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My bookmarks have arrived. If you’ve been following along, you know I set myself a theme for the year. My theme is Do Your Own Thing. If you’ve been following along, you know I printed bookmarks with this theme on them.

And now my bookmarks are here and…


I have to say, I am not always deliriously pleased with the things I do, but in this case I am beside myself with delight.

For a minute I had an idea, and did something creative with it.

I spent the better part of December engaged in an argument with myself. About what I wanted to do and what I should do. What I was doing and what I kept thinking about doing, yet… not.

I spent the better part of December feeling alternately lost and determined, useful and unfocused, competent and slothful, ready and completely over it.

It was that state of mind that led to my theme of the year.

Do your own thing.

It happened in part because I was tired of having to should. I should clean the closet. I should lift the weights. I should go to the mailroom, even though the cookies from my mother came to my door and there couldn’t possibly be anything useful in the mailroom after that.

In the end I decided there was nothing I SHOULD be doing. There was only what I was, in fact, doing, or what I would do.

It part it happened because I’m tired of being told what to do. Tired of being directed. Use this journal. Follow that method. Learn to do it this way. Figure out how to do it that way.

It should be noted here that there is no actual person standing over my shoulder and doing this directing. It’s just a general sense of someone always knowing better, knowing the right way, assuring me that whatever I’m doing, I should stop and do this other thing because it has way more merit.

Ralph uses a Bullet Journal. What that is doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it works for him and he loves it. For the past couple of years I’ve been trying desperately to use a Bullet Journal. I mean, if it works that spectacularly for him, it should work for me too, right?

I’ve tried it. I’ve watched courses on it. I’ve watched more courses on it. I’ve tried it again.

It still doesn’t work for me, which is exactly why I keep trying to make it work for me. Because there must be something wrong with me if all these people in the world love this Bullet Journal and I can’t even figure out how to make a bullet point. Right?

So I try harder. And when my round self doesn’t fit into the square hole I shave pieces off myself to make them fit.

And… why?

Why do I do this?

There is no good answer to that, and thus…

Do your own thing.

A thing that works for someone else does not have to work for me. Even if the thing works for every other living being on the planet, it still doesn’t have to work for me.

I don’t have to like what anyone else likes. Or think what anyone else thinks. Or do what anyone else does.

Apparently it took me 54 years to come to this conclusion.

I’m not trying to be a unique snowflake but that doesn’t mean I need to overcompensate by being a pile of slush instead.

In many ways I try to be so compliant and so accommodating and so don’t-rock-the-boat that I rarely get adamant about much of anything. It rarely seems worth the effort to have an opinion. We’re not talking about great questions of morality and existentialism. If someone says Use the Bullet Journal, I’ll use the Bullet Journal.

Even if it doesn’t work for me.

Except… not anymore. Not this year, at least. I’m over that. I am going to live like I have thoughts and ideas and opinions, and if they don’t align with anyone else’s that’s too bad.

Also this is not about the Bullet Journal, but I think you get that.

My bookmarks arrived.

I spent the better part of December arguing with myself and then one day after about three bourbons I picked out a few things that represent ME and I sat down with Photoshop and turned them into a bookmark.

I picked sunflowers, because I love them most of all the flowers in the world. I picked the ocean because I love that too. I picked seagulls because I love seagulls.

I put the ocean on one side of the bookmark, with my theme of the year printed on top of it. I put the sunflowers, with seagulls flying overhead in the sky on the other.

And in the sky with the seagulls I put a shark. Because why shouldn’t there be a shark swimming in the sky? She is doing her own thing.

And I just freaking love them.

I love them more because I didn’t second guess them. I didn’t think about whether anyone else would get it or like them. I didn’t care if my Photoshop skills were any good or if I got the pictures aligned the right way. I didn’t ask for ideas or opinions or approvals from anyone at all. I made them, I ordered them, and then I showed them off.

It gets better. Because I showed Ralph and he loved them. He loved them a lot, and even if he didn’t it still would have been ok, but it’s nice to have the validation. He loved them so much that he said it more than once and then asked me about my design process. I’ve never had a design process before. But now I do, and it’s mine.

It kind of made me want to do my own thing more often. It made me realize I can actually have a thing.

Maybe it sounds silly to be so delighted by a rectangle of card stock, but I’m perfectly fine with that because the bookmarks make me happy, the process made me happy, and they will be a reminder this year that I get to have things, and do them, and make them mine.

And also that sharks can swim in the sky, because of course they can.