Smith: Itchy bug bites and a plan

Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith encourages others to be present with each other and center the conversation on motivation to do great things.

Sage Smith

Four hours later, I was covered in mosquito bites, but my list of ideas outnumbered the itchy spots.

A good friend and mentor of mine had a birthday this weekend, so I went to “socially distance” visit him. We sat in his backyard, enjoyed cake and ice cream and talked about all aspects of life, including finances, middle school drama and what it’s like to be in love.

For the majority of the four hours, I kept my phone face down. It’s not often we get to close off from the constant notifications, but I try to prioritize being present with people when I’m with them. The conversation is much more engaging when the participants aren’t glued to their screens.

Not only did I very much enjoy the talks we had, but it also got me excited about my future in journalism. As editor-in-chief, it can be a bit more difficult to keep reporting. However, I’m determined to continue reporting and do it well.

That friend and wise mentor said something along the lines of, “Well, what do you want to write about?” I knew that answer and explained my thoughts, and there we had it: an idea for a series of articles. My brain was moving a mile a minute, adding topics I’m passionate about to the mental list of what to write.

I won’t reveal what this series is quite yet because of intellectual property, of course. I need to develop the details and keep the idea to myself so it can be as unique as possible.

I will tell you that I am so thrilled about it. This is exactly what I need: something to inspire me and to light a fire underneath me to do great things. And I promise, the series is not COVID-19 focused.

A big part of this column right here, though, is to remind everyone to keep discussing what they are crazy passionate about. I think we are conditioned to not talk about ourselves, our interests, our hopes, dreams, fears and beyond. Why? Great plans, projects and new thoughts can be the result of proposing a conversation topic that you are passionate about.

It also helps to disconnect from those devices that I think give us more anxiety and stress than joy and a “sense of togetherness.” Instead, just be together in real life, real time.

We can also be the one to encourage others to bring up their passions to potentially discover new paths. It’s literally my friend and mentor’s job to help others execute their ideas and to find what the idea even is in the first place.

As someone who is naturally empathetic, I soak up the feelings of those around me. So when I do have these fun and productive conversations, it’s a win-win situation. We both get hopeful for what’s next in life.

In general, we all should be more motivated to motivate others. It can lead to a world of possibilities and is a lovely way to get to know someone better and to strengthen the bond you have with them. Involving cake, ice cream and birthday gifts is just a plus.