Still Starting Over (Again) After 72

The Blahs
Okay -- reimagining might be easy, but reemerging can be a rocky road. Some days, I'm full of energy. I write, I research, I meet with people. I'm energized and excited and more than ready for what's next.

Except, of course, because this is the real world, what's next doesn't necessarily happen today. I'm reminded of first grade, when we planted seeds in a paper cup. At least once an hour we'd check our seeds, knowing that the next time we looked, that seed would have grown. Nope. Didn't happen. Eventually, most of the seeds did actually sprout. This reemerging sometimes feels slower than waiting for that seed to sprout. And, sometimes, I think about just throwing out the cup. There are so many distractions, all sometimes overwhelmingly tempting.

Distractions

I've started categorizing the things that can derail me into four categories:
  1. amusements
  2. sparkly things
  3. overcommitting
  4. sloth

Amusements

Yes, we all need amusements. We all need a little fun in our lives -- and maybe even a little "bad" TV. But sometimes, I find myself carried away. So many reality shows, so little time. Not too long ago, I successfully avoided a project by watching the entire season of a British baking competition on Netflix. My excuse, sometimes, is that this can be motivational. That watching other people compete and succeed is a good thing. Perhaps. In moderation. For instance, I credit the completion of my doctoral dissertation to following the romance of Shane and Kimberly on a daytime drama. I taped the show and watched it as a reward for having completed another chunk of the project. (A friend rewarded herself by doing an in-depth analysis of the relationship between size of shoulder pads and amount of power among the women on Dynasty. To each her own.)

Sparkly Things

One of my friend calls this the magpie syndrome - going after the shiny objects. Another friend the only guy on this particular trip), observing his three female companions making a bee line for a window full of shiny objects, said, "There go the hens, after the sparklies" and it stuck. Every day my inbox is full of messages about the next great workshop, book, webinar, podcast that will absolutely change my life for the better. And, like so many on the reimagining journey, I've succumbed to my share. Sometimes, I've learned a few things; mostly I've wasted a lot of time and a considerable amount of money. Coaches are fond of saying that the client knows the answer, and often that's true. Much of that time would have been better spent in quiet meditation and journalling and in actual project work. Focus and reflection are priorities on this journey, whether I like it or not.

Overcommitting

Sometimes, when I feel like I'm doing nothing to move myself along (remember the seed in the cup?), I will sign up for every event in sight. I will make coffee dates, real or virtual, I will join yet another group. And I'll be exhausted just reviewing my calendar. This is a great avoidance technique, because it's so easy to tell myself that this is all important and worthwhile. In saner moments, I evaluate what's important and useful and I choose accordingly.

So, Back to the Blah's

I'm reminded that this process will take exactly as long as it takes. Neither trying to rush it nor retreating into fantasy will change that. All I can do is keep chugging along and work to create a positive environment for my journey. I set my expectations for a good day as I get out of bed. I journal, read my daily inspirations, pet a cat who likes to rest his head on my knee as I'm having coffee, set an agenda and journey on. I rejoice in cheery days and accept the blahs when they come. And I know that each day I'm closer to my goal.