As I write, snow lines New York City’s streets for what feels like the millionth time. I do enjoy this weather – the crisp air, the beautiful snowscapes and the guilt-free hibernation with my books. But, I’m also ready for Spring to arrive. We’re 8 weeks into 2014. Hasn’t it flown by?
I’ve been busy. I took a short work trip to Ireland, enrolled in a great writing class and have been devouring great books. I’m also doing a photo-a-day project on Instagram, which has become a great creative outlet.
Over the last week or so, I’ve spent an extended period of time resident in Cranky-ville. A combination of exhaustion, cabin fever and a stressful week at work meant that by Friday evening, I was a frazzled, cranky mess. Some people seem to experience such down-er days with such grace. I am not one of those people. I spent days in my jammies, ordering take out and watching (don’t judge!) Dawson’s Creek. Why a 26-year-old is escaping into a teen soap for comfort, I do not know.
An afternoon at MOMA jerked me out of my stupor and reminded me of something so obvious and important, but frequently forgotten:
You can’t do it all. It’s just not possible. So, pick what you want to do. Do it well. Leave the rest. And for pete’s sake woman, REST!
(Incidentally, it was this image that snapped me back to reality.)
Earlier this year, my life felt very BIG and I felt very small within it. When I look at my work schedule (the travel, the meetings, the deadlines), I was excited but exhausted. When I thought about exploring this city, I was daunted. I’m (trying to be) proud of myself for moving to New York and making it work. I’ve got a whole new job/city/apartment/friends/life. But, I was also quietly dissatisfied. My life felt like someone else’s. I started 2014 turbo-charged with ambition (my default state). I planned out big projects and built a work schedule to achieve them. The hours were long and the work was hard, but the accomplishments felt hollow and I was uninspired. I was spending much too much time in Cranky-ville.
So, I iterated.
I tore down my plans from my office walls and am marveling at the white space. I de-activated my Facebook account and I gotta say, I love the Facebook-less life. I’m still in touch with friends, though I don’t miss the endless feed of nonsense. Quitting Facebook instantly created lots of fresh space in my life, space that I’m filling with art, events and dates with new friends. I’ve been musing on the question “what does it mean to live a good life?”.
Part of my ennui was the overwhelm of wanting to do it all – the day job, the travel, the social life, the “New York experience”, the writing, the living, the loving, while finding time to read all the books, attend all the events and meet all the people. That’s just not possible.
Success in a world of information overload belongs to those who create clarity amidst the chaos. With that in mind, I’m simplifying my production and loosening the creative demands I have placed on myself. Over the last year, this wee blog has grown to be for more than just me. There are now a small collection of readers that frequent it (and send me sweet emails*). I’m not just writing for myself, but for you. And, I want to respect that.
Rather than adding more vapid gunk to the internet’s sticky highways, I intend to publish here less frequently. I want to write fueled by something more than a desire to complete a schedule.
Rather than adding to the internet’s noise, I’m making space for the new projects to gestate and take shape. I’m craving depth, nuance and complexity. I want to weave new stories and explore fresh adventures.
We all want more time and money, but if I had one wish, I’d choose focus. It’s the thing our society needs most. The next era of great creation will belong to those who can quiet the chaos of the world and create independent of what’s “in” right now.
With that in mind, I’m off to create space. It might be a while before I write again, but when I do, you’ll know that it’s because I’ve got something important to share, not just that I’m desperate to be heard.
Thanks for being here,
EXTRAS FOR EXPERTS:
What does it mean to live a good life?
On slow blogging
* It’s come to my attention that at least one reader emailed me (Hi Maggie!) and I never received the message. If you reached out to me and I didn’t respond, it’s because I never got the message. I’d be very grateful if you’d like to re-send the message and I promise to respond. My sincere apologies for the technical snafus.