The interesting thing about writing this blog a day for 30 days of me-time is that I can’t shut it off. While I was running today, I could hear my thoughts typed out with every pound of the pavement.
Is it the daily practice of writing, or the focused introspection or the Buddhist mindfulness I’ve been trying to teach myself?
As an advertising writer, it’s sometimes (but not always) the same. When I’m working on headlines. Billboard headlines. The kind where you have to be clever and on-brand and tell a story in five words or less–at least 50 times over so the client has options of clever, on-brand, storytelling in five words or less. It’s hard to find the “off” button. I jot down notes on my iPhone on the subway home. I’m writing on snippets of recycled paper I have clipped together on my kitchen table. I even scribble words here and there in bed while I wind down. You can’t just flip the switch. The words streaming like a news ticker in the lower third screen of my life. Until the deadline. Until the next project kick-off. Where it starts all over again. Continue reading
I just got off the phone with a friend I’ve known for 16 years. She’s getting married in two months, and we talked about her process of getting to this decision and facing the fear of making the wrong one.
She said she could’ve focused on all the little holes in the fabric or look at the swath and its beautiful design. And she just decided that the bigger picture was the better one. Less stressful, more workable, more attractive even. It was a practical approach. I didn’t hear any passion in her voice. But I could understand why it worked for her.
We talked about how her analogy could apply to so many things. This idea of focusing on the fine detail versus appreciating the whole of something. To see the good qualities and let the imperfections go. Not in an “I’ve settled” way but in a “to know is to love” way.
What do I make of this in my own life? I’ve lived in my neighborhood for nearly 18 years and I still have a hard time thinking it’s home. Not because anything is wrong but because of all the little what ifs. For more than 20 years, I’ve pushed myself to what I thought was the next rung in my career. My MO has been to keep going–wherever there’s room to go, to explore, to become. And as I kept moving, I never put a solid professional stake in the ground. I abandoned three long-term relationships, for many complicated reasons, or maybe a simple one–that I only saw all the holes.
Tonight I question… would my life be better, would I feel more settled, if I just decided to sit with the bigger picture. To look at the fabric as a finished blanket, not a mesh of woven threads. To feel fine knowing there’s a different design, a different texture, a different fit, perhaps. But decide that fixating on those things is just that–different, not better.
I realize it’s not a perfect analogy. And that it might apply to some things, not all. But it gives me pause and comes back to what I’m doing with this time off. Understanding that perspective matters. And that changing yours can sometimes be the only thing you need to do to find what you’re looking for.