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Monday, September 13, 2010

This is the blog post that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends...(now try getting the song out of your head)

Despite my tendency toward flakiness, I try to be as organized as possible. I have lists (in case that wasn’t obvious), I make back up plans for my plans… basically, I’m like a girl scout with my preparedness. Then, something shiny distracts me and it all goes to hell in a hand basket. It is not in my nature to be responsible, which is why I don’t understand how I ended up the oldest child.

So, when I started this blog I decided I would take the advice of bloggers before me and prepare my blogs ahead of time, so I could rework them as necessary. Also writing them beforehand would help me so I’d stay on topic (The Boyfriend™, for instance, finds my conversational style – which tends toward the circular – aggravating at best), without veering too far off from the point of the blog.

Of course, I did warn y’all that I’d be exploring my innermost private thoughts in this very public of forums. And that the blog was about my life.

…Hell, it’s my blog, so I can talk about whatever I want. So there.

See? I’m already getting off topic.         

…Anyway…

The point is I came up with this list of topics I want to explore during the next few entries, interspersing them with updates on the progress of my life list. The Boyfriend™ is out of town this weekend on a last-minute trip with his friend and failing having any other significant plans, I decided to sit down and start banging out some of the blogs, (seriously, I’m like a kid with a new toy. I’m gonna play with this thing until it breaks – or something shinier distracts me. Whichever comes first). I started with what I presumed to be the easiest topic – The Devil – and wrote the blog. Yes, I did. In my zeal, I almost posted it.

Thankfully, my internet connection decided to suck out so y’all were spared the pure tripe that my devil blog was.

Seriously? It sucked.

I may go back to it at some point, because I think it’s an interesting topic, but right now it just sucks and I need to walk away from it. But my visit to Mediocrity-ville got me thinking about how I really need to freeform this blog. Even though I wrote the topic list down, forcing me (yes, I know. I’m forcing myself) to write about preset topics will make said topic turn into either some rather bland writing a la instruction manual or some preachy epithet with more analogies than is rational.

I’m a planner who is much better at winging it than sticking to the plan.

Did I mention that I’m a walking contradiction?

And that I write one sentence paragraphs?

So back to my point – I’m trying to bang out these blogs, because I really want to try to do at least one blog of “substance” and one about my life list updates, daily. I made a commitment to the blog world by setting this thing up and I’m trying to be one of those people who actually follows through on things. I figure if I have all these blogs pre-written then it’s only a matter of copy-and-pasting into Blogger. But if my devil blog is any indication, I’m gonna have to wing the blogs – writing of substance be damned!

Hey, a leopard can’t change its spots and I can’t fight my nature. No matter how hard I try not to be, I’m a space cadet. I want to be dependable – wait, no I don’t. Never mind.

Moving on…

So in the spirit of winging it, I’m going to answer some general questions from a couple of people who I’ve told about my blog. I’ve already answered the questions to the questioners, but I figured that my blog is just as good a forum as any to keep on talking.


What is a life list and why the hell do you keep telling me to write one?

I discovered the life list (see intro blog entry) during a point in my life when I was really grasping to find meaning in my life. On the surface, my life seemed pretty OK: I have two wacky yet great kids; The Boyfriend™ was a delightful and wonderful surprise and the relationship was (is) going well; I had a good paying, cushy job, and The Best Friend® was finally living practically right next door to me. I was also finally allowing myself to occasionally entertain the notion that I’m an artist, but still… despite all that goodness, there just seemed to be a lack.

Then I had a really great conversation with my friend Adrienne and she helped me find some clarity. Then synchronicity decided that it wasn’t done with the topic yet, and I happened upon Chookooloonk’s blog whereupon I found the life list. Needless to say, it changed my life (hyperbolic? Hardly. It’s actually quite true).

The life list is a list of things you want to do during your lifetime. It should not, as a rule, contain anything you have to do (for instance, I need to lose 20 pounds, but that’s not on my list), and should only include those things – big and small – that you want to do. You should shoot for about a hundred things you want to do (which is why the small wants can easily be included), but can be a few less or many more. It really depends on you and your dictates. Because it’s your life list – so you get to set the rules. Just try to stick with the “no shoulds” part.

Why was it life changing for me? Well, suffice it to say that I’m one of those people that, if given the choice between two things, will try to find a way to avoid having to choose between the two at any and all costs. I don’t want to miss out on anything. At all. Ever. But, holy shit! I have a list. I was clear about my goals! I had made not just one decision but over one hundred and counting. For the first time in all of the life I can remember, I said “This is what I want” and committed to it! Not just when I had to, but ahead of time!

Miraculously (to me, anyway), things started happening: opportunities started just showing up, plans came together. My shit was finally getting together and I was able to fill more and more checkboxes. Let me tell you, that is some hella motivation right there!

Why should you do one? Well, because it’s awesome feeling this successful without feeling like you’re doing much of anything except writing stuff down. And that success with the small stuff is giving me the balls to chase down the biggest of my dreams and goals, fearlessly.

