Excuses, Excuses

There’s a part of me that’s been curious about the whole bullet-journal concept. I can’t say I’ve put a lot of research into it, because it seems like a lot of work just to keep track of yourself. I mean, people are handwriting their To-Do lists and decorating their journals with stickers and such. Are we trying to recapture the 1980s or something? There are so many digital ways to maintain a calendar, and you don’t have to carry it everywhere and spend time writing out your daily agenda.

And scratching out the mistakes. And tearing out the messy pages and starting again because you simply can’t have a messy journal.

Then again, perhaps it’s easier to think of your life in bullet points. Maybe that’s the simplest way to tap into memories or ideas or creativity. With that in mind, I started a list of possible bullet-point topics:

  • Places: where I’ve lived, where I’ve traveled, where I’d like to visit
  • Experiences: concerts, plays, festivals, conventions, social/political events, historical events I’ve attended or been part of
  • Celebrities I’ve met or seen in person
  • Favorites: foods, books, movies, shows, actors/actresses, musicians, artists, writers, genres

All this is very nice, and it does get my brain churning over things to add to each list, but what do I do with those lists once I’ve compiled them? It is any more useful than any other list I could just as easily find in any random Facebook post? Aside from the momentary recall of events or things long forgotten, does it serve any purpose?

Therein lies my biggest problem: Not seeing the immediate usefulness of a action, I will discard it without making any real attempt. Much like never taking the voice lessons I’ve always wanted, because when will I ever really need to sing? It’s not like I’m planning to go out and start touring. Or never writing that autobiography because my life isn’t any better or worse than anyone else’s, so who would care? Never putting money into really upgrading the website I’ve run for 20 years because there’s nothing “exciting” I can think of to add to it.

I have so many excuses for not doing things, not taking chances. Again, I’m afraid of putting myself out there. I am so afraid of failure or ridicule from others that I stagnate instead. I’m my own devil’s advocate. I’m also notorious for doing this to B, my husband, who is much more a dreamer than I am. He often goes off on wild tangents, telling me all the big ideas he has for this or that, for things he wants to do or learn or build or buy. He’s very big picture. I, however, am the details person. How will that work? What will you need to make that happen? How much will that cost? What will you do with that once you’ve learned/bought/built it?

And the worst: Here’s why that won’t work.

For a long time I joined him in his adventures. We used to do nature photography when we lived in Florida, and we would get up close and personal with alligators, snakes, spiders, and even monkeys. He wouldn’t let my negativity or apprehensions thwart him, and he got me out of my box in a lot of ways. Then we left Florida, and life got less interesting. We tried some hikes when we first moved to Virginia, but the spark was gone. Florida’s wildlife is big, and beautiful, and dangerous. Virginia has bears, yes, but you don’t go looking for those unless you’re insane. Everything else here is small by comparison. Taking photos of robins and cardinals, unless you have time and a really good zoom lens for those once-in-a-blue-moon shots, really isn’t as much fun as getting a shot of a heron or bald eagle in flight, or a wild boar foraging along the water line, or a gator sunning itself on a log, or a cottonmouth snake swimming up to your boat.

At first, money made it difficult to go on new adventures. We didn’t have much when we first moved here, and we didn’t make much in the first few years. Then we had money but no time, because to have enough to live on, we had to work long hours. Then I got my current job, and our income went up substantially, but we moved to an expensive area, so until B found work again we were still living paycheck to paycheck. Then B got his job, and things were better, but we had old debts to take care of, so the extra went there first. Finally, we caught up and were ready to start living again, adventuring, traveling, experiencing new places and people and foods…

And covid happened.

Going on a year now, and the most exciting part of my day is brushing my teeth. B works 6 days most weeks and comes home exhausted. I spend all 7 days trapped here in our little shoebox. We finally got to a place where my excuses wouldn’t hold water anymore, and life threw a curveball that put us right back in our isolated, mundane, forgettable place.

I have enough time now to write that autobiography. I could learn to oil paint, which was a passing fancy I had a few months ago. I could have started drawing again; I’ve bought several sketchbooks and boxes of colored pencils.

But in the absence of other, larger options to make excuses for, these are the things I am left to talk myself out of. And I’m damn good at it.

Another list idea: Things I’d like to learn to FAIL at.

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