When updating my Brainfoods page recently, I saw one of my favorite quotes from Essentialism.
“The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away—it can only be forgotten.”
At first glance, you might think this quote references societal/cultural rules. For example, most of us grow up believing in the following requirements:
Job after college
Family after job
Hopefully travel, etc. etc….
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Sometimes, when you’re not watching, the mess grows into something too large to handle.
Something has to be done.
You stand there, arms akimbo, surveying the room. What’s to stay? What’s to go?
The problem is that when things get out of hand like this, the cumulative weight of their needless existence catches in your bones, causes you to move more slowly.
Each item you pick up, take in, turn in your hands. You set it back upon the shelf, but grasp it once again before your hand can pull away.
What did it mean to you? Why is it still here?
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Maybe this is a stalemate.
When you set out on a creative quest, you’re told it will take longer than expected. And somehow you think it won’t quite hold true for you.
For me, it’s my book (link). I figured that when I finished the first draft last October that I’d be done with the rest come Spring.
I’ve never really had to work like this, creating something that comes wholly from me.
Past jobs came easily. I cared (sometimes), just not like this. I wasn’t throwing myself on the line. They were easy, calculated risks. I would succeed, all was well.
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Hey, I'm Meggan, a vagabond writer, reader, & explorer. My mission? Freedom to do what I want and help you do the same. I’ll be sharing the inspiration, thoughts, and roadblocks I encounter in the quest. Come along, won't you?
Does everything that feels creative eventually fall to a place that feels dead?
My love for writing has grown disproportionately to my ability to understand what I’m doing here. This time last year, I was embarrassed to tell people about my blog. I was embarrassed to tell others I was a writer.
This time last year, I wrote with fervor. I pushed and pushed to be who I said I was.
Now I believe I am that person, but I have little more to show for it than I did back then. Now the shame is gone, but the fervor is, too.
What has changed, if nothing has changed? If I’ve grown in security but shrunk in creation? Don’t those results cancel each other out?
I’ve settled into the person I desired to be. I’ve accepted her. Does that mean I grow bored with her—the same way I treat most relationship partners when it becomes “normal”?
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This August finds me in a whirlpool. You know the feeling?
It’s not always a bad thing. But it is a thing.
Consolation comes from knowing that I was in this exact whirlpool last August, too.
It was something about sensing life was about to change, that life needed to change, but reaching that oblique “changed” point could only be done with blind steps into the mire.
Being here again makes me think about years, and seasons.
I’ve heard that the human condition follows its own harvest year (not necessarily congruent with regional climates). So…
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One of the more annoying questions I ask myself is, “Yes, but do I really feel that way?”
Why is this so annoying? It implies an attempt to be “connected” to myself. Seems innocent enough.
But here’s a new idea I’m toying with: If I feel something, that’s how I feel.
No questioning, no over-analysis, no resistance.
Second-guessing emotions tends to stem from an undercurrent of doubt that runs beneath many of my decisions.
Am I making the right choices? Is life stupid? Is my boyfriend delusional? Am I delusional? Are we all lying to ourselves about everything?
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I’ve always believed that enlightenment means being serene in the face of everything. A financial loss won’t throw me. Tired mornings won’t throw me. A lover leaving won’t throw me. All these things I will smilingly accept once I find the secret to feeling...read more
There are seasons for all things in life. I think someone wrote a song about that.
Moments to work like a hound, moments to rest. Times for drinking, times for health.
There’s falling in love, there’s solitude.
Lately I’ve been waking up, grabbing my journal, and finding I don’t have much to say. Classic writer’s block seems a doubtful culprit since there are no deadlines or responsibilities with my casual morning writing.
What I fear, then, is emotional block. If I can’t dump my straying accumulated thoughts on to page each morning, are they even there?
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It was this time last year when the thought of being a writer first crept into my mind.
My sister and I had spent two weeks traveling through Southern France. She left and I continued to Genoa, Italy. I couchsurfed with a young and lovely psychotherapist for 11 days. We drove up mountains on his motorcycle, swam in the Mediterranean, became expedited lovers.
When he left for work during the day, the apartment was mine for hours. I was an actor then, so no job at home awaited me. There was nothing “official” to work on, the days were utterly open.
On one of these days, a short story appeared in my notebook. My first, I think, since a three-pager (typed, double-spaced) in middle school. I didn’t realize I was remembering as I wrote it, but those minutes are carved into my brain.
My psychologist tells me I tend to overanalyze things. She is not the first loved-one to do this.
“Do you mean compared to other people?” I finally ask.
I was surprised at this. What do others do during quiet stretches of mental space?
Years ago I might have taken Carole’s comment as a badge of honor, but not anymore.
Overanalyzing is like stirring a pot of beans and expecting them to become something other than beans. They only become more mushy.
Analysis has it’s benefits. It gives time to empathize, to strategize, to creativitize.
But analysis is also an excuse of inertia. Analyze instead of act.
Or a way to feel in-control of outcomes that don’t exist and may never come to be.
I thought this would be the triumphant year in which I wrote a book.
Apparently, it is to be the year I learn to write a book.
(If you’re following, yes—I still plan to have it finished soon.)
Three months will mark the anniversary of setting off to finish my little “masterpiece.”
By the end of October 2016, I thought I had everything necessary to push it through the final rounds of editing.
By the end of January 2017, I realized the whole thing needed to be rewritten. (Upwork beta readers at $30 a pop and growing subconscious fear led me to this decision.)
It needed more information to deserve the title How to Travel For Free. I was not happy with this fact. I wanted to be finished with my first book.
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You didn’t make the wrong decision.
There is no wrong decision.
It doesn’t exist behind you, nor in the minds of yourself or others. It doesn’t exist anywhere.
There was never any outcome with judgment attached to it. There was just an outcome. That’s all.
We exist rather negligibly in a gargantuan universe. Applying a subjective human judgment system to the outcomes we think we’ve created is a bit…grandiose.
Every moment leading up to now has simply been a stepping stone. Every moment has served one singular purpose: to get you to now, and now, and (wait for it)…now.
Lucky for you…
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Recently 30, I’ve pressed the reset button on my life and begun a quest to figure out how to shape this thing called life into exactly what I want. I’m self-educating (read: fumbling blindly) to learn how to make a living as a writer and how to be my own business. I’ll be documenting my progress, blabbling about my travels along the way, interviewing cool people, and hopefully making this fun and inspiring for all of us. Join the e-mail list, come along!