On committing for the short-term
The One Where I Make You Decide What I Should Share... For Now
Happy New Year, friends!
For the month of January, I wanted to focus on a theme: the power of small steps. The new year is usually a time when we see an influx of “new year, new me”s, well-meaning resolutions, and grand proclamations for change. It’s a lot to live up to, and these promises often crumble into the void after a few weeks (been there). So, I wanted to focus instead on the small, everyday, New Year-agnostic steps we can take up the mountain. Theme in mind, I sat in front of my screen, ready for my amazing insight and knowledge to flood the page.
…And sat some more. The right words—or let’s be real, any words—weren’t coming. No problem! I thought to myself. I’ll just start typing and edit it later. I slept on my draft and revisited the screen the next day.
…And sat some more. The essence of the piece was off. The wrong words, I could work with. But if the core idea was off, no amount of clever wording could help. I needed to figure out what was wrong.
Another day passed, and I was reflecting on what I had accomplished in 2020. And then it clicked why my piece just wasn’t working: I’m not qualified to talk about this. To quote Arya Stark, “That’s not me.” I’m impulsive in my interests. Heck, just in the past year, I’ve committed to and moved on from multiple life directions, styles, and interests (I counted ten off the top of my head).
Trying new things and trying them often is more my thing. If I were to take the small-steps-up-the-mountain metaphor and apply that to my own life, it would look more like a lot of seemingly unrelated and spontaneous detours in every direction. …But I was still on that mountain. And better yet, I could think of a few stories where doing that has been fruitful for me.
So here’s what I can say and encourage from experience: Try new things wholeheartedly, embrace the opportunity to be a beginner, and move on with gratitude when it’s time.
A commitment is still a commitment, whether it’s for a year or just an hour. A small step is still a small step on the mountain. What actually matters, in my opinion, is the stuff I bolded (that’s why I bolded it).
So! This month I’ll share stories of things I did once and the ways they unexpectedly added to my life. I’d like you to vote on which stories to tell. And since I’ve been comfort-marathoning through Friends for the ten billionth time, I’ll title these accordingly. Reply to this email by end of day Monday with your vote for one of these (you’ll vote again every week this month):
The One Where Mai Saves the Orangutans
The One with the Imaginary Lifeboat
The One with the Ayahuasca
The One with the Video Game Musical
The One with the Accidental Sugar Daddy
There are only four Fridays left in January, so whatever doesn’t get published will be gone FOREVER (EVER… Ever…ever… e)! Or more likely, show up in a later month.
Looking forward to your votes, mountaineers! Thanks for reading, and best wishes to you for 2021.