There are things that I know.
For example, I know that if I get up and spend 10-20 minutes journaling, I’ll have a better day. I’ll feel happier all day. My thoughts will be clearer. I’ll get more done.
Yet I often don’t do this. In fact, I’ll go months without doing it.
I have these notebooks that I like to write in. They’re nothing special at all, just regular lined notebooks. I like to write longhand, and I have one or two pens that just glide over the page and it all feels so good. I just let my brain go wherever it wants. I don’t edit. I don’t judge what I’m writing. I just move forward. Empty my brain. Fill the pages.
Well, this morning I couldn’t find my notebook. I think the current one is yellow. It’s actually from a few years ago. I lost it back then so I started a new one. Then I found it when we were moving and started using it again.
This happens a lot. These notebooks, into which I pour so many intimate thoughts … I lose them all the time. I do a terrible job of keeping track of them.
That’s not intentional. I mean to know where there are, I just lose them anyway. And sometimes they drift back to me when I least expect it, like a flip flop that the tide ate and then regurgitated months later.
The good news is that I write like such an incredible slob in these things that they’re probably nearly illegible to anyone but me.
Today I was thinking not about what I write in these, but how I write in them.
I took a finance class many years ago. One of the things that really stuck with me was this concept: how you manage money is probably how you manage everything.
I think that’s true. Because I manage money like this: I have several very-organized spreadsheets that detail what’s going out and what’s coming in. I use Mint.com to categorize my spending and track my budgets. At times, I can tell you to the dollar how much money I have in my account, and how much I will have after I pay all my bills.
And then there are times when I let it all go to shit. Those times are usually when:
- I’m not making enough money and I don’t want to look
- I’m making plenty of money so I don’t feel like I need to look
That is, indeed, how I handle everything. I handle things with massive attention for a while, and then I just stop.
As you can imagine, this makes for uneven progress in life. When I’m focused, I can get so much done. I can be a machine. I get impressed with myself. I make significant strides. Then I power down and … pffft.
My whole life is like a car lurching forward. I hit the gas and ease off … hit the gas and ease off.
When will I learn to apply even pressure? And what about cruise control? That sounds nice (I think). Am I just not built for that kind of ease? I’m not sure. Lurching is probably not very good for my engine. Finding some ways to make smooth, consistent progress would be nice.
Brene Brown talks about Daring Greatly. In her book, she quotes Teddy Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I like the concept. I’ve always been one for a Lloyd Dobbler dare-to-be-great scenario. But I’m truly my own worst critic.
Lurching may not be the optimal way to move forward, but at least it’s forward progress, right?
For now, I’m going to embrace it. Lurching greatly.
Lurch on, people. Lurch on.
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