Recently, my friend introduced me to a man named Sir Ken Robinson. (Okay, I actually haven't, like, personally met Ken, but I've listened to him enough to be BFFs with him at this point.) He's got some stellar Ted Talks and some other great videos online. My favorite? This one where he talks about passion.
Something about that talk and some recent conversations with friends sparked something in me. Like, my soul visited grandma, ate too much sugar, and can't sit still for the life of her. That's exactly how it feels.
Sitting still feels all kinds of wrong. A couple weeks ago on a Tuesday night, I thought I might have legitimately lost my mind. I wanted to drive to a far away mountain peak and scream at the top of my lungs, I wanted to dye my hair pink again or go skinny dipping (also again... shhh), and really, I just wanted to do something to break free from my current "sitting still" lifestyle. (Which resulted in this steak at 10 PM and intentionally staying up way past my bedtime escapade.)
I guess I've discovered that I like to break rules. Not at all in a go to jail (do not pass go, do not collect $200) kind of way. More in the letting go of the "what I'm supposed to do" kind of fake rules I sometimes let control my life.
When I go to bed and set my alarm clock on my phone, it tells me how many hours of sleep I'm going to get. I always feel guilty if it's less than 8. Because somewhere, I learned that rule. And I'm working at a full-time job because, well, that's what you're supposed to do when you graduate, right? (Plus, that's how you get insurance and all that good stuff. Because society.)
It's not like those things are wrong. But who ever decided they were right? And most importantly, who ever decided they were right for me?
I realize this is a really rambly post. I won't even complain if you think I'm crazy after trying to read it. And really, I'm not going to apologize, because, I'm breaking rules these days. When I say breaking rules, I think I really mean, being free. Flying. Because instead of listening to those "you should do this" "you're supposed to be like this" rules that I heard somewhere, I'm learning how to make real choices. Doing what's right is a lot more about actively finding my own passion and my own joy than about what someone else would recommend or what John Tesh said last night. (Don't get me wrong, I'm actually a big John Tesh fan.)
On a different note that may only feel related in my mind:
I recently went to SNAP! Conference and Elevate Conference. I hung out with all kinds of stellar bloggers with deep senses of passion and creativity and drive. Both conferences felt almost... healing. Like waking up after finally getting a good nights sleep. As I sat in a google analytics class listening to the speaker, I found myself completely tuning him out. Partially because he was brilliant and therefore totally going over my head. But also because I remembered an idea that's been working its way around my brain for over a year now. And suddenly, the idea felt like a possibility. So, I stopped listening to the google analytics jargon, pulled out my notebook, and wrote the first chapter of my book.
And then, there I was at Elevate. Sitting on the floor because I wanted more doodle space than my lap can provide. And suddenly, blog friends were making sure they picked their seats based on where I was so that they could watch me doodle. My day was filled with all kinds of "you need to open a shop" and "why can't I buy this print?" kinds of comments. And my heart said "yes yes yes!" and my brain said "you don't have time, you have a full-time job, what if people don't actually buy anything, what if you're not good enough, it's too scary." And then the fabulous Lisa Leonard said wonderful things about being brave and being yourself and taking chances. She said "If you don't give up, you will succeed." and "You're not a failure, you can do it. You just have to find a way."
So, here we are a couple of major brain storm sessions later. I've got a book in the works, the beginnings of a revamped website, and a shop on its way to being open with my very own hand-lettered prints. And I want to vomit just thinking about pressing publish on this post. Because then these things aren't my secret projects - they're real life. But deep down, I know that's what I actually want them to be.