Monday, May 1, 2023
A thing I have learned after 50+ years of living with myself: I’m a starter. I’m not a finisher. I like things to be new and shiny and unknown and fresh and possible. But once I’m into something, whether it’s a month or a notebook or a barrel sanding project, I want it to be over.
Not right away. I enjoy it first. But then at some point it’s been going on long enough and I’m ready for the new shiny thing again.
Maybe this is a point for further reflection in a future blog. Why am I resistant to finishing what I started? I’m not particularly ADD, though that’s questionable lately, and the more I watch cat videos on Instagram the worse it gets.
But mostly not.
Is it a fear of failure? Or of success? Is it simply boredom? I’m like a cat with a toy. I’ll swat it around for a while but eventually I’m going to need a nap.
People tell you “finish strong.”
But my intention is just to finish, eventually, somehow.
I’m not even talking about major life things. Take a month, for example. I love the beginning of a month. It’s new and has so much potential and I can set up my new journals and task lists and meal plans. I can start my new challenges and think of all the possible things that can happen.
Things go really well for the better part of three weeks or so. But by the last week I’m over it. I want another month.
I phoned in the last few days of April because I was eager to start May. May! So many things can happen in May.
I realize that today is only one day after yesterday, but that doesn’t stop it from being a whole new thing.
Weeks are like that on a smaller scale. By the end of it, I’m ready for it to be over so I can have a new one.
You don’t start a new exercise plan on a Tuesday, it just doesn’t work.
You know what else I love? New notebooks. In the beginning, it’s all crisp and white and empty. It’s waiting for everything to fill it.
When I used to journal in notebooks as opposed to text documents, my handwriting used to get bigger and sloppier the more the book wore on. By the last dozen pages I was drawing giant words and scribbles just to use up space so I could start again.
If a notebook happened to end on the last day of a month, all the better.
Sometimes, I coordinated it like that. Either write more or less depending on the space left, just so I could start a new book and a new month together. If a week, month, and notebook miraculously aligned to begin at the same time, that was the trifecta of happiness right there.
Today is a new week and month, depending on how you calculate your week. I know Sunday is technically the first day of the week, and my calendar is set up that way too, but really Monday is when you begin.
I’m beginning today.
I began a new habit journal. It’s been a while since I did that, and I told myself it was fine, I already do most things by rote at this point. But sometimes I don’t.
Take yesterday, for example. I broke a five month Peloton streak because I forgot to get off the couch.
Do you know what it would have taken for me to NOT break that streak? One minute. I could literally have gotten off the couch and walked across the room with my walk timer on and it would have counted.
I could have done five minutes of weights. I could have continued to sit on the couch and done a meditation.
This would never have happened if I had been giving myself a little red star on my habit tracker.
So I began tracking again.
Things I don’t like beginning: new streaks.
On my new old habit list I put back “clean kitchen after dinner” because if I give myself a little star for doing it, it will happen.
If I look at that empty box because I was too lazy to wash dishes, it will bother me. But if I don’t have the box at all, I don’t care.
So. The box is back.
In a case of karma and all things connected, I just finished the Bullet Journal course that Ralph has been after me to watch. He loves the Bullet Journal and I found no use for the Bullet Journal, but to be fair I didn’t know much about the method except for it being another thing to figure out.
So I started the course, all bright-eyed and ready to learn. I made Bullet Journal entries. I made Bullet Journal notes. I made Bullet Journal logs.
Then somewhere around 85% of the way through the course I just stalled. My Bullet Journal turned into a task list and a place I occasionally wrote “F#@% Monday.”
But today is May, a new month, and I turned the page in my Bullet Journal to a new spread. I began to finish the course.
The penultimate lesson is called “Making a Mess.” It says that your notebook is a laboratory. It is a place to experiment and make a mess, and it doesn’t matter if you get it right or things don’t work out like you thought.
It closes with this: if you get lost, stumble, and fall, there is only one thing to do: begin again.
So I’m beginning.
Of course, he does say you can begin again “right now”, which is true because it’s the beginning of a new week and month. If he had said that to me on a Wednesday, or with three days left in the month, I would have said…
Nope. Can’t today.
Sometimes you just have to begin at the beginning.
Photo: my new page for beginning the month in my Bullet Journal. Helped by a glass of mead.