I don’t know what I want.
I kind of know what I want – I have a 10-year vision written down and it sounds nice. I want to be healthy, for my kids to be healthy, for everyone I love to be healthy, for everyone on earth to be healthy. To walk outside and feel the sunshine and the breeze, to breathe clean air, to drink clean water. To sit by the ocean and hear the waves and smell the salt air. For there not to be tons of plastic microbeads in the ocean being eaten by fish being eaten by me.
I’d like to be more patient. I’d like to exercise – but not in a gym because I cannot stand the smell or the feel or the screens or the machines. I’d like to have a comfortable sofa to sit on with a friend.
So, in the broader sense I know what I want, or I have an idea of a life arrangement that I imagine would be very nice.
I have a pretty nice life arrangement as it is – maybe that is why it is hard to be clear about what I want. Because, in truth, I don’t really want for anything. I have a sofa. It is hideously uncomfortable. But I have friends who are very kind and will just use extra pillows and seem to like me enough to deal with the lack of seating and still want to come be with me. I think that’s pretty lucky.
I am lucky enough to have all of the essentials. I can afford healthy food, security, shelter. I have loving relationships and good physical health.
So what is this feeling in my chest? Why, this morning, when my kids were sitting at the breakfast table, bright, shining, bursting with life and happiness, did I command silence and that they quickly finish their food because we might be five minutes late for summer camp? Why didn’t I wrap them in my arms, hold their joyfulness close to me, let it fill all the cracks, kiss them, put on their backpacks, walk peacefully to the car and deliver them to camp – to camp – possibly a few minutes late.
My husband asked me why I wanted to start a (nother) blog. He wasn’t being unsupportive, just trying to help me think about what I should spend my time doing. In the past 15 months, I have taken a musical theatre class, worked on a novel, intermittently blogged on another blog, started songwriting lessons, written essays that I want to try to get published but have not submitted, written ‘children’s’ stories that are not age appropriate, read tons of non-fiction, been addicted to ipad games, played my guitar and piano sporadically, bought a (still unused) ukulele, quit and rejoined Facebook, read way more news than in the previous 10 years combined. (I have also taken on a reasonable amount of contract work, primarily copy editing technical documents related to ‘sustainable development,’ and started selling beauty products).
I told my husband I was starting the blog because I would enjoy it — for fun. (I think I am remembering correctly.) I like to write, I like to read what I wrote last week. I like to come up with “programs” for myself and try them out and report on the results. So I think that originally the way I convinced myself to get started with this blog was that it would be enjoyable.
But in addition to that, I will tell you this. After my first several posts on this blog were published I felt some relief. Because there is a need inside me to make sure, if I die tomorrow, that there is a letter somewhere telling my kids who I am, what I love, what I think matters, some advice that they probably won’t take now but might value later. There have been two days in my life when I’ve actually sat down and started writing this letter to them (both nights before setting out to do something I was scared of doing). But after I started writing this blog, I felt better. I felt like some of what was inside was now written down somewhere that they could find it. And that is a comfort to me.
But where does that need come from? Surely if I am living my values, living in a way that shows what I love, what matters, they can just read my life and know what I would tell them. Yes, precisely, which is why I need it written down somewhere, because I have not yet figured out how to arrange the clues of my lived life to truly demonstrate what matters most.
Another thing: When I started my last blog, I posted a video of myself singing a song I had written. A friend of mine, later that week, sent me a recording of herself that she had just made, singing a song she had written 15 years ago. She thanked me for inspiring her to just sit down, in her den, and record it. Another friend wrote that she had started working on a song of her own.
Google’s Larry Page has said that Alphabet is looking to work on ‘billion people problems’ – how to build solutions, like self-driving cars, that can help a billion people. I guess I work on one person problems.
I made a star chart for myself and my husband (I promise I will explain more on this). It was really good for me, and he was a good sport. It improved our life or our feelings about our life. I shared it with a few friends. Some of them really enjoyed it and it improved their lives (or their feelings about their life).
So, in addition to wanting to write things down so they exist somewhere, I also think that sometimes I have ideas that are interesting and helpful to other people. I don’t exactly know what I might share that is helpful, so I err on the side of sharing more than less. I don’t know if this is the right approach, I guess I’m experimenting.
So, my faithful readers, this is all to say that I’m working it out. Am I writing to eventually have a book of different “challenges”? I definitely have a lot of challenges for myself that I think it would be fun to take, and share. Am I writing to build a platform for my ideas? Am I writing so someday someone asks me to speak about something? Am I writing to help others? Am I writing to figure myself out? Am I writing to practice? Am I writing to have fun? Am I writing to laugh or to help others laugh?
I don’t know.
And so it gets tricky. I write. I share. I think of each of you who has subscribed. Am I going to offend anyone I love? Are you going to lose faith in me? Am I going to be able to be authentic, am I going to lapse into someone else’s voice?
My other blog was easier because I didn’t share on Facebook and I’m pretty sure I only had one ‘regular’ reader. So I didn’t have all of this conflict when thinking about what to write – I just wrote – but then I didn’t have the energy that comes from knowing that people are reading.
I love the Happy Atmosphere Challenge. I have, for the most part, not gotten started implementing. But I loved writing it, thinking about, and I learned a lot about myself which I had meant to share in my next post which instead has turned into this. But having written it I am afraid that you won’t like it, that it is depressing, that it is not perfect, that it is not what you care about, that it won’t help.
So I get stuck. I have to decide what I’m doing. I also have to have some time to think. I also need to get an ergonomically appropriate writing situation. I also need to exercise. But there will be quests and challenges soon to help with these things. I have not played ipad games since starting the blog, and that alone is a victory over my chemicals.
Have a beautiful day. I hope you feel some sun and some wind on your face today. I will.