It’s been a while.
Let me catch you up.
Sometime on Day 240-something I was discussing this blog project with a friend. He commented, rightly so, that the project seemed to be less about documenting all the new things I purposefully made myself do, and more a record of new things I happened to do. This sent me into a bit of a project-crisis–was I failing my mission? Was I failing the project? Was I being a coward? Maybe I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. Ohdearohdearohdear………
I decided to hold off for a bit and think about what my goals were and are. For about forty days and forty nights I wrote a lot, thought a lot, and generally wandered through some metaphorical wilderness. Once I also wandered through some literal wilderness, but that was due to a misunderstanding.
I wanted to try new things everyday because the way I was living my life wasn’t working for me. I kept doing the same thing, thinking the same thing, reading the same things, being afraid or envious or unhappy about the same things. And it didn’t make me happy. I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, so I decided to Do All the New Things. I expected that this would involve a lot of piercings and hair-dyeing and maybe being airborne.
This decision had an unexpected consequence. In retrospect, I would call this year, An Unexpected Journey (shout out to you, J.R.R.). When I decided that I could try new things, I started making small split second decisions to do small things differently. For example, I hate confronting people. It makes me queasy and shaky and question my intellectual capacity. So I rarely do it. But during the past 288 days, I have suddenly chosen to confront people on issues that need confronting. It’s been a split second decision in most cases. I am also uncomfortable being genuine with people. I don’t like being that vulnerable. But for 288 days I have chosen honesty over hiding in tiny, split second decisions.
And everything has changed.
I feel hopeful in a way I have never felt hopeful. Not naively hopeful, not hopeful because I don’t think anything bad will ever happen, but hopeful about my ability to face whatever mysterious monsters are in my future. I feel happier in a way I don’t remember being happy since I was a small child. Not happy because I am never sad, but happy because I’m less ruled by fear. I still sometimes retreat to the Shame-Doom silo but I can draw on the walls and I usually remember where the key is. Because…I can do something different. I can do new things.
So yes, I have and am failing my original conception of the project. I haven’t parachuted out of a plane, or shaved my head. But I think if I had done those things out of a sense of fear and failure, I would have failed the real purpose the project. I didn’t want to change who I was as a person, I wanted to be more of who am. And I really don’t want to shave my head, I hate heights–but I want to be willing to try things that I really want to do and stop doing things that make me unhappy.
So…I think my new act of the last forty days and nights was letting go of old projects. I started writing a thousand words a day, five days a week, then revising one of the pieces over the weekend, rather than continually browbeating the same essay I had been browbeating for 2 months. I let go of some old ideas about work and careers and what makes me valuable. And I let go of my old idea about this blog, that it would be full of crazy highjinks that made me cool. Instead, it’s become a somewhat weird instrospective highly personal document on figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. I hadn’t really faced that or written as honestly about that as I might. It is probably not the most exciting things for someone else to read, but it’s been an interesting ride to take.
I also came up with a new blog project. To be started after this one is concluded. I had a flicker of the idea about a year and a half ago, but I shut it down because it was too new and different than my regular groove. But I think it will work for me now.