Thursday, July 6, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 6

A few months ago, I thumbed through my 2016 diaries. The pages reminded me of a long and winding road, each thick, spiral notebook filled with twists and hairpin turns. The volumes were a rehash of the previous year, 2015, my "annus horribilis."  I'd felt an urgent need to write openly about it, perhaps in a non-fiction book, but I didn't dare. My words could hurt innocent people--and enrage the guilty. I put the journals in a box. Blogging about food seemed like a safe substitution, seeing as I hadn't lost my fascination with recipes and photography.
It was a goal I wouldn't keep. 


My old journals indicated that I had a penchant for picking at scabs and sore spots. I should have covered them with Band-aids. Goals can be ignored if you're mopping up blood.
Where would I be in 2018? The same damn place?
I pulled in a cleansing breath, then took my first step.
I needed to ask hard questions, and I needed candid answers. Was I ever again going to write with clear-eyed honesty? As for my blog, did it have a pulse? Did I need to give it my best or hit the delete button? Wait, what was my best? I love to cook, but I'm a hit-or-miss home chef. I'm a wimpy DIYer and not because I'm allergic to bleach and paint. Decorating has been a huge part of my life, but I have a tendency to create ugliness, and I don't even care. For a while, tablescapes were delightful. I gave up when I felt the need to turn a basement space into a dish room. Couldn't I find a better use for that sunny spot?

Halfway into 2017, I remembered something.
Writing was my oxygen. 

I love spending my days with paper and ink. But it's not without problems and risk. If only I can scratch down to the place where truth hides. If only I can peel away the ugly bits of publishing. . . maybe my story could help someone else.





So I made new goals. Almost immediately, I remembered my tendency to create plans and get distracted by the esoteric. I questioned the nature of goals. Did they shine a light at the end of the path or leave us in the dark, smirking when we walked in tight, little circles?

 Sometimes the wrong goal can feel right.
Sometimes the right goal can feel wrong.
A good outcome depends on the goal and its motives, but that's a topic for another day.
Finally, I wondered if the word "goal" needed to be redefined. 
Maybe a goal is really a journey, one that contains day trips, alternate routes, and unscheduled stops.
I can stay on the well-defined path or wade into high grasses. As long as I'm moving forward, I'm making progress. And it's okay to be scared.

Today I will continue on a path called The Give-Back Boulevard. It's wide and deep,
and there's plenty of room. I hope you'll join me.

22 comments:

  1. I think your series is so timely in my life today. Before I retired I worried about everything. I had goals, work for health insurance and money to travel. MY goals today are to take the best care of my husband, love my family and be as joyful as I can be. I received a coffee cup for Christmas.It says "Don't Look Back, Your Not Going That Way" I read my cup every morning. I love waking up in the morning and knowing I get another opportunity to learn, enjoy my garden and rest in the afternoon to read and nap. Life is a journey and I know today everything is going to work out if I pause and be grateful for the life I have today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A special cup is a fantastic way to start the day!

      Delete
  2. wonderful post! very helpful thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been following your blog for a number of years and have always found it inspiring with wonderful photos and recipes. Your joyful living guide is a interesting read. Thanks for sharing yourself and your inner most thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am grateful that you kept reading, Judee. Bless you!

      Delete
  4. I find that giving is gratitude and gratitude is grounding...lots of things to think about today...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Michael Lee, I feel like reading this I got to know the real you. Thank you for your honesty. The give-back boulevard is a wise road for all of us to take!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loving your guide to joyful living. I actually started a second blog, nonies paradise, to tell my story away from the sewing blog. Then I chickened out and started just blogging around the edges, it was safe there. I so wanted to help other seniors that found themselves, where I am in life. But can not find the courage to express my deeper feelings.
    I didn't know anyone else had problems, everyone in blog land always seemed to have it all together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said it perfectly, Nonie--"blogging around the edges." My posts were so vanilla and in no way reflected real life. It took a long time to work up my courage to write from the heart...I am still working on it.

      Delete
  7. I'd love to join you on your journey, on the Give-Back Boulevard, Michael Lee! Thanks for taking me along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. πŸŒΊπŸŒΈπŸ‘©πŸ»‍🌾

      Delete
  8. I think we can all relate to your thoughts. I've heard an expression "You can't move forward if you're looking back in the rear view mirror"! I'm hitched on to the Give-Back Boulevard - Let's see where the road takes us!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been away from my favorite blogs for a bit, and I have just read your new series all at once... with tears in my eyes. I'm sixty-two, and I've not felt like blogging about how to transfer an image to a chalk painted box with three different methods for quite a while. I loved doing that while I was doing it, but not now. I feel like there's something else I would like to say on my blog, but I'm not sure how to say it - something more worthwhile about life that I feel I've finally been blessed to learn in my sixty-two years. I'm feeling wise lately, so incredibly happy, and like I have a secret I'd like to share about how I got here. Like maybe a "long road to contentment" diy! Well, I clicked on your blog today, and here you are saying it. I've been moved to tears, I congratulate you on the talent you have to find the perfect words to describe what you've found to be important from your (our) end of life and I thank you for sharing it. How incredibly wonderful of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurel, your kind words lift my heart. Thank you for writing them! I love your idea of a "long road to contentment diy," and I look forward to your journey!

      Delete
  10. I'm glad that path is wide and deep with plenty of room because I'm going to walk it with you as I'm sure many others plan to do. Let's go!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I feel like I spend a lot of time walking in circles. I love the philosophy that a goal is a journey with alternate routes!

    ReplyDelete