I haven’t written in awhile.
I had an internal crisis the other day about how I haven’t written in awhile. Was my ambition gone? Was I lazy? Because I mean… somewhere inside me lives the girl that once created a whole summer schedule which consisted only of my couch and my TV (like literally I wouldn’t make plans because Saved by the Bell was on at 11).
I haven’t written in awhile.
After the initial freak out / internal crisis in which I tore apart my life including what I was doing and where I was going (sorry mom), I realized that it might, actually, be OK.
I realized that it might, actually, be a good thing.
Because I realized that on top of not writing, I hadn’t thought about any goals (outside of work of course — give me a break here — I am who I am), I hadn’t gone nuts on my planner or purchased a new one for the 16th time this year in order to design a new life (damn you, Paper Source), I hadn’t thought about moving away or staying or changing or losing weight or cutting my hair off or looking for the next thing or being an entrepreneur or uprooting my life or changing my "aesthetic."
I realized that instead of thinking so much about my life, I was actually out there living it.
My grandma and I were sitting in our hut in Mexico a couple years back. We were sipping tequila (yes, sipping tequila). I asked her how she’d built such a great life for herself — one with family, friends, love — happiness. She told me she had never really set any goals. She told me she had simply done what made her happy — gone toward things that lit her up. She told me she surrounded herself with good people and a good outlook, and the rest had always worked out in the end.
She told me this as I sat there, thinking about how many minutes, hours, days — weeks of my life I had spent sitting at my computer treating my life like a strategic business plan. I couldn’t grasp a life without goals and tactics to get to where I wanted to go. I couldn’t imagine a world with less rules and more feeling.
I’ve always looked up to her for this way of thinking freely and living your way through life — for a long time I forgot how to apply it to myself.
Because for a long time all I did was plan. All I did was figure out how many hours I needed to write in order to publish a book. All I did was dream and write out intricate — perfect — ways to get there.
But you see that was the problem.
Because the planning and the goal-setting? It was all that I did.
I called my friend the other day after having my (overly dramatic) internal crisis.
“I just don’t really know what’s next anymore. I’m not writing and I don’t really have a plan.”
I couldn’t really get my head around the fact that I, for the first time in a long time, didn’t have a spreadsheet with my strategy for living (listen Linda, I know that sounds psycho).
As I sat there telling her this, I also explained that, on top of not having any clear goals at the moment or writing much, I was actually, the happiest I had been.
“It scares me.”
I told her this because I was uncomfortable. Uncomfortable not having the perfectly laid out strategy to propel my life forward. I was confused about the fact that not having that perfect plan was making me happier than before — I was confused about what to do and where to turn.
I was confused about the fact that I actually liked my life exactly how it was — something I hadn’t felt for so long.
I think for a long time I thought that if I lived a life without goals and a perfectly crafted budget, schedule, and plan to get there — that it was a waste.
But I don’t believe that anymore.
I’ve learned to let go — to be OK if I have a lazy day. To let myself live my life and drink beer and have fun and be weird and not care so much.
I’ve learned that in order to be a great writer you need to have things to write about — you need to have stories worth telling and experiences worth sharing.
I’ve learned that I wasted years of my life setting goals around writing and anything else you can think of while not necessarily going after them. I’ve learned that now, I might as well “waste" some years just living.
I still think goals are important. I still want to write and know I need to incorporate it into my life a little more (hey what’s up hello). I still want to do big things and accomplish a lot. This is all an integral part of who I am.
The difference now is that I don’t hate where I am today just because I’m not where I want to be tomorrow.
The difference now is that I have learned what I want to do versus what I think I should do.
The difference now is that I want to write, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t.
The difference now is that I have realized (remembered) that sometimes, life is about sitting in Mexico with your friends and family — sipping tequila and not thinking about tomorrow.