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Joy in the Doing

There is a magic secret about joy that seems to always evade us when we’re sitting there waiting for it to arrive.

The secret is that joy doesn’t work like that. It arrives in what we do and what we make. It is entwined with the actions that we take each day. It can last, but only if we give it the attention to make sure that it stuck around.

Eddie Schleyner, from VeryGoodCopy had a recent post as part of a series. Day 9 is the one I want to bring to attention.

He used a quote that hit me hard. It came from Darren Brown

When we live for our goals, we forget to live now. When you listen to a piece of music, you don’t just skip to the end because that’s when it all comes together. You don’t read the last chapter of a book because it’s the climax. In life, we’re obsessed with endings… And so we forget that maybe life is more like a piece of music–and we’re supposed to be dancing.

Darren Brown

Having my entire life function because of music, I am fully brought into the present as I am planning a move. A move that has literally no plans after I get there.

It is f*cking terrifying. As a person who loves a plan and working a plan (that I created mind you) this is a test of my faith.

It is so not the way that I envision this transition a year ago when I realized that it was the beginning of the end of my time in Charleston. Do I regret the time I have spent here?

No, it has been a blessing that I couldn’t have had exactly as it played out. As I get notifications this month about the month I spent in Charlotte getting out of my own bubble and finding out that what I had back in Texas was just as unhealthy as I remember.

But the story goes back a year before that. In 2016 I was not happy with my life, I was not sure how to dig myself out and I didn’t know what was going to happen, damn if I was going to stay in the same space and just let what I didn’t want to happen keep happening.

So I stopped fighting the thoughts that I didn’t like what I had, and that I was no longer willing to settle. I was debating all the parts of my life. My work, my home, my relationship.

I decided to change all of them. I made an exit plan. I signed a nine-month lease with the intention of leaving the state at the end of it. I would have a modular job–one I could work anywhere by then (not quite what happened) and I was breaking up with the boyfriend at labor day. I was giving him 30 days to show that he was different now that I had a different outlook on things. I broke up with him on Labor day.

At this point, everyone says that I was brave. I still don’t totally understand why that’s the word that they use, but I get from their experience that’s what it was.

I was merely doing what had to be done. I was suffocating in a box that I hadn’t built. I was merely leaving the box. I’ve done that kind of breaking out of the box before, though this was the first time I was doing it solo. The first time I had someone prying the lid off of me. This time I was breaking out on my own.

It was an experience I hope I never have to repeat in my lifetime again.

Because that means that I have been letting people decide my life, instead of choosing what I want and chasing it.

I can look back and see the things that I really wanted–my first year at college, a former relationship, a move across the country to a place where I didn’t know anyone–and see how they came about. Sheer grit mostly.

But the thing is. I’ve always done something to make them happen. I didn’t sit around and wait for happiness (we’re going to ignore the times that I’ve tried traditional meditation) to come to me.

I’m realizing that is a part of my personality, my upbringing, and my native tendencies.

This week I’m wrestling with a decision that will leave me settling for something that I like doing but I know that it’s taking time and energy from building my business. It is also keeping me from making other decisions because they hinge on what that decision is.

Decide and Do

The greatest gift you can give yourself is to get up and do. There is healthy debate and research and then there is a point where you have over researched and now have too much information to get a thing done.

Part of that is why I only read a chapter of a personal development book a day. It keeps it a part of my constant learning and growing but it doesn’t become a thing that I want to change all the things that I’m doing.

I also attempt to only change one thing about my habits at a time. I need to know if this one thing works, in conjunction with everything else, or if it breaks all the cogs*.

Blame that particular method on the fact that my father wanted (wants) me to be an engineer and therefore made sure I understood how we experiment with the most efficiency.

Like how I didn’t mind writing longer posts for the last few weeks, but my page views are actually down because I’m writing the same number of words, but I’ve only been doing a post a week. I’m debating changing that back or if I try another method to make things easier to read first. Like not writing them the day that I’m planning on posting something.

It lets me react to a deadline the way that I usually do, but at the same time I’m not sure that it’s my best work.

I’m not tinkering with it all week, like I was, before I hit publish. As a result, I don’t know what I feel about it. I’m also debating this attempt at writing on a specific topic for a month or so. Or maybe it should just be a month. Again, all the decisions.

But this week, I’m still giving you homework, trust me this is a part of the process. I want you to take your five minutes a day and make it ten. Is it easy? Is it hard? Do you find if it’s easier to stack it all in one day and then have the rest of the week go by?

As always, remember that you fix your life five minutes at a time,

*like the time that I tried to have a task list with only three things on it and then nothing got done. I like to pretend I have a choice about getting things done. I also tried that ‘eat the frog’ system and that as a practice doesn’t work for me. I’ve learned that I have to listen to the muse and let her decide exactly what order we’re doing some things today.

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