It’s interesting that I read a couple of blog posts in the short space of each other that relate to The Desire Map, a book by Danielle laPorte. (Admittedly, one was written by the author, but still.)
It’s also interesting that I’m sitting writing this with my legs up on a footrest on our couch, one bandaged at the knee thanks to an accident on the Foxy Lady on Saturday night.
Anyway, after reading those two articles, I started thinking to myself – for all my goal-setting with the Foxy Lady, with voice work, with the various endeavours I’ve tried this year, how often have I focused on what I (supposedly) want to do instead of how I want to feel (and maybe how I’m feeling at the moment)? What I’m doing vs. what I want to do instead of how I’m feeling and how I want to feel?
So with the new year coming up, why not focus on that? Rather than focus on a goal or an achievement, something outwardly visible, why not take a look at the real reasons we set ourselves these goals and objectives:
Because we want to feel a certain way once we achieve them?
How do I feel a lot of the time?
Scared. But it’s that little fear, that sad fear, that fear of not being liked, of disappointing. That fear that I’ll do something that someone will judge me for and cut me off from my means of support. That the worst will happen from the least of situations. Yes, I still struggle with that one.
I also feel that fear around the idea that I’m going nowhere, that I’m not Engaging My Full Potential, that I’m not progressing as fast as I should be (ahh, should – a lovely word around which I could write a while blog post and in fact have a draft sitting on my hard drive about).
Take the Foxy Lady. As I wrote for a recent post it’s been over a year since Dad bought her for me and in that time I could well have got my full licence. Yet there are still problems unsolved, practice yet to do, an appointment (and all the attendant arrangements with a riding buddy) to book.
I also feel like I’m not having enough fun. I keep seeking it in external means, mostly of the game variety – tabletop games, video games, movies and TV – I hate the idea of missing out on a good time, although it’s a pretty specific definition of good time. I’m more likely to come home after work than head out for drinks on a Friday, for example.
Bright, multicoloured pacakges with awesome images (like, say, the box art for King of Tokyo or Android: Netrunner) will always draw my eye and kick-start feelings of anticipation – that’s fun in a box! All I need to do is buy it, and then find some other folks to play with… Yet when it comes to actually engaging with other people I often find the action of these things a little underwhelming. I tend to have more fun playing with people I’ve already befriended rather than folks I’ve met through an interest in games.
(That pretty much sums up my years in the tabletop roleplaying game hobby…)
Are there times that I feel at peace? Sure, and they’ve been happening more often, but they’re still not often. My attention wanders a lot; I have a hard time staying in the moment. I daydream of other places where I’m a better person.
So how do I want to feel?
I spent a few days after reading those articles thinking about – well, more feeling out how I wanted to feel as opposed to how I felt. The first word that my feelings turned into was “strong.” If that’s one thing I don’t feel half the time, it’s that. Someone gets angry around me, my first reaction is to cringe; I then want to do whatever it takes to stop them being angry.
I want to feel strong enough to accept that someone else’s anger isn’t my problem, no matter involved I may be in the cause. Much as I want to be liked no matter what, I really want to be liked honestly, which means accepting that there are times that the people closest to me won’t like me.
It’s one of the reasons why things have taken so long with the Foxy Lady. I let such a trivial little fear stop me asking for help from willing riding buddies, stop me contacting parts places for a new indicator cover.
I want to just go ahead and do the things that I’ve put off doing, which is why I put a notice up on a local Facebook group seeking other riding buddies, which got Karl to get back in touch; we organised a ride on Saturday night.
After that, I brought out some more words. I wanted to feel energetic, propelled in the direction that I’m on rather than having to drag myself along, doubting myself all the way. I want to feel spicily afraid, the sort of fear that comes from knowing risk and accepting it – or from knowing that as much as you calculate the odds, the world is just too big for me to generate a true picture of the probability of success – so the fear is an extra spice alongside the energy, the motivation, the curiosity, the joy of being in the moment.
It’s kind of how I felt last night, after I came a gutser on the Foxy Lady – I was trying to pull off the main highway at an intersection which turned out to be thick with gravel. Karl, who was behind me, told me that I went into the kind of slide that happens when you use the front wheel brake instead of the rear; the Lady went out from under me and I wound up sliding along the gravel. My head was pointing toward the main road and a vehicle – which turned out to be an ambulance – passed by a metre away.
Thankfully, both the Lady and myself were intact; part of her fairing had broken away and I had a few gashes to my right knee – and after going over what had happened and what I could keep in mind for the future (not to mention having a good chuckle at the whole thing) Karl got me back on the Lady and we rode home.
I called him again a bit later; after cleaning up Vickie reckoned some of the gashes needed suturing, and Karl came back in his 4WD to give me a lift to the 24 hour medical centre in town. In a stroke of providence it was a very quiet night, and I wound up out again in half an hour after looking up my clan history on my phone for the doctor and nurse who were stitching up my knee.
Then i came up with a phrase that I think sums up all of the above:
I want to feel like my life is an adventure.
That I’m up and trying new things, that the stuff I do in the meantime isn’t a chore but a chance to exercise, to build my muscles, physical and mental, to explore and solve problems, and above all, to meet new people and deepen my relationship with the people whose company I enjoy.
And I think the Foxy Lady is a lot about this. I’m a little afraid of hopping on her again, but now that I’ve actually had an accident (and can apply what I’ve learned from it) some of the uncertainty is gone. I know what it’s like – or can be like – to crash and walk (well, hobble) away, and to get right back on the seat and go again. I know that fear of having another accident, of the instability of riding a bike (well, scooter), and I know when to listen to it. I also have a better idea of road conditions and what to watch for.
Best of all, though, I’m still looking forward to being a scooter commuter, of going out on rides with Karl and any other friends on two wheels.
Which, oddly enough, brings me to the other thing I did on Saturday: Finish my eight weeks of boot camp. I don’t know whether it was as painful as that scooter crash – I probably would have said so right at the beginning when I was as sore as hell from the lactic acid – but the results so far – better posture, better breathing, better understanding of the required form for the exercises, some actual muscle tone – hae been worth it.
Worth it also, though, have been the new friends I’ve made through the course. It’s been great to have people who went out of their way to give a stuff about me while I was struggling my way through each session – people who could have just stayed focused on themselves, as I was doing at first – but also great to push my comfort zone in terms of giving s stuff about other people. Just as good as the sessions was the chance to chat with my trainers and my fellow “maggots” before and after each session. It gave me the chance to get to know my step-daughter Deena a bit better, not to mention trainers Tom and
Mick Nick and fellow trainees Steph, Sharon, Liz, Dwayne, Eddie and all the rest.
Because the greatest adventure ever isn’t new places or new things: It’s always people.
Speaking of people:
What about you?
What did you do this year, and more importantly how did you feel about it – not just when you were done with it, but while you were doing it?
How do you want to feel in 2014?
The Perils & the Promise of Goal Setting, by Danielle laPorte – Maria Shriver’s blog