Something I notice about myself: I will get obsessed with wanting something and wanting it to be a certain way. It will be this thing or nothing else!! Then I’ll work myself into such a tizzy. I’ll just exhaust myself with thoughts like, I only have one chance!!! Don’t blow it this time! If this doesn’t work, my life will be over! In the aftermath of exhausting myself, I will become calm, lift my head and look around and realize that I have, like, 3 or 4 more options.
The very high criteria I set for myself is actually pretty changeable. There’s more flexibility than I allow myself in the beginning. Do I really need this? Nah, I could do without THAT, but I really need THIS. So then I go back to the drawing board and come up with some new ideas.
While I could do without exhausting myself, I’m starting to see that this is the way I do things. The decision to do something is most often what pries the door open. After the door slams in my face, I’m strangely re-energized. I think, Ok, gotta keep moving. Keep looking, keep searching, keep going. The rejection, if harnessed correctly, can even create momentum.
This has been a hard thing to realize. I am such a planner. I like to make long lists and envision things in the hopes that it will make my work easier in the long run. Ha ha. Talk about a lot of wasted time researching nothing. Well, some research is helpful, but then at some point it’s not. At some point, research is sitting on your hands thinking you’re doing something but really you’re doing nothing.I use it as a form of self-protection, so I don’t have to deal with any rejection. But get out there. Start walking. Start calling and knocking on doors. Start using your hands and doing.
A conversation I’ve had with more than one friend is how in this modern world we have too many options and that it can feel overwhelming. A way of managing this is to stop thinking about it so much and just go do it. Just pick something and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, or if it does work out but you don’t want it, then you can at least eliminate that as an option. At least you’re on the path and making some progress instead of thinking about it. But too many options is just an excuse. The real fear is of making the wrong choice, of making a big mistake that will embarrass you in front of others.
But the best creative things always seem to be teetering towards failure. It could be beautiful or it could be a giant mess. The joy of creativity is watching someone pull it off. There is no way to predict the outcome either–you really don’t know until you do it. The best life seems to have had great risks within it. Not…stupid risks like drunk driving, but risks that test your opinions and how you think about the world. That challenge you out of your comfort zone.
My friend Juliana sent me this essay that I really liked:
It is about how sexism and racism is hard to prove even when it exists. The author also writes about how people may want to make changes within an organization of, say, anti-racism, but the policies might not even go into effect because of all the work it requires. People say they will do something, and then it is all lip service. Nothing happens. I really do believe people have the best intentions, but we get uncomfortable and afraid and stop before any real change can happen.
My friend Natalya sent me this:
I loved this because in general I hate parenting books. Even if the advice is sound, I hate them because they are usually wrapped around this kind of edict that we are doing it wrong, all wrong. I feel chewed out when I read parenting books that recently I just decided, no more, no more, no more. This article is what the best parenting advice should be. It should be wise, it should be kind. It should give you hope and lift you up, not rub you like a stub into the ground. It should give you some big overall feelings of guidance but not micromanage you into submission. It should be big and generous and understand that one-size-fits-all parenting is a LIE. I loved the metaphor of growing a garden, of letting each child be who they are and cultivating them to be the best possible them. That the variety of people out here in the world is a gift. We don’t all have to be the same. The article is infused with so much love and compassion towards the parents and children. This is what we should be hearing more. Enough of the haranguing, parenting books. Enough.