In one week it will be exactly five months that I have not been working. Five months! An incredible amount of time that I never fathomed I would ever have off. I have the contorted notion that someone with no job and no children and a long Bucket List would be crossing things off that she has done at a high speed. Not so. Another bug in my thinking is that even though I actually do quite a few things on my Bucket List each year, that only covers about 5% of the list. That's right, 95% of the things on my Bucket List remain undone by the end of the year and I actually thought I would be able to get to 100%. How is this possible, you might wonder? How is it that I spend a good deal of my time on my Bucket List items and still only get maybe 5% of them done?
If this were a problem solving question you might have already concluded that I either have too many things on my Bucket List, I take too long to do the things on my Bucket List, or both. The answer is both. Well, sort of. I have this ideal about how I should operate, on a daily basis, in this world. Here it is: I should be Productive, Prolific and Perfect. And it is a completely flawed system. These are my "Three P's". They are the source on much unhappiness in my life (how lucky I am) and they ultimately explain why my Bucket List is such a ridiculous sham.
If you are scratching your head wondering why being productive, prolific and perfect is so terrible, I will explain. Its easy for most of us to understand how perfection can be a curse. To be fair to myself, I am not a real perfectionist but I do have very high standards that slow me down significantly. I have a saying that I repeat in my head when perfection stands in my way, "It is better to finish something good than to never do something great." It is still really hard for me, especially at the beginning of a project or task.
I have never been a person to sit around and do what most people call "relax". This does not mean I can't relax, because I can, it just doesn't take the form of sitting on the beach or on the couch. Hiking relaxes me, especially if there is no one else around, I can feel hiking. For me, the opposite of relaxing means being productive. Hiking is not productive because it relaxes me, I feel into it. I have a hard time being lazy. I have a hard time not being productive. Not wasting your life means getting things done.
This brings me to the last "P" - Prolific. Large quantities, I envision large quantities. To complete this "Three P's" image I imagine a life well lived as someone who is always accomplishing something (Productive) in large quantities (Prolific) and does it extremely well (Perfect). But this is just not realistic. No one can live up to this, maybe Mozart, but I am not even a very big fan of Mozart (it's blasphemous, right? Don't tell anyone). Something has to give. In general, it happens this ranked order, I am always productive, I generally try to do things really well, I just don't get a lot of things done. Prolificacy always comes in last, so, day in and day out that I do not have a a job and a long Bucket List, I feel like a bit of a failure for getting so little done.
This brings me to 2012. I still have a Bucket List, I actually like Bucket Lists but I will attempt to approach it differently, its purpose is to remind me of the things I dream of doing and to resist the urge to become complacent. I am going to forget resolutions, goals and lists, I have new "intentions" for this year. The most important one just occurred to me, while writing this paragraph, and it is the most profound. I need to become more Prolific. Maybe that was obvious to you. Or maybe you are thinking, like I was thinking, isn't it better to concentrate on doing far few things? Yes, it is, or not.
I need to become more Prolific. I need to reverse the ranked order of the "Three P's". I need to try a large number of things, make a lot of mistakes, make a lot of starts. I need to create an abundance of experiences. Then, I need to not finish them, drop them, not follow through, quit. I know from the large quantity of ashes I will accumulate from burning my bridges, will rise the phoenix, something that will be pure and worthy of excellence. In that one thing, I will pour in all the perfection I can summon. Alas, I will only be able to call to me that which I can feel into, which will require me to spend more time, for lack of a better word, relaxing. You know what this sounds like? It sounds like I am not going to get much more than 5% completed on my Bucket List for 2012.
This intention of trying a lot of things, quitting a lot of things and relaxing more may sound a bit reprehensible. In a culture where we generally choose one career, one path, one partner and stick with it, there may be many people knitting their eyebrows at me. Oh well, I'll have to deal with that. This is going to be a hard process and it will take a lot of habit breaking and reforming. But now, I am really tired of concentrating on myself. I had to make this intention known, like a proclamation, a reminder to myself, groundwork.
I hope to share lots of new things, some will be good, okay, bad or mistakes, maybe. I will leave you with this:
|A new day, a waning moon. We start again, |
All things at different times.