Long time, no see! Let me reintroduce myself. Since we last met I had a birthday (52!), asked my sister to ship me toilet paper from Oklahoma, learned to match my clothes to a mask, avoided being stung by murder hornets, watched Hamilton from the comfort of my living room and, like Dorothy, saw that although the world I live in is technicolor, for many of my friends it’s still black and white.
The very existence of this blog is one of the great inconsistencies of my life. I am a revolving door of emotions: fear, enjoyment, self-confidence, embarrassment. Motivated then unmotivated about writing. Why not just have a journal? Write for yourself, for your future self. But, I like interacting with people, sharing my thoughts and feelings with others. Except when I don’t. Sometimes paralysis sets in, what if someone thinks (fill_in_the_blank) about me and what I write. Or, is it more painful to think that no one reads it or cares. Painfully comforting? Can both of those things be true? Well, here I am, back in your life–if you choose to have me–trying to revive a silly little blog in the midst of a great big world of crazy.
The upside-down COVID year seemed like a great time to dust off the blog and try to reconnect with people. But, as the social unrest and political divide increased, the more my silly little blog seemed just that, silly. Plus, who needs another white woman’s take on the world. I’m not trying to discount the value of every person’s story, I just wondered if maybe the lens I see the world through might be more narrow that I previously realized. I felt both a strong need to connect with others and a continuing contracting of my own world. Thoughts in a vacuum are rarely worth listening to, and yet, 2020 provided too much time in my own head. I turned inward when I would have felt better reaching out. I took up overthinking like others grew a sourdough starter or learned to knit. That’s how I spent my time, a lot of thinking, and not enough doing. When time isn’t the enemy maybe the enemy is yourself.
Then, last fall, I was interviewed as part of a class assignment by a local teacher getting their Master’s degree to be a school librarian. We met via Zoom and had a great discussion about my job, my library system and the place of libraries in society. I like to talk, especially about libraries, so while he was grateful for my time, I was equally grateful, too. As he closed out the meeting, to rush off to meet with his 3rd graders in their virtual classroom, he asked me how many of the 100 things you should do before you grow up I had completed. What? I felt like my dog, Britta, on her first exploration of the boardwalk in Oceanside, CA coming upon a gold-painted saxophone player warbling notes on a sidewalk. I’m sure my expression of surprise, confusion and amusement looked a lot like Britta’s. I laughed. I stuttered. He laughed and said he’d done some research about me (he’ll be a good librarian) before our meeting and had come across the blog. I stammered that I wasn’t actually sure how many I’d completed, 25 maybe? I explained that I’d considered many times in 2020 starting it up again but it felt frivolous. He kindly said he’d liked it and thought it was a fun idea, especially when things were so challenging. Which, I’m embarrassed to admit, I took into my soul like a 3rd grader pleased to have their drawing complimented by the teacher.
It was that easy and now I’m back. I’m giving myself the grace to embrace that life includes all emotions. Times of sadness and stress make fun and laughter even more important. So, even silly little blogs might have a place in this stressful, scary, divided world. I’m privileged to live a very good life. My months of thinking instead of acting did bring about some changes. I don’t want to do this alone. I’m dragging you along with me. Obviously if a stranger’s random mention of this blog provided the external motivation to jumpstart it again, I’m definitely going to need each of you to externally motivate me! Each challenge I’m going to ask someone for advice or to do it along with me. Volunteers are welcome! The more the merrier. It’s not unprecedented. My brother, Daryle, joined me at a hockey game for the professional sporting event challenge. When I tackled the 5K challenge, I was coached by my good friend, Mona, who is a master motivator and runner/marathoner extraordinaire, and another friend and co-worker, Ofie, ran the race, too. I’ve benefited from the support and advice of others during many a challenge but I’ve set a goal to complete 40 challenges in 2021 and there is no way I can do this by myself. I hope you will read and laugh and think about what it meant to be a kid and what it means to be alive today. Let’s live and laugh and learn about ourselves and each other. Ready?
Before you go…I’ve completed 14 challenges. 14 in 4 years. Which is terrible. I’m at 14%. In 2019, 14% of adults over 18 smoked cigarettes, the average CEO pay increased 14% and e-retail sales accounted for 14% of all retail sales worldwide. I’m betting all of those increased in 2020, with the help of external forces, so my odds of raising my percentage must be just as good. With any luck and a lot of external pressure, I’ll be over 50% this time next year. The CEOs and e-retail sales might be, too. Hopefully not the smokers, though. Thanks for reading, I’ve missed you.