I’m a slow learner.
But this is what I managed to piece together during this most recent solar orbit.
I learned that productivity is a con (and I should really stop clicking on all those headlines that offer happiness and productivity hacks), that hope is a radical act, and that writing is still my best medicine, (even though meditation keeps getting suggested.)
That teachers come to you, when you need them, but not always in the shape or form you think.
That lunch dates rule.
That our stories are like snakeskin, and it’s okay to shed the old ones when we outgrow them. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s necessary, little wrigglers. It’s absolutely necessary.
I learned, as I wrapped up 3 years at a great little creative agency, that if your name isn’t attached to something, you won’t fight as hard for it. You just won’t.
I learned what it’s like to cry instant hot tears when someone holds the space for you to approach your sorrow.
I learned to wait for a surgery I wanted done ASAP.
I learned that attention is prayer.
More than prayer. Attention is actually the fuel that runs the world, not oil. Kids grow off it. Relationships require it. Learning demands it. And personal internet-connected-screens erode it, dangerously, continuously.
I interviewed a bunch of great people, and realised that, just because people are creative practitioners producing work that stops me in my tracks, doesn’t mean they’re particularly dynamic or interesting in person, or in their ability to articulate their process or motivations. So it’s probably time to stop worrying that I’m not sufficiently dynamic to be “a creative” and stop reading profiles of creative people in the hopes of gleaning some wisdom, and just follow my curiosity and do the work.
I came to suspect that our bodies have probably always known everything we ever needed to know. We just never really learned to listen. When I do hear something, it feels animal. Quick. Growls or moans or squeals. It’s not articulate but it’s responsive. It’s okay to trust it. Even when it doesn’t make much sense.
I learned that there will never be an “and done!” moment after which everything can finally begin.
I learned that the hustle got me here. But now it’s time to trade the hustle for a practice. A slow steady daily practice. Practice is sustainable. Hustle is a blaze of drama and adrenaline. It was fun. But now I’ve got work to do.
What does it all boil down to? (Because I also learned this from that great creative agency: every meeting or brainstorm should end with some action items.)
So, this, for 2016:
- Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Have the courage just to please yourself.
- Don’t compare your hustle with their highlight reel.
- Don’t forget that all things come to life when shared: meals, adventures, ideas, heartbreak, jokes. (Ergo more connection with actual face time. Less screen time to feel “connected”.)
- If it’s not serving you, the planet, or the greater good, then cut off the blood supply. Seems ruthless, but it’s okay to have boundaries. It’s actually the best kind of self-care.
- If you want to be everywhere and do everything, you’ll do everything half-assed.
- Choosing is the power. So choose.
- Say no unless it’s fuck yes.
The world is going to change. Massively. I hope it’s without violence. That’s in our hands, right now.
Oh yeah, and it’s okay to text on the toilet. As long as you know when to unplug.