So here we are on December the 31st, 2012. Time to start measuring our performance in 2012 and setting our resolutions for the things we’re going to do (or do better) in 2013. I’ve already seen a few. Resolutions, goals, whatever you call them.
I’ve been reading a few just now, and all of a sudden they seem more like marching orders that the people who make them are giving themselves.
It’s like these people are setting 2013 up to be as unpleasant as possible.
Me? I was going to do something similar until I realised that I’m not so much interested in what I’m going to do in 2013 as who I’m going to be.
That might seem a bit odd. I mean, I’m an okay guy, right? There’s nothing much that needs changing.
Yet I’m still not entirely comfortable in my skin. I worry about the past, the future. I worry about whether I’m doing all I can to live a positive, productive life, one where I’m doing stuff I love doing, that inspires myself and others.
I kind of blame Caleb Wozcyk for this most recent bout of worry. On Saturday I followed a link from his Pocket Changed newsletter to a TEDx talk by Scott Dinsmore, a gent who runs a web site called “Live Your Legend.” The talk, is all about (to paraphrase Scott) finding the work that you can’t not do.
It’s one of those things that gets you fired up, but also makes you question everything you’ve been doing up to the point that you hear it. What is the work that I can’t not do? Is it any of the stuff I’ve been doing until now? (Most of it, I’ve felt like I could walk away from without any serious angst.) If not, how the hell do I figure out what it is?
I dunno. Maybe it’s because I’m (as Vickie and a few of my close mates claim) borderline Aspergian that things like these rattle me so much.
I feel like there’s a formula, a process to life. I just figure it out and follow it, Everything will Start Working. Believing that I don’t know that process stresses me out.
(Any wonder I used to be mad keen on tabletop roleplaying games?)
Thus it was that yesterday, while Vickie and I were out in the yard doing some much-needed cleaning up, I found myself thinking about time I was putting toward playing Transformers: Fall of Cybertron instead of writing, or planning, or figuring out what the hell to do with my life.
So what do I do about it? Do I try and throw myself into whatever’s troubling me? Try to somehow fix all my worry problems before I move on with something else?
The irony is, I already have an answer. I wrote it in the guest post I did for Cordelia Calls It Quits:
If I can only do one thing at a time, what one thing do I want to do right now?
As you can see from the above, I’m struggling to adopt that rule. When I stress out, I tend to forget it in the midst of everything else trying to cram itself into my attention at once.
(Maybe I need to stick it up somewhere, maybe a few places, so I can see and remember it. Help myself make thinking it a habit.)
Thankfully, at that time I remembered it off the top of my head. I also realised I was stressing myself out about things that were, not beyond my control, but in the past, done and unchangeable, or in the future, unknowable.
I was distracting myself from where I was and what I was doing.
I took a deep breath, (did my best to) set it all aside and got on with the raking, the shifting, the pruning.
Sore and grumpy as I got, it was good work. Lot less leaves on the lawn now, and we have a pretty decent compost heap on the way. I’m looking forward to giving it its first turn-over on the coming weekend.
That’s what I’m looking forward to in 2013: being that guy more often. The guy who’s more relaxed in his own skin, the guy who doesn’t let worry get the better of him when things don’t go as expected.
All the time is a nice ideal, but I know it’s impossible. Still, as long as that state is the default rather than the exception… I’ll be more happy.
And in the end, isn’t that the goal?
Are you curious?
What sort of state of mind are you looking forward to embracing more in 2013? Who’s your better you, and what progress have you already made toward becoming him or her?
Are you stressing?
While we’re in the resolution zone, what are yours for 2013? What did you do (or not do) in 2012 that you want to do (or do better)?
(This one is strictly optional; I think one thing we all need is to give ourselves fewer opportunities to beat ourselves up.)
- Scott Dinsmore: How to Find and Do Work you Love (around seventeen minutes long)
Live Your Legend (Scott Dinsmore’s site)