Say thank you today. Even if what you want to thank is big and a bit abstract.
Here are a couple lovely examples of grateful writing from the wonderful and deeply lamented Leslie Harpold. It's nice to think of her in the sort of Heaven she describes.
The Thread that Runs So True (Some of what the web has taught me.)
The web is made of people holding hands for safety muddling through the mazes of life, love, work, success, failure, and everything in between.
The novel you wished would never end doesn't and peonies bloom year round. You are encouraged to watch movies from an oversized bathtub.
Thank you everyone for a great year exploring Discardia. Your comments and emails have been so encouraging and I'm really happy with the way I've been able to bring these principles into my life and to share them around the world.
Writing for a whole year on a single topic was a crazy idea and I'm so grateful for the way you've cheered me on and kept me at it. I hope you have projects that blossom this way and get to stretch yourselves too.
You'll probably see posts from me now and then - I've got the Discardian life fully under my skin now and I'm loving it, so I bet I'll have new things to share - but there's no predicting when. Keep me in your feed reader or check back every month and see if inspiration has struck me.
I encourage you all to keep exploring Discardia and finding ways to make your lives richer with less in your way. It's been great to have your voices joining into this grand idea.
And happy discarding!
Sure, you can get good ideas and interesting advice all over the place, but no one knows what you need better than you do yourself.
All you have to do is listen.
Make time regularly to get back in touch with what you need and want. Keep taking care of yourself too as you take care of those other demands on your time & energy.
Who are you now and how have you changed since you last asked that?
Are you doing projects based on the old you's available time, energy and interests? Do they still fit you now?
Run through your mental list of "I really ought to get better at..." goals. Do they still fit you now and the you you want to be at the end of 2007?
Me, I'm entering what I expect will be the busiest year of my professional life since I ran my own business and in which I think I'll probably travel more often than my two previous busiest years of travel combined.
So, adjustment #1: letting go of the commitment to publish to my website every day.
It's not to say I won't still post as inspiration strikes, but I don't need to come home from work to a whole other to-do list & set of deadlines. When work is a steady race against an enormous set of goals, clocking out needs to be filled with free time, flexibility, open-ended playing, easily conquered projects chosen to match my mood and energy, and the option to do nothing in particular at all.
Another major part of this work year is reminding myself of my current role which has grown increasingly strategic and focused on customer relationship building.
I don't build web pages anymore. I create the vision for applications which use the web. My background helps me in proposing features and designs, but I don't have to put all the pieces together to make it go - and what's more that hasn't been my job for over 4 years.
How about you? Are your expectations of yourself up-to-date?
Haven't quite got the stomach for just throwing something away?
Consider these alternatives:
- There's a tradeoff here between time spent and money gained. (Read more about this in past posts Do The Math and What's Your Time Worth?).
- One way to offset that is to add some to gain side of the equation when where it goes makes you happy. Selling something very cheap to or bartering for it with a worthy person can feel great. For example, you might provide a nice older camera to a new photography student.
Giving It Away
- Or you could just give something to that worthy person.
- Charitable organizations are another obvious destination for things of value or utility which no longer fit in your life. How about donating it to the library, a school, or just good old Goodwill?
- You can also have a good deal of fun getting a crowd together for a Pirate Gift Exchange of wonderfully weird stuff. Here's how it works: Wrap everything. Draw numbers. Person number one picks something and unwraps it. Person number two can either steal it or unwrap something else. When what you have gets stolen, you can steal anything but that from another player or unwrap something new. When you don't have what you want you can extol its virtues to other players in the hope that they will steal it from you. Popular items will go racing round the room in repeated thefts. Hilarity ensues!
Sometimes something just gets in the way and you can't do what you'd planned.
Maybe the wireless network goes down and you spend a while debugging it, but don't quite sort it out and need a break and get distracted by other projects, so you never post that update to your blog you'd intended to do. Just, y'know, for example.
No big deal. Things happen. S'okay.
You don't have to stress about it.
Remember the difference between "have to" and "want to". Stressing out should never be on your "have to" list. "Focusing on" or "Putting a significant amount of effort into" may be, but stressing out is rarely productive at all, let alone worthy of being on the Must Do list.
Hope you had a lovely day too and got lots done on surprise projects!
As I wind down to the end of my post-a-day on Discardian goal, I'm thinking about what turned out to be the most valuable habit to start.
Surprisingly, perhaps, it is one of the smallest and most simple: whenever you're using something (a room in your house, your purse or backpack, your computer) regularly ask "what doesn't belong here?" and then do something about it.
Why is my home more pleasant than it used to be? It's not setting out to clean house more often. Rather, it's the accumulation of lots and lots of almost unnoticed moments of tidying up. Carrying an empty glass back to the kitchen, hanging up the wool skirt I wore yesterday, throwing out that downloaded install file I'm done with that's sitting on my computer desktop, clearing the small coins out of my backpack pocket, moving those pants that aren't flattering from the floor where I rejected them out into a Goodwill bag, swirling water with my hand around the sink after brushing my teeth to clear away the toothpaste residue, wiping down the top of the stove with a wet paper towel while I wait for something to heat in the microwave...
I guess that's the big message of Discardian: the little changes add up.
Keep steadily leaning your life in the direction of the life you want to be living. Every now and then you'll suddenly stop and notice how much gradual progress you've made without huge efforts.
Sorry for the late post today, gang, but I was off last night having dinner with friends and then going to a biiiiiig party (the EFF's sweet 16 birthday bash!) and chatting with tons of my online friends I don't get to see face to face often enough.
This weekend grab you friends and go do something fun. Go to parties [Happy Birthday, Matt!] and visit favorite haunts.
Now's the time to pick up the phone or open that chat window and say "hey, whatcha doin' this weekend? Let's hang out!"
This past week I've really been enjoying the delicious flavors of January in the northern hemisphere.
Sounds odd? Not at all.
It's a good time of year for root vegetables - slow cooked carrots, parsnips & onions with rosemary, for example - and for deep green treats like Brussels sprouts - the best ever of which I just had the other night at Cav on Market Street in San Francisco and which were cooked with cider, I think, to take off a little of the bitterness.
It's also a perfect time for baking - breads, pies, casseroles - and soup-making.
Mmm, and time to break out the aged treats - cheeses, wine, cured meats, pickles, jams.
What good flavors can you find in January where you live?
Hey cool! Check it out - Discardian has categories now. Explore a little there in the sidebar and let me know what you think.
I'm planning to do a little bit more cleaning up and consolidating from the under-represented categories. And you should let me know if you think something belongs in a different category.
What little organizing step have you been meaning to do?
Spend some time over the next week making it happen so that you can reap the benefits from now on.
Tonight you should go to bed a little early.
Play a soothing song or have someone sweet read you Where The Wild Things Are before you turn out the light.
Snuggle down under the covers and have happy dreams.
A really proper night's sleep is a lovely gift to give your body.
(Posted early for extra bonus sleeping on Monday too!)