Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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Quieting the self-critic

You may recall that a few months ago I talked about having challenged myself to write 50 blog posts this my 50th year before I actually turn 50.

If you look at the number of posts I’ve written since then, you will quickly see that I am quite a distance from achieving that goal and there is less than half a year left before I hit the big 5-0.

It’s the oddest thing, really. I quite enjoy writing – or I wouldn’t do it. I enjoy so many things about it, including the physical act itself – whether with a keyboard or an actual pen to paper – and the fact that it fulfills me in some way. Yet I don’t do it that much.

So why don’t I do it more? Why do I choose instead, more often than not, to just flake out in front of the TV and zone out?

It’s not like I even have to choose between writing and watching TV. I am, at this very moment, for instance, sitting on my couch AND watching TV! (Bohemian Rhapsody, to be specific…loving the music, btw.) And still…I don’t write.

I’ve mulled this over quite a bit over the years. I think that part of it might be because I write in my journal (the pen to paper thing) two or three times a week. Not that what I write in there is particularly interesting or anything, but maybe it’s enough to feed the desire.

Another contributor – perhaps even the biggest – is that I struggle with the idea that anything I write could possibly be of any interest to anyone else. It’s kind of bizarre to me that it would be. Even though I frequently have had people tell me I should write more, I suppose a part of me doesn’t believe it. And, along a similar vein, even when I want to write, I think I have to find some amazingly gripping topic to write about that would be worth taking up however many bits and bytes of space these flittering characters take up in the cyberverse.

Given how much (subjectively speaking) crap there already is online, I really shouldn’t worry too much about that, should I? Plus, as the old adage goes: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There’s an audience for pretty much anything and everything on here.

Finally, I should admit that I really don’t like to practice anything. If I’m interested in doing something, I just want to automatically be at least decent at it. Years ago, for another birthday milestone, I had challenged myself to learn to paint watercolours. I signed up for a course and was absolutely flabbergasted to find out that I first needed to learn to draw. WHAT?!?! I didn’t want to bother with all that. I wanted to dip a brush in water and paint and come up with something that looked passably like what it was supposed to be. Without any of the other fiddle faddle. (I did, dutifully, however, do a drawing session with an artist once, and I bought a book with drawing lessons in it – which I still tinker with every now and then – so it’s not like I’ve just totally thrown in the towel on that. I just impatiently wanted to immediately do watercolour sans practice.)

I guess, then, that I shouldn’t be too surprised that I don’t jump to the computer more often. I’ve criticized myself out of it before I even get one word written.

Well, I’ve decided to cast all that to the wind. I really, really, really want to achieve that goal this year and in order to do so, I’m going to need to stop with the constant self-editing and just write. Write, write, write, write, write.

That means some posts are going to be interesting, some will be OK and others (probably this one, for example) will be mediocre at best. I have about 21 weeks to write 40 posts. Eek! Wait – this counts as one, so 39 posts left!

I apologize, then, in advance for some of what is bound to be posted here over the next few months! And thank you, too, for bearing with me and (perhaps?) cheering me along on the sidelines… 🙂


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50 things: What am I – crazy??

I turned 49 recently. You know what that means – the next one’s the big 5-0. Technically, I’m already in my 50th year, closing out my 5th decade. So not only is 50, well, 50, it also marks my foray into my 6th decade, which means I’m also sort of almost 60. How crazy is that???

Anyway…since I’m already in my 50th year, I thought I should do something to really mark it or celebrate it throughout the year. So I got to thinking – inspired, actually, by somebody’s blog (sorry…can’t remember whose) where she talked about doing the same thing for a big birthday she had just achieved. Because I am sometimes wont to bite of more than I can chew, I decided not to do just someTHING (singular) during this hopefully auspicious year, I decided to do 50 THINGS (plural).

50. F-I-F-T-Y. Five-Zero. In one year.

I didn’t, in fact, stop there. I started to get REALLY crazy and create goals of fifty of each type of thing. I reined myself in somewhat on that one. For example, instead of reading 50 books this year, I’ve pared that down to 25. That’s perfectly achievable. But trying to come up with a list of 50 things, each of which would require 50 things was the very opposite of achievable – I would have to quit my job in order to have the time, even assuming some sort of fairy godmother swooped in to provide the necessary means to meet my financial obligations.

All that said, it’s really hard to come up with 50 things! So, I decided that coming up with the list itself needs to count as one of the things. Seriously – don’t laugh! It REALLY is challenging!

Here’s kind of where I am so far:

  • health goals (walking, exercise bike, taking stairs at work, crunches, push-ups),
  • food goals (trying new recipes; eating vegetarian once a week at least)
  • arts/crafts goals (voice lessons, drawing lessons, painting lessons, writing more blogs)
  • entertainment goals (watching old Hollywood movies, watching more international movies)
  • educational goals (relearning things I used to love – you’ll REALLY need to hold in the laughter here – basic geometry, algebra, and chemistry; learning something about 25 different countries; learning about 25 historical figures; finishing 2 Russian language CDs I’ve had for years; finishing a Spanish course I bought ages ago)
  • spiritual goals (making meditation/prayer a more sincere part of my practice; working on mindfulness; reading scripture more regularly; learning about other people’s practices)

There’s some other stuff in there, too, but this will give you a good overview. None of them are earth-shattering. For me, the big thing is they have to be achievable. I want this current year to be one of success and, particularly, one where at the end of it I truly feel like I’ve become a better person. I’m hoping that I’ll pick up some better habits along the way and that some of the things I dip my toes into this year will become life-long interests. Some of them already are, but I’ve let them fall to the wayside, and this challenge is a way to bring them back into my life.

I have 26 things in my list already. I’ll obviously keep adding to it as I go along. And I’ve also given myself permission to change things as I go. For example, I might have to reduce the individual things under each item. I might change it to learn only about 12 countries and 12 historical figures as I come to really see how much time is involved if I try to force myself to do EVERYTHING. Right now it’s do-able. But by the time I have my full 50 things, I might realize that what I’ve come up with right now is not realistic. The thing I for sure DO want is that I will have done 50 different things. That’s the piece I’m not willing to sacrifice or bend on. So the other stuff is fairly fluid at this point.

Anyhooooooooooo… I’m documenting this so that in about a year I’ll write a follow-up post to see what I’ve accomplished and, even more importantly, how I feel at the end of it.

Stay tuned!!