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viewpoint

Have a story-worthy week

| Tuesday, February 24, 2015

For anyone who is an avid (or passing) listener of the podcast “The Moth,” this is the closing line. For those who are not avid (or passing) listeners of the podcast “The Moth,” the basic premise is a collection of stories told by ordinary (or sometimes famous) people about moments in their lives, at an open mic or planned event. This line really struck me as I was sitting behind my desk at my internship, working through piles of pamphlets and loose-leaf papers that no one had ever thought to organize. What exactly does it mean to have a story-worthy week? Can you have a story-worthy day? Or hour?

I have been in London for six weeks. I have completed my walk from Conway Hall to the university building Fischer Hall at least 50 times now, and by the end of this semester, the count will be in the hundreds. I have ridden the Tube, taken the bus and wandered around on foot. I have been to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Liverpool Street Station and Craven Cottage. I have traveled to Oxford; I have been to see my Aunt in Wandsworth for her birthday. I wandered around Hyde Park, and stood in front of the Peter Pan statue and thought about what it means to grow old (a little deep, but blame it on the PLS in me).

I’ve been to Hampton Court, wandering around in a bright pink cape, and standing for a moment in the pouring rain in gardens that Queen Victoria used to walk. I’ve stayed up late, sitting with friends, eating copious amounts of Digestives, dancing to Walk the Moon’s new album and finally understanding why people want to stay “Forever Young.”

All of those have been wonderful, exciting and really enjoyable experiences, but none of them have been really “story-worthy.”

It’s not that I don’t realize how incredibly lucky I am. Listing off those things just reminds me about how I should really thank my lucky stars that I go to a university like Notre Dame that allows me to be able to have experiences like this. It reminds me that I should thank my parents for allowing me to go all the way to London (although they might be regretting that decision). I should be incredibly grateful for every experience that I have.

But a lot of these moments are not ones that I would write home about. They make me happy. I hope they make the other people involved happy. But a story about me nearly running into a pigeon on a street corner while my friends Liz and Sarah laughed themselves silly is only really interesting to me and to them.

I like the idea of “The Moth,” because a lot of the stories are about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I like to hear other people’s stories, more than I like to hear my own. I think I started to write Viewpoints because I wanted to get my voice heard. But I also think I started writing a Viewpoint because I like the idea that it gives everyone an opportunity to see a lot of different people’s worlds. Notre Dame would be so uninteresting if we all just had the same thoughts, had the same experiences. That is why “The Moth” works so well, because no two people will ever tell the same story.

So, I suppose that’s what I’m trying to get at. A lot of the time my Viewpoints aren’t incredibly boundary breaking. Some might be funny. Some might be poignant. Some people might not like them. But hopefully, every single one of them will be something that for the few minutes that you spend reading the school newspaper, they will be a few minutes that you thought weren’t wasted. Maybe it will even make you think about an amazing story you have and want to share. Because a story-worthy moment doesn’t have to be about saving the world, or finding the cure to cancer or even meeting someone famous. A story-worthy moment can be something that makes you stop and think for just a split-second. Something as simple as a smile on a really rough day, just enough for you to remember and tell other people later on.

So here is to some “story-worthy” moments.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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