No big reveal here. I mean we all know we are dealing with a finite amount of time. We know it, but I am not sure we actually think about it that often. I am often caught off guard when something or someone brings it to my attention that an earthly forever is not an option. Not gonna happen. I know this. You know this. We are all walking around KNOWing this. And yet, clearly the way I live doesn’t always reflect that knowing. The
A couple of things come to mind when I consider the FACT that my (and yours too Pally O’Mally) life on this crazy, amazing earth is going to end. I don’t know when or how and it freaks me out more than a bit to think about it but that doesn’t mean I can live in denial that every day is bringing me that much closer. Don’t you love the morbid bent of this post? I am sure you are thinking “This blog is supposed to encourage and lift me up–not make me sad, depressed and considering the details of my departure”. Hang in there sweet friends, I AM heading somewhere.
The realization of just how much finality is involved in life on earth really is a call to action. If we get that we are not always going to be here, what are we waiting for to take the bull by the horns and LIVE LIFE? I am not even saying live it well–I think that’s a practice, a goal, something to work toward but you can’t begin to work on it if you are just letting Life happen to you. I am pretty sure you can’t stand on the sidelines waiting for Life to walk up and ask you to dance. You need to take your dance card, unceremoniously shove it in Life’s face and demand he fills every open spot. And then my friend…you need to dance.
I never know how I end up finding the websites I do (keep it clean peeps)–I have some weird investigative instincts that kick in when I am looking for something and before I know it, I am way beyond six degrees of separation (I heart you Kevin Bacon) and trying to figure out how I ended up where I did. Leads me to some fun stuff, although the majority of time, I forget how I made the connection and can’t get back there two days later. However, this time when I “stumbled” upon this website, I knew I wanted to share it with you so I made an extra special mental note to remember it and even though extra special mental notes make absolutely no difference in my ability (or lack thereof) to recall information, I actually wrote this one down. You’re welcome.
It’s called the 100 days project. You can read about it here but the concept is really simple–pick something (a creativity project) and commit to doing it for 100 days. You can register your name and project on the website (the start date for 2015 is July) and then document your progress on their website. You are setting a goal and the website is providing some built in walls of accountability. They aren’t necessarily the strongest of walls because of course, you still have to choose to do the work every single day, but walls nonetheless. Would you be motivated by the potentiality of someone logging in to check your progress once in awhile? Probably. I think I would. So, regarding The 100 days Project, here’s my thought process on any given day, might want to buckle up…
Received suggestion to follow this person on twitter via email (thanks twitter), should I follow this gal, who is this person, do I know her, should I know her, my friend knows her, wonder how my friend knows her, who else does she know, what does she do, why would I want to follow her (selfishness alert–how would it benefit me to follow her), who is she following that sounds interesting, don’t know any of the people she follows, how can that be, we live in the same city and everyone knows everyone in this place, wait–hold up, go back, what is this 100 days project and why is she following them, and why is she talking about writing goals, maybe we can connect through writing, I should see what this is, link twitter to 100 days project, link to website, read, read some more, interesting idea, who are these people, what are the projects, are they all artists, I’m not an artist, wait–is a writer an artist, could I be an artist, am I even a writer, a blogger, a wannabe, what am I exactly, I am overwhelmed by all the red boxes, look at all the red boxes, too many red boxes, sorry folks, I can’t open all the red boxes, I can’t do this, I have to get off this site, wait, look again, do something for a hundred days, hey, not a bad idea, should I do this, could I do this, what if I fail, will I be a failure for life, will I ever be a writer, and more importantly, should I follow this gal on twitter.
That is how my brain works…get out while you can folks. I won’t hold it against you.
