Wil Wheaton wrote this great blog post on beginning a journey to improve, rather ‘reboot’ his life. It’s more than the New Years’ resolution we make for the sake of saying something; it’s a commitment and a promise to account for change and it’s out there for the world to see. It’s similar to promises I’ve made to myself, only in my case I internalized too much and threw up my hands in defeat after the first month. I give credit to Wil for recording his progress, even when he hasn’t kept up on one or two points.
I’ve tried seasonal bucket lists myself and managed to make a few goals and not even start others. This year the scales will tip and I’ll be closer to fifty than I am looking back at forty, and while I’ve accomplished much (so I’m told) I’m not done yet. First on my list always is to be happy. I find it’s the hardest thing for me to achieve. It’s something I can do, though, if like Wil I try a power reset.
While watching coverage on CNN after Prince’s death, one observation made struck me. I can’t remember who said it, but that person made the point that Prince wasn’t afraid to fail. Think about what Prince accomplished in under four decades, though, and you focus mainly on the peaks. Amazing music, a now-classic film, an aura of genius. Part of that genius came from his ability to just do things and find a way to make things go his way when obstacles attempted to block him. That confidence, coupled with his talent, is why our grandchildren and their grandchildren will know his name and music.
I don’t expect people to be reading my books 400 years from now, but I’m more concerned about the now anyway. I’ve thought of goals to work toward in my life reboot, and I have a few ideas:
Overcome fear of failure: The more I think about this, I suppose I don’t fear failure. I think I’m just tired of failing altogether and letting it consume me. Some people have tried to assure me I’ve done no such thing, but that’s hard to hear over the Grand Canyon that is my monthly sales report. To overcome this specter of can’t, I don’t check reports from book vendors anymore. Instead I’ll focus this time on writing the next book. I suppose, then, I should change this read Be less concerned about failure.
Walk at least 30 minutes a day: My one problem with exercise is that I become obsessed once I start a program. My mother gave me an old Fitbit last year, and all I thought about was making the 10k steps daily. It consumed me, and when that happens I find I don’t enjoy myself. Well, recently a health challenge started at hubby’s work, and as it’s tied to insurance I decided to play along. I’m not letting it take over, though. I will record my progress and be happy with what I’ve done. I also got a hand me down iPhone and I am loving the Health app. I’m tracking my steps and water and my sleep and not beating myself up for falling short of any marks.
Talk more: By this, I mean talk more online. I don’t do the social in social media much. I lurk, I read, I listen. I learn, I hope, to be less of an ass every day. Gradually, I’ll join conversations if nobody objects.
Listen to music: I listen to music every day, but not as I should. When I was younger, the purchase of an album was an event. We’d pierce the cling wrap, slide out the disc and set it on the turntable. Then we’d sit and listen to every song, flip the record over, and repeat. Sounds like a lot of work compared to music today. While I have no problem with convenience, I do think digital platforms take something away from the record buying experience.
Prince reminded us a few years ago that “albums matter.” Beyonce drove the point home with Lemonade. You watch that stunning video album and you realize you can’t cherry pick songs. You have to hear the whole thing and you can’t keep it in the background while you clean the house. It’s easy to shop and buy only the songs you like/will hear most often. It reminds me of a moment I read in a book about the making of Double Fantasy. The label suggested putting all of John’s songs on one side and Yoko’s on another. She objected, saying if they did that nobody would listen to her songs. She argued for alternating her songs with John’s to give her music a chance. If you’ve ever tried to skip over songs on vinyl, you know it’s a challenge, so you might as well sit and enjoy. As it turned out, alternating the songs boosted the concept of the album – it’s the story of a relationship told through music.
Even though I have my iThing, I’ll make it a goal a few times a week to pick an album and sit with no other distractions, and listen.
I’ll make it a point to account for my progress in all things Absorbing Art, and make it entertaining enough for anybody interested.