Story Sustainability


I had an enlightening conversation with a friend last week. It was with a friend whom I can count on to keep me honest and never talk about the weather. We don't talk often, but when we do it's about stuff that matters. In the course of the conversation he said, "you know Amber, if 7 billion people took your advice, Hawaii would sink into the ocean, all economic work would cease, and the world infrastructure would collapse in on itself." Which made me laugh hard enough to spit on my phone. He had a fair point. I never claimed to be a sustainability expert.

I chewed on this for quite a while. What are the ramifications of this fluffy ideology I'm spouting? This "live the better story" mantra is serving me well, but are the ripples relevant out of the little pond I'm swimming in?

Here's the part I got clear on; we ARE all a part of a story. I have no idea what yours is made of. If you're reading this, my guess is that we swim in the same pond. Which is to say, the analogies and metaphors I concoct likely relate to you because we have more similarities than differences in upbringing, social strata, and opportunity.

I wasn't born with a proverbial silver spoon in my mouth, nor am I a trust fund baby. But I am privileged beyond belief on a world scale. I get to do obnoxious things like "find myself" and skip off to see how island life suits me. I am so thankful. I kind of want to grab a megaphone once a day or so and yell to the mainland that I DO know how lucky I am and I won't do anyone the disservice of taking it for granted.

So, I mean, I do consider myself suuuuuuuper #blessed ya'll. But I'm uncomfortably suspicious. Suspicious that I sound like a real, live asshat when I write. Suspicious that my words are only heard by people who look a lot like me. Suspicious that I'm just contributing to some group hug we're all having about our first world struggles. These suspicions are largely founded in cold, hard fact. But what if I was on a bigger soapbox? One with a megaphone that could be heard outside my cozy gated community where people are irritated with the autocorrect on their iPhone and wondering if they should see about going gluten free. Would I sing a different tune? No. Ladies and gentleman, I would not.

In my everyday life, I spend more time asking people what their story is than spouting rainbow colored hippie fortune cookie haikus. And I've learned that when I ask people what their story is, I'm putting a new frame around an old question. And if I commit to holding space for them to tell their story, they start reorganizing their thoughts to align with the idea that they're doing something worth talking about and being heard. Everyone has choices to make. Their options may be limited. They may not be glamorous. But good stories are in the telling. And I truly believe that the ability to be actively engaged and interested in the life you're living is an accessible concept. So I will carry on. Long live the better story.

Oh, and if you're tired of hearing my analogies surrounding our lives as a story, I have two things to say. The first is, I totally get it. The second is, I absolutely do not care. Much love. Thanks for reading.

Amber GruberComment