After I had a chance to slow down and think clearly, I considered joining up and becoming a part of the 100 days project. I started writing down ideas for what I would want to work on but not necessarily for a hundred days. My perspective was more of what do I want to do better, change, add into my life permanently? The list is long and distinguished (to quote a totally inappropriate line from Top Gun). I crossed off, added, edited down the list to six things. So, now what? How will I choose just one? AND, what is the likelihood that if I wait to start until July, that I will even do it. I mean you just saw how my mind works–can you imagine how many thoughts and new ideas will pop up between now and July and let’s be honest, there is a limited amount of space in this “purdy” little head–I am guessing the 100 days project would eventually get crowded out or completely crushed by the barrage of ideas and thoughts fighting for space in there. I am a realist people. Not true. I am actually an optimist and that doesn’t always match pace with a realist. Just saying’. What I am, is excited about making some changes in my life…right now. I can’t predict what July will look like. I mean, I might be tired in July. All of it–the whole month. You just never know. Or to revisit my opening paragraphs, who even knows if I will be here in July. I’m planning on it but I didn’t write that story so not sure of the ending.
Gut-check…contrary to what I just said, I am not truthfully excited about making these changes in my life. Excitement is NOT what it feels like at all. What it feels like is these things are important to me, so very important, and the clock is ticking. At church, they have a timer on the big screens counting down the amount of time you have until the service starts. Really helpful if you need to make one last stop to use the facilities before the worship team starts up and you will be shaking your groove thing (with a certain level of decorum because this is church by the way). The clock is also helpful if you are trying to gauge if you have enough time to say hello to a friend, and Lord knows, that guy talks a lot so two minutes and twenty-six seconds just won’t cut it. Thanks clock for the heads up. Not that I have this problem, church of 5,000 and my anti-social tendencies have allowed me to meet exactly three other people. I digress beyond all levels of acceptability. I am sorry. Here’s the thing, the other day as I watched that clock counting down, panic started bubbling below the surface. No joke. Watching that clock was unsettling. With complete clarity in the midst of the panic (not an easy feat), I realized those seconds are ticking away every, single moment of our lives. Literally. Pause. LITERALLY she screams. By the way, you just lost three seconds with that pause.
So, my question is, “what exactly are we waiting for?” Future Me says the time is now because she knows if Present Me waits, she is going to have a multitude of regrets to contend with and the very thought of it completely hacks her off. And no one wants to deal with a completely hacked off Future Me–she’ll be bitter, rude, angry, sad, depressed, and it won’t be just because of the forty three turtle-necks and thirty-seven scarves hanging in her closet necessary to cover up the inevitable mass of neck wrinkles.
Interestingly enough, my engraved invitation to change has not gotten lost somewhere in the mail. It is sitting right in front of me and it’s pretty. Flowers and smiley faces. All I need to bring to the party is a little self-evaluation. A little awareness. A little time. A little planning. And “a little” elbow grease. You have to show up and be willing to DO the work. I think the desire to change is in all of us. I mean if you are reading this and thinking that there is absolutely nothing you would like to do better in your life, I urge you to reconsider. Not to be too rough on you but the term for that is complacency. And I don’t think we were put here to be complacent or to dip just our toes in the water. Where is the purpose in that? Any age, any circumstance, any stage you find yourself–there is always something to work towards. Not in the–I can’t find contentment kind of way but in the–I want to to live life fully kind of way. Not in the–I am not grateful for what I have kind of way but in the–I want to show how grateful I am for this life by giving it all I have kind of way.
So–let’s go back to the clock. I could sit and wait for July to roll around which is only 7,044,180 seconds from right now but if I panicked watching 146 seconds tick away, what will happen to me as I watch more than seven million go by? Let’s not go there. My imparting “wisdom” to you is don’t wait. There is never a perfect moment to start implementing change, there is always going to be something going on or happening that could potentially interfere or make it more difficult for you. There are people, places and things (I think those are called nouns) who will get in your way, make it more difficult, or try to stop you (intentionally or not). I am pretty sure we still just have to go for it.
Me? Well, I decided to not wait AND to not take anything off my list. Momma din’t raise no underachiever that’s for certain. She did raise me to speak properly though so I think she might take umbrage with my poor attempts of using my humor (in the form of bad grammar and maybe bad humor) to appear more relatable to my readers? Actually, I already blew relatability when I let you in on the inner workings of my brain. “Big mistake…Huge!”. Why am I quoting 80’s movies? Do I really want my younger groupies to walk away in frustration when they don’t get the references (fyi–I don’t have any younger, or any age for that matter, groupies but a girl can dream).
