The other day I was pondering my next big fantastic PLAN FOR MY LIFE. No pressure. See, I got all hot and flustered by this book: An Illustrated Journey by Danny Gregory.
It’s a gorgeous book filled with journal pages of artists around the globe. Naturally, I felt that being one of these people would be better than anything ever. I decided to draw or paint something every single day in my journal.
Here is Day 1:
I call this Curious Dog.
Here is Day 2:
I call this Alert Dog.
Every time I thought about getting out my paints, I did something else instead. I just couldn’t motivate myself to begin an illustrated journal. This act of launching a GRAND IDEA followed by an IMMEDIATE FAILURE must live in the same part of the brain as “Weight loss as a New Year’s Resolution.”
I’m a writer first, painter second. Now don’t kid yourself. I can paint. I’m just MORE of a writer. That’s MORE me. That’s where I lean, despite the fact that I’ve used a lot of “that’s” in this paragraph. That really is the truth. And my Paris Letters and Travel Letters really sing with the words accompanied by the paint (the music). I’m better with lyrics. But lyrics without music is just a poem. It’s not a song.
Then I read this little ditty from Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest Facebook update:
“I was thinking today about all the other paths that I did not take in life, no matter how shiny and appealing they may have looked. I’ve had the possibility of living so many different kinds of life that could have been a dream for somebody else. I never choose those lives. I’ve never lived the dreams that other people wanted for themselves — nor have I lived the dreams that other people may have wanted for me.
I never had children…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I never took the opportunities that were offered to me after the success of EAT PRAY LOVE to have a TV show of my own…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I never took a good steady job teaching writing at a nice college…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I didn’t remain in Bali or Rome, gorgeous as those places are…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I turn down 99% of the invitations I get to attend to fancy parties and stellar gatherings…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I sold my big beautiful house with its fabulous gardens and lovely library…because one day I looked around at that gorgeous home and realized: “This is somebody else’s dream.” (Happily, I sold the house to the family whose dream it actually was. So we all win.)
I never hired a team of personal assistants and staff and consultants to help me “grow my brand”…because that’s somebody else’s dream.
I know what makes me come to life — working on my books — and this picture tells the whole story. Knowing what makes me come to life has helped me to distinguish between my dreams and the dreams of others.”
So that clears things up.
There have been some niggly invitations brewing in the back of my inbox. Things that sound good in theory and could help book sales sail along, but there is a hesitation. And of course, the hesitation is that these invitations are linked to the dreams of others, not me. That’s the truth.
I just want to write and paint my letters.
And be amazing at playing guitar, yoga and being tidy. But I just can’t be bothered to be good at all of it. Even this here blog post is a solid B. It just doesn’t have the ingredients to be rockin’ an A. That’s just the way it is.
I think the key here is that one needs two things to get ‘er done:
The Want + The Energy
I have energy to write in my journal every single day. I don’t have the energy to add paint.
I do have the energy to paint a Paris Letter and a Travel Letter every single month. I don’t have the energy to do it every day in my journal.
And now my job is to be okay with that.
And now my job is to be okay with ending a sentence with “that.”