Artist and author Austin Keon wrote in his book, Keep Going, “Attention is the most basic form of love,” wrote John Tarrant. When you pay attention to your life, it not only provides you with the material for your art, it also helps you fall in love with your life.“
This month, February, Claire’s Essays celebrates its first anniversary. For over a year, I published more than 150 posts and reached almost 150k views. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to you and to everyone who reads my essays or blog posts. Paraphrasing from the words of author Kurt Vonnegut, I hope through reading my posts, I used your time in such a way that you will feel that your time was not wasted.
If there’s one thing that changed throughout my year of blogging, its that I paid attention more.
Personally, I noticed subtle changes in my mood and my behaviour more often. I noticed the environment around me quite often too. Whenever sunlight hits me, I would take a moment to savor it. When I’m eating something that mom has prepared, I’ll make audible reactions that infers that the food is amaaazing. When I’m reading a good book, I’ll exclaim in my mind how grateful I am that I found again another great book. Everytime I wake up in the morning, I smile- excited for another day ahead.
These are the things that I feel that I do not savor much but as I blogged about my day or my life over the days, I feel like they are magic waiting for me to recognize and acknowledge them.
It was more than two years ago when I was roaming around Fully Booked in Cubao and then I stopped in my tracks as soon as my eyes landed on this quote from Ben Franklin, written on a notebook they were selling, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
I pondered on that quote althroughout my whole ride and I even wrote it on the first page of my journal because I do not want to forget it ever.
I think that quote straight up summarizes my life. I just write something that is worth reading for me (because I think of myself as an audience) or I will do something that I can write about after.
As weeks and months of blogging passed, I noticed how I read more, how I write more, and how I connected ideas because of my wide reading.
Whenever I am jotting down what happened to the day that passed, I took note of my mood and try to compare it with the other days. That’s how I became more aware of what activities should I do less, what activities do I have to do more, when should I write, when is the perfect time to start a book, and when is the time to halt academic work and do the activities that stimulate me.
Blogging aided me to become more aware of myself and the surroundings around me (paying attention). And by paying more attention, I fall in love with life more.
Author Rob Walker wrote in his newsletter, “[O]ne of my favorite responses to a willfully open-ended prompt I give my students — I order them to “practice paying attention” — came from a student who thought he did it wrong. He had made a planter, he explained, for a cactus. He’d done this, he said, on the theory that “by nurturing or caring for something, you pay more attention to it.” And of course he was right!”
I even applied this in my studies. I wasn’t a bit interested in Plumbing before, but I was reminded of Rob Walker’s words and so around last year, on our 3rd class meeting in Plumbing for the semester, I started paying attention. I listened attentively to our professor and taking notes diligently. I even replay class recordings when I missed something. Thankfully, even if I did not paid attention during the previous meetings, I can still understand the lessons that came. Soon enough, I found myself interested in plumbing and understanding the basic principles. I even made a post about it.
In short, the more I pay attention to myself, to the people, and the world around me, the more I love life.
An act of care first, then the love comes.