Anyway–I decided to go for it and created my own 100 days project. I can’t call it that, of course for legal reasons, but I do have a fantastic lawyer on speed dial and she loves me so I am not too worried. However, just to be safe, my project is called–The six things I want to change or do better for the next 100 days until it has become a lifestyle change and I no longer have cause to write about it Project. What do you think? Catchy huh?
I did not plan. I did not prepare. I did not think it through. I did not wait for someone to tell me to go ahead, it’s okay. I did not wait for someone to tell me don’t go ahead, it’s not okay. I did not do all the things you are probably supposed to do to promote success. I just did it. I started. I committed. I went for it. And I failed. No kidding. Day 2 I blew one of the big ones and considering I didn’t think I could take any of these things off the list, to me they are all big ones. I failed. And I cried. Then, I cried a little bit more. And when I was done crying (sort-of), I picked myself up and got back at it.
I will let you in on my list sometime down the road but for now, I just encourage you to consider starting your own 100 day project but please don’t use my title, that would be stealing. Just jump in and go for it. You are welcome to share or not and if you need someone to cheer you on, I am more than willing to do that for you. MORE than willing. As I have gotten started, I have found journaling helps. It makes me think–about the overall goals, what steps I am taking, if I am missing the mark, and about tomorrow. It creates an environment of intention. Living with intention means you are thinking about it and not just allowing it to happen to you. It’s saying that even though the seconds are ticking by, they are filled with purpose and that’s a good way to live. That makes Future Me happy–or happier at least, she still has to deal with all those scarves and turtle-necks–boo, hiss. I mean couldn’t God have used the big toe on our left foot to show our age, I have no problem with socks. Why-oh-why did he have to display our age right there for all to see on our necks. The only advantage I have to that is I am short so no one but small children are actually at eye-level when it comes to my neck. Ha!! For years, I envied my best friend from high school because of the seven inches she had on me–who’s laughing now at the one and only advantage to being short. That would be me–I’m laughing now but it sounds a little maniacal so no worries, I will be done soon.
Two final points–I think it’s important to design your project around quality changes. You know the term–we call them lifestyle changes. Those are the kind that are worth the effort. Example–eating better to lose weight, while good, gets edged out by eating better for your overall health and well-being and why would you want to stop that after a hundred days? So, consider your motives in the process of choosing something you want to work on.
Lastly, successes or failures aside, going for it is a sweet way to live. You gain a new found appreciation for what has or hasn’t worked in the past–you can look back and be thankful for your experiences and what you learned from them. You gain a new found appreciation for the future because that’s where your potential is waiting patiently for you to catch up and I would just bet Future You isn’t really too bent out of shape about turtle-necks and scarves–she is just thankful you didn’t wait and decided to try and do it better. But, the true beauty of this project is found in the realization you have to live in the present to carry it out. You have to consider where you have been and where you are headed of course, but you won’t see your goals/dreams come to fruition if you don’t center yourself around what is happening now. No matter how much our lives are directed by schedules and calendars, we have to find a way to live in the present. To be fully conscious and aware is the most effective way to take an active role in your own life.
Our days are numbered. There’s no getting around that so what do we do to make the absolute most of those days? How about we jump all in, right now, as a glorious expression of gratitude for the moments we have been given. We look hard at changes we want to make and then make a move. There will be successes and “failures” but don’t worry so much about that. Just show up and go for it. It’s a way to say I recognize and am thankful for what I have been given. Gratitude through action. I like it. So, think about it. What’s your 100 day project (by a different name of course)? I would love to hear about it and to encourage you–leave a comment or message me anytime. Or talk to a friend you know wants to make some changes too and join forces. To walk this journey with a loving, caring friend can make all the difference. I can be that friend for you or feel free to pick your own, I am a little scary.
As always, thank you for reading. You are awesome! With love, Kelly
Not music this time but a quick video I ran across the other day–thought you might enjoy it. A little piece of inspiration (courtesy of tedtalks.com).
p.s. I haven’t forgotten about the give-away. I had more than two people share the post and I don’t know exactly how to figure out who shared it (ha!) so I am working on that and will let you know soon.