Stranger 50, Day 50 – Meet Danielle, the “Balance Seeker”

Stranger 50, Day 50 - Meet Danielle

I met today’s Stranger a couple days ago briefly. So just as I said in my Rules of Engagement, she’s fair game. 🙂

Today’s Stranger was pretty fascinating to me in many ways in what she shared with me, how she shared with me, and generally how much of our talk resonated highly with me. So much so that I almost gave her homework to check out a few readings because I felt they’d be so great for her. I promise I don’t do this often, but I think she’ll appreciate, too, because of her grander dream.

Before I leak all the details of our meeting, I’ll let you get to know her.

Meet Danielle, 27

Who are you?

“I am a 27-year-old Libra… and a teacher… and a dog mother…” she says this slowly, and laughs.

“I am searching for balance and happiness.”

At first, I thought she said “pants” rather than “happiness”. I had to get clarification, but at the moment, it sounded weird but made sense as it was slightly cooler outside where we were talking, and she was wearing a dress. We laughed about it.

When you say you’re searching for balance, what is that?

“Balance with… like everything. Balance of alone time, with time with friends, with family, to develop new skills to…,” she sighs. “I don’t know.” She thinks some more.

“Balance feeling complete, I guess. The only way I feel complete is when I have my hands in many things, not just all in one. So spiritually, emotionally, physically…”

Why are you searching for it right now?

“I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. I think I’m always going to want to be better at it. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it so far.”

I propose a philosophical question to this because if she’s reached balance, wouldn’t she not be looking for it anymore? Wouldn’t she be satisfied? To that, she responds, “Yeah, but at the same time, you can actually create more things to like say, ‘I’m really good at balancing my work and home life. Well, what if I want to be good at my work, home life, and fitness life’? Or what if I want to be good at the work, home, fitness, charity… or work, home, business, travel… you can always broaden that scale.” That made sense as she continued to add.

How do you think you’re going to continue to broaden that, but find balance and putting enough effort to each one of those facets? … so that you can actually make a difference?

“I think with this whole trying to find balance, I’m going to figure out what I feel is most important, and so when you say, ‘you’re probably going to reach a point where you are balanced’, that’s probably when I’ll know what I’m truly passionate about. And I’ll explore that more. I’m still figuring out who I am and what I care about, so I think that mirrors this balancing act that I’m creating.”

Thinking about you’re trying to find what you’re passionate about, I’m sure you have passions. So what are they?

“My passions are writing, I think helping others find their inner truths, exploring mine… I’m passionate about, obviously, children, and helping them figure out what their dreams are because I figured out mine a little late.”

How do you measure success for yourself?

“I think I measure success when I no longer feel like I’m working. I think I’ll feel success when I feel… peace. I don’t measure it on money. I don’t measure it on the things I have.”

“I think it’s success when I have things to write about, and I think success for me is having a muse and having… At the end of the day, I want to be a writer. So I think that my success is going to be completely linked to the experiences I have and to write about.”

I was glad she shared her dream to be a writer.

So far of what you’ve written, can you tell me about the most powerful writing that you’ve done?

“So what I’m writing right now, actually.”

“I really like poetry. It’s what comes naturally to me, but I wanted to challenge myself a little bit. My dad passed away 5 years ago, and he left quite… a… mark… on me… in my life.” She says this with the conscious pauses as she thinks. I can see in her eyes and the way she speaks how important this piece is as well as the difficulty and potentially transformative this writing can be, especially for herself.

“And I haven’t been really able to face it until recently, until I took on a project to write a non-fiction novel in his point-of-view. So I’m writing it as my father. It’s hard, and it brings up all sorts of emotions. But it’s therapeutic, and it’s moving, and I hope that it helps others understand addiction and depression. So yeah… it’s probably my toughest work.”

… and most rewarding.

Perhaps because of my talks with other Strangers, her father passing away, and her being a writer, I wanted to know… How would you write your obituary?

“Can I say it in Sonnet form?” she laughs. “No, I don’t know…”

“I would want it to say that my life was based on interactions with others rather than anything else, I hope that I inspired people. I hope that they see how moved I am by them. I get really emotionally invested in people, and I feel like they see that and recognize that. I hope that’s acknowledged. I hope that they see that my heart will always stay young,” Danielle laughs and holds up two crossed fingers.

“…and full of life. I don’t know how I would write it. Rather than how it’s written, I think it’s more important what’s touched on.” That’s what I meant… not as a format or structure. We laugh about this, too.

She admits she doesn’t like talking about herself even pointing out that her hands were little sweaty.

What kind of an impression do you want everyone to have of you after you first meet them?

“Happy.”

Is there a common misperception people have about you when they first meet you?

“Probably. I think I quite a bit of indecisiveness that probably turns into, or can be seen as, flakiness or like two-faced just because I can see each person’s side. I can understand why certain people do things. Flaky and indecisive.” Danielle laughs again at this.

If there’s something you could’ve changed yesterday, what would it be? (Thanks to Sara, Stranger 49)

“I wish I spent more time with my mom when I saw her. I wish I touched her more — gave her a hug. I’m very ‘arms-length’ with her, and she probably needs a hug just as much as anyone else.”

How are you going to make amends on that?

“I’m trying to figure that out everyday!” Danielle laughs again.

“I don’t know. Just… having more empathy for her feelings, and trying to make more time for her.” She thinks for a little while. “I don’t know. Good question!” Again, she laughs.

What is a question you’d like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“I always like try to figure out what happened… my questions are… all the questions I ask can’t be answered!” Danielle thinks, but I press her for one of them.

“I would probably say, ‘how do you feel you’re able to fulfill your soul?’ Like, what is your soul aching for?”

After the handshake.

As I described different poses Strangers have taken, I mentioned yesterday’s Stranger, Sara, using a soccer ball. Danielle immediately asked me if it was Sara XX. I was a little shocked that it was. Apparently, the two are best friends. I want to point out that despite meeting Danielle at Starbucks, Sara is not at Starbucks often. So sure, the world isn’t that small within the context of my project, but to have two best friends interviewed back-to-back is a funny coincidence.

I mention how these seemingly “random” events are actually sometimes the most obvious. And it’s true. Once your run into great people in a community, you’re bound to find common ties throughout. That’s the beauty of this project and talking to Strangers. You end up meeting people are aren’t Strangers at all. Perhaps fitting then that I recall a quote from an Irish poet, William Butler Yeates, who said…

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”

I enjoyed getting to know Danielle very much. She’s someone looking to continually adapt and expand who she is. She shared so much that resonated with that I had to share with her a few readings (a couple I’ve mentioned to other Strangers) including:

Meet Danielle. No longer a Stranger.

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