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Space exploration

by practicewithdanielle

When I was 11, I experienced my first meteor shower. In the middle of northern Wisconsin, back when light pollution didn’t quite reach the loneliest parts of the state, I laid on a dock over a quiet lake. Hundreds of shooting stars flashed above my eyes.

As a kid, it’s easy to understand space. To grasp the concept that there are things we can’t yet explain. Because we’re kids. Everything is still new to us.

Through the excitement of the flashing lights, I knew that our world was bigger than it seemed. Anything was possible.
Just starting middle school, I didn’t quite understand the concept of self-awareness. (see: wardrobe). But deep down this experience set off a trigger that would follow me into adulthood.

I’ve always been fascinated by space. Rather than take this as a hint to study math and science, this showed up in my adult life by watching Contact and getting surprise birthday trips to the planetarium.

It’s easy to forget my 11-year-old excitement at the ripe old age of 31 (half kidding). Who has time to think about the infinite beyond when there are bills to pay, appointments to schedule and posts to like on Instagram?

How small my world has become.

This smallness is comforting, it wraps me in sameness that I can rely on time and time again. It’s like watching a movie over and over – we know every single word yet we keep turning it on. I watched Mean Girls nearly every day in the first semester of Freshman year. Only now do I realize I was using my dorm room as a refuge from all the things that felt terrifyingly new.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things that make our worlds feel manageable. The obsessive need to over-schedule our days and busy ourselves with things that feel safe and easy to conquer.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling safe. Or having routine. Every now and then we need to expand our range of what is possible.

I want what is just beyond my purview.

So I force myself to make my world bigger.

Some days it’s a tiptoe into newness. It looks like walking down a different street in my neighborhood. Other days it’s easy to dive in head first like jumping off a cliff strapped to a stranger in Nepal.

This weekend I dragged boyfriend out of bed to drive into the plains to watch the Perseid Meteor shower.

It was so easy to say fuck it let’s not and just go to sleep. But I needed that reminder.

Our worlds are always bigger than they seem.

Right now my world feels small. Even though big things are happening around me, they’ve triggered a need to pull back inside myself and hide behind the familiar.

So I tiptoe my way into newness until it feels easy to dive in head first.


PS. I received emails from you after broaching the money topic. I can’t wait to say more on this. Being honest, it’s hard to write about. Every time I put something on paper, I question my perspectives based on my background and current privilege. I hate sounding obtuse so if it takes me a minute, know that this is a hard topic for me too.

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