I dreamt last night that I was at the airport with my dad. We were waiting at the gate to board our return flight home. Nothing unusual. There were not too many people, nor too few, not too much noise. Actually, nothing was going on, at all. And even though a break can seem harmless, this seemed to lull us into a state of apathy. As if anything could happen in the world, and we wouldn’t care. Even though I was dreaming, it felt like I would fall into a second sleep beyond the first.
But then, something happened. Actually, someone happened to show up at the gate. My dad saw him and responded as though he had seen any other person. But I saw him and felt like I had been snapped with a rubber band. The round glasses, the high forehead, a shuffled dark blond haircut? This was New York Time’s bestselling author and PBS digital studio host John Green! The older half of the vlogbrothers and one of the original Nerdfighters!
If you couldn’t tell, I am a fan of John Green. Not a fangirl fan, but an “I hope to become as creatively humble and humbly creative as you” kind of fan. So, I went over and struck up a conversation with him. My apathy had been blown out of the gate, and in came new excitement. I don’t remember what we talked about. But we talked for what felt like a half-hour and seemed to both enjoy the conversation. And when we eventually boarded the plane and parted ways, I felt like a new person. Not primarily because of what had been said. But because I had been in the presence of someone who didn’t care who you were and at the same time valued who you were, someone who didn’t show off, but who simply pointed to all the great things that could be. In that conversation at an airport gate, there had been a connection that was so inspiring that it impacted me in real life. Even after I woke up.
But why is a random dream like this significant? Why may a dream be significant in your life? Because dreams shape how you think, and how you think shapes what you do. And what you do shapes how you live. I’m not so naive to think that you can just dream your way out of things. But sometimes, a change of mindset can go a long way.
And another thing got me thinking: The focus of the conversation wasn’t on what had been said, but who I was with. I still think that the content of a conversation is important. But it’s only part of the equation. People are not just inspired by what you say, but who you are. How you treat others, how you clean up your dishes, how you hold open the door for an unknown homeless person. Even when you’re not talking with words, everything you do is still “talking”. For me, I want to be the kind of person that is genuine in every word and action and gesture I give out. No matter if I think someone is watching or not. That kind of humble boldness to be a genuinely creative and kind person is where I want to be. And I don’t want to wait for some “big” thing to happen before I am this way. Whether I have no subscribers and readers or millions of subscribers and readers, I want to have that genuine approach to life each day. I guess that my fictional meeting with John Green only reminded me to be mindful of what I want to become.
So, thank you, John Green. And whoever is reading this: Don’t let apathy or boredom lull you into a second sleep. Let people inspire you to what you can become and what you can start being, even right now. You’re a person worth being around, so are people around you. I hope you can find a place where you are “genuine” and where your life “genuinely” has a good impact. Don’t forget to be awesome, and have a great day!