Calvin ~ The Value Project // Hillsborough, NC

“Roald Dahl said something along the lines of, ‘You could be the ugliest person in the world, but if you have happy thoughts, they’ll shine out of your face like sunbeams.’ So, I think that a long as you’re generally happy, then you can be a beautiful person.”

calvin2Calvin was one of the first friends that I made after starting at Cup-A-Joe. He would always have some wild fact to share about some subject that I knew nothing about. I always had a fun time listening to his perspective on life and the things going on around us. As it turns out, we share a love for the peaceful quiet that being in the woods can bring, so we headed out there for his Value Project segment. We wandered around for a bit, trying to locate one of Calvin’s favorite places near the Eno. We didn’t end up finding that specific spot, but after walking for almost an hour, we decided that a comfy-looking log on the side of the trail would do just fine. Birds calling, the buzz of insects, the subtle whisper of leaves and branches created a peaceful accompaniment to our conversation. Robert Louis Stevenson painted an accurate picture when he said, “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” 

“I’ve always really wanted to travel. Raleigh’s not really that far away. That’s where I’ll be going to school. In the future, I’d love to see different parts of the world. I’ve been in Hillsborough my whole life. It’s a really awesome town and I’ve enjoyed staying here, but I’m intrigued by variety, so it would be nice to get to see other places as well. To see what else is out there. I’m studying Biology, the study of life and I think that’s a very important field. I find it really interesting and critical to the advancement to the human race. I guess that’s why I decided to study it. Whatever I end up doing, I hope people are better off because of it. I want to make sure that in the end, I’ve given something back to the world. I don’t want to be a negative impact. If at the end of my whole life, I’ve contributed something, that I can do something good for everyone else, I’ll be happy. I don’t think it has to be just one thing. It’s more of an overall sum total…”

calvin1 calvin3“The idea of personal value is something that I’ve struggled with. I think everyone has an intrinsic value. Whether or not they choose to cultivate the better part of that is up to them, I suppose. There is something of value in everyone and it’s important to recognize in yourself… I think that’s really healthy, but it can be difficult to do sometimes. I try to find something interesting about everything. I’d say that’s one of the most important things to me in terms of approaching my everyday life. I try not to dwell on the negative and to find something interesting about every situation. Not necessarily positive, but interesting. I don’t always succeed, but I try. I think it’s important to not let the little things get you down. Once again, I say that, but I’m not always successful in implementing that. Its important and I want to try to do that more.”

“Do I see myself as valuable? That’s a hard question… Not all the time. I would even venture to say not even most of the time. I don’t always feel that I have lived up to the standards that I set for myself, I guess and having that discrepancy between who I want to be and who I feel like I am can be very difficult to deal with. I have to find solace in other aspects of life, like music or coming out here (to the woods) and walking or hanging out with a good friend. Those kinds of things help you remember the value that you place in others and you kind of have to have faith that those people put value in the interaction that they’re having with you. Companionship is a really important part of life and as social animals we really need interaction with others in order to be mentally healthy. In sharing something, there’s a sense of equality. When a person takes an interest in the things that are important to me, that translates that I am important to them. That’s what makes me feel valued.”

“There’s a peacefulness in creating things like music and art, that’s very meditative. I think both social interactions and artistic expression are ways to develop a sense of self, which in turns develops a sense of self value. I tend to be an escapist. I like to get out of my everyday routine and experience something new. If I can’t physically do that, I use music, movies, books to get out of my own head space, my own life really. I’m just looking for something… Bigger.”calvin6calvin5