Raise your hand if you go all doe-eyed and goose-bumpy thinking about ideas like intentionality and mindfulness.
OK, now raise your hand if your reality looks more like accidental and distracted and, well, Netflix.
Yeah, me too.
I just don’t do quiet and still and present and focused terribly well. I’m relatively organized—a plan-aheader—but that’s not the same as doing things on purpose. Also? Planning to do something is way different from doing it.
In all fairness, I’ve accomplished some things this year… checked plenty off my to-do list. But I’m not talking about goals: hiking Half Dome or increasing my income by X% or finally deep-cleaning my master bathroom. I’m talking about the transformational stuff, and that feels tougher. Being mindful. Being focused. Being present.
Am I making any sense at all, here?
I often find myself thinking, “I wish I were the type of person who… and then I sigh deeply and immediately do something pretty much the opposite of what that type of person would do.
Why do I do that?
I hate to admit it, but I think it’s probably because Default isn’t as much damn work.
- I want to be a clean eater, but grabbing breakfast at McD’s feels easier than peeling and slicing and cracking and seasoning and dishes-ing.
- I want to be strong and lean, but scrolling Instagram when my alarm goes off seems easier than practicing yoga.
- I want to be a writer (like, an actual one), but dealing with my email in-box while I drink my coffee feels easier than outlining and researching.
- I want to care well for our earth, but giving in to single-use plastics seems easier than, say, trying to figure out composting and remembering to grab my freaking reusable bags before I head to the store.
I’ll be 50 next year, and I have to get myself together.
This week, I spent some time in Alabama at a working retreat thing, and on Monday morning, we gathered in a big room and learned how to write a personal mission statement.
Now, if you just rolled your eyes, it’s no surprise we’re friends. Until Monday, I also thought that sort of thing was dumb. Really dumb. I wouldn’t have chosen that workshop ever—not even if the only other option was Let’s Play Dress-Up with Tarantulas. But it wasn’t a choice. It was the workshop on the agenda.
And it was decidedly not dumb.
I may share my whole mission statement at some point—but as you might guess, the phrase “I write” shows up in there. And so this morning, I pushed past Default, and I wrote. I fed my dog, made coffee, and wrote. No Instagram. No email. No Slack. OK, a tiny bit of Slack, but the point is I wrote.
And I’ll do it again tomorrow.