Personal Challenge 3 of 20
It occurred to me sometime in the last couple of weeks that I am happiest when I'm working on what I think of as my "personal projects"-- that is projects that have no other purpose than because they are meaningful to me.
This is not something I feel I do often enough (even though I have considerably more time to do it than many other people I know and am super grateful for the time that I do have). Maybe you can relate. There are a lot of people who are so busy trying to survive in the world-- or live up to expectations, or recover from being smashed into holes they weren't made for (see previous post). It seems to me that many of us spend a lot of time doing what we "should" or "need to."
I know this is a common theme in my writing, the truth is I do this to myself A LOT. I have more free time than most people I know and I am VERY, VERY fortunate for this gift yet I find myself squandering it on things that don't really matter to me. Lately I have been asking myself why this is the case? If I have all this time and so many opportunities why aren't I doing the things I want to do?
The answers to this question vary depending on the day and circumstance of course. For example in March I was sick for several weeks because I had started using Maca powder on a daily basis to help with energy/ depression and didn't realize I had an allergic reaction until it had been in my system for about a month. Many times though the answer lies in the value (or lack of value) I place on my own desires.
Maybe this comes from living in a goal orientated society. Maybe this is because I just have desire to be "as I should" or because I place more value than I'd like to admit on other people's opinions of me and/ or whether or not I'll ever be economically independent. These are things I could and probably will explore in more depth later. However, I am thinking that now is a good time to take part in my own personal "mini-rebellion" against my previous goal/ value-orientated way of doing things (I write this with the irony of knowing that this blog is part of a 20 day personal goal I set myself only a couple posts ago-- I guess this is why the rebellion is "mini").
I have come to realize that I don't actually like when people ask me what I've been doing or what I'm going to do because it makes me feel like I need to do something specific with a concrete goal in mind. I feel guilty (and this is entirely on me and not the people asking about my day) when I admit that I spent the day reading or meditating or editing pictures-- especially if I know there is no career-based link between my activities.
I have things I want to work on because they are important to me. Is that a waste of time? I tell myself it is, but in the end I don't believe it. Life has to be more than a career or an identity. Life is an experience and we get to choose some of what that experience is. Granted things come up and there are practical considerations, etc, but if I want to be someone who is knowledgeable about herbal remedies regardless of whether I make a career out of it or not then why not learn? If I want to go on "adventures" then how long will I wait to actually go? Life is more than working or being "valuable", it has to be or else... what's the point?
This is something I have struggled with for a long time now. It has brought me to the brink of suicide on more than one occasion and maybe that is why I spend so much of this writing space talking about it. If life is only about being of "value" to society like I used to believe and I am fundamentally broken, then what's the point?
So I'm trying a new perception out. Maybe life is about experience what I want to experience and maybe "value" can have a different definition than I used to believe. There are many things that I do and I imagine an outsider looking in and asking me why? Why?
I don't know, I respond to the imagined outsider, I just want to. Maybe that's enough.
Disclaimer: Doing what you "want" still needs to happen within limits to be responsible (I believe at least). I mean you can't go around hurting people because you "want" to and expect that to be okay. There are still consequences but sometimes the consequences are worth it (ie people thinking you are lazy when you take time to invest in learning something they don't see the value of or when you take time to rest) I guess this is where the concept of discernment comes in.