wife) will sneak in and give me comfort and hope. Secretly.
During these moments of weakness, I sometimes read articles or hear interviews with A Famous Person who talks about watching a movie or listening to a song that Completely Changed Their Life. These comments give me pause and I have to ask, “Really?” A catastrophic accident, divorce, losing a limb, or winning the lottery Completely Changes Your Life, but are the opening lines of Smells Like Teen Spirit really that life changing?
Looking back on my own life, there are situations where I had to change gears or carve out a different path or was inspired by art but nothing that Changed My Life. I remember watching Henry Rollins speak on The Late Show with David Letterman and he was talking about why you should take better care of yourself. It wasn’t preachy or condescending; he just simply presented the facts in his in-your-face Henry Rollins style. It made sense and I made a few minor adjustments to my lifestyle so as to not disobey Henry.
Recently, I presented the idea of Life Changing Moments to group of friends and asked if they are really possible. My friend Kim said she was moved by Pearl Jam’s video for Even Flow where Eddie Vedder stages dives into the crowd. She said it wasn’t life changing but it did help her make a necessary jump in her life. We chewed on the idea some more and concluded that instances like this remind us of what we forgot to help us re-evaluate our situations. We called it Trigger Moments. I remember attending a talk lead by Bono and afterward I wanted to go heal the world and cure AIDS. Well, not really, but it made me more aware and informed of the AIDS situation in Africa. When I got laid off of my job of 9 years, it was the boot that I needed to get going on my writing career and get moving on projects that had gone stagnant. Trigger Moments like these are the glue that helps solidify our ideas and get us moving toward a goal.
Now, as a secret romantic, I sometimes hope for that moment when someone will read my blog and think I’m the greatest writer since Edgar Allen Poe (one of my heroes) and want to publish my work instead of having to bang my head on the keyboard. It’s normal. As I write, I have a pile of projects and dreams that need attention and some days I just want to watch TV and stare at the wall. But until I run into a literary agent who likes me, I plan to continue collecting life experiences and cheesy Life Changing Movies (hello Lake House!) to keep me motivated and walking on a path toward something greater.
So, gentle reader, tell me about your trigger moments and what changes you made to better your life or change direction. How do we use those moments to move forward on our paths instead of waiting for the mystery person to find us and hand us our dreams?
Coming up on the blog, I plan to to do a series of interviews with people who have made the necessary steps to Change Their Lives and how they went about doing it. My cousin Jessica was working as a scientist in Antarctica and got bit by the acting bug. I’ll tell you what happened and how she’s helping others manifest their own dreams.