OK. So you’ve talked ad nauseum about the life list – and you even carry it around with you all the time – so why blog about it?

First, I carry around my life list in my journal (which also doubles as my sketch book), to remind me to keep up the good work. I also try to do a little something every day, like planning a trip to Ireland (#54) or finding a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese (#108), and include the plans and recipes in the journal so I have a quick reference for the future. And  it feels like I’m making progress toward the goal by having the plan or recipe in place already.

I also like to keep the journal handy to write about those times when I’m just not feeling it and to give myself a more-or-less mental kick in the ass to get over it.

The blog part is a step toward Goal #100 – to have my own web site. You have to start somewhere, right? And this is just a good a place as any to do it. I also wanted to have my own space, outside of Facebook or MySpace, where I can post pictures of my latest works of art, my thoughts on current events, my life and my list. Pretty simple, really.

Most importantly, though, is that I wanted to add my voice to the others of us out there who provide inspiration and guidance for the other dream-living neophytes. Most of the blogs I’ve read to date are written by people who are already in the midst of living their dreams. I’m at the beginning – not quite living the dream yet -- and I think it’s important to share my journey from this point, rather than at a more successful time.

The added bonus is that the vast majority of my family, who I now live too far away from to see on a regular basis, can have a one stop place to check up on me. I’m considerate like that.

Do you really think people will read your blog?

I hope so. I hope they “follow” me and comment, too.

But you’re not really saying anything different from hundreds of other bloggers, so why bother?

First, I am saying something different than other bloggers – because my experience is my own. While I may be discussing similar topics, my experience makes what I say different from what others are saying about the same topic.

I bother because it’s important to me to do so. To date, I haven’t had the balls enough to think I was actually worthy of blogging about anything going in my life. As it turns out, I am worthy enough. So are you.

For the love of God, what are you going to talk about? Should I be afraid?

I think I already covered that part in my blog description and the “about me” section, but when I answered this one out loud it was to people who haven’t read my blog. Basically, I’m going to talk about my life, my list and my life list.

Should you be afraid? Only a little bit and only if you embarrass easily. I will do my best to change names, or give you cute monikers like The Boyfriend™ or The Best Friend®, but I insist on complete authority over what I will – and will not – discuss about my life on my blog.

I’m not a total idiot, though. I will exercise a modicum of discretion. I work in an industry that reminds me, daily, that what you put out on the internet will (not just “can”) come back to haunt you. There are some ghosts better left in the closet where they belong, and not out on the internet preventing you from obtaining future employment.

So what’s your end goal with this whole life list and blog stuff?

My end goal is to accomplish everything on my ever-growing life list, which, when all is said and done, are just steps to my ultimate goals of making a decent living being an artist and living off the grid. The quickest way to start making a living from my artistic endeavors is to go public.

I’m grateful for my job, but it’s not what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s also not what I want to be doing in six years. I’m proud of what I do for a living, but it doesn’t make my soul sing. And the older I get, the louder the siren song of soul gets and I’m, frankly, too old and tired to resist it much longer.

What does The Boyfriend™ think of this blog stuff?

I don’t know because I haven’t told him about it yet. My blog is only a minute-and-a-half old, but I don’t think he’ll mind very much. In fact, if his previous actions are any indications, he’ll be incredibly supportive. I’m officially going on record as saying that, outside of my family and close friends, I have never met anyone as supportive and understanding of my dreams as he is. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful that he turned out to be more than the fling he was supposed to be, and that he keeps choosing to stick around – despite my mild craziness and hyperactive children.

Aren’t you afraid that what you say on your blog could get you in trouble?

Nope. Not really.

No, seriously. You’re in the middle of a divorce – a blog could hurt you in the long run.

The Ex isn’t all that bad and I don’t think I gave him too much to hate me for. In his own way, he was supportive of my creative efforts, too. So far, the divorce stuff has been amicable (a few hiccups notwithstanding), and we’ve been in agreement about most of the finer points. At the end of the day, we were too different and too young to do something as important as getting married. We did and we shouldn’t have, and I think we both recognize that. We got a couple of great kids out of the deal, and we had a few good years in there, but there’s really no point in making each other as unhappy as we did for as long as we did.

Long answer, short: I honestly don’t think he’ll use the blog against me.

No, SERIOUSLY. You have a fairly important job that keeps you mildly public. Couldn’t your blog draw unwanted attention and get you in trouble?

I am fortunate enough that The Bosses are also my parents. God love my parents, they’re as supportive as The Boyfriend™ of my creative endeavors. The Patere is nothing if not informational and I’ve learned quite a bit from him about taking an action down the road (as he likes to say). While I retain the right to say whatever I want on my blog, I will exercise a good deal of caution when it comes to discussing most – if not all – aspects of my job on my blog.

Besides, I spend most of my time at my job and I really don’t want to talk about it when I’m off the clock.

And if it does get me in trouble, I can always start using AdSense on here, market the hell out of myself on Facebook and MySpace, spam every one in my email contact list, and try to make a living that way.

See? I always have a back-up plan.

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