Sunday, July 2, 2017

But, but...

It's day two of my journaling challenge, and as soon as I posted day one yesterday, I started thinking of all the reasons someone might not want to do it.

"I'm not a good artist."
No problem. I was inspired to start this by looking at art journal pages, and some of my pages will be covered with paint splotches and pen doodles. But if you don't feel artistic, just write things down.

"I'm not a good writer."
Also no problem. Think of it this way: would you love to have a month's worth of journal entries from a parent or grandparent? Of course you would! Would you care if they were written in a polished, publish-ready manner? I doubt it. You'd love having the content regardless.

"I don't have time."
Five minutes a day. Four sentences a day. One page a day. Pick a realistic goal, and give it a try.

"I'll be on vacation for part of July."
Bring your journal with you. Or write your notes in a private blog. Or set a daily alarm, jot down a few thoughts on a notes page on your phone, then transfer to an actual journal when you get back. (You should probably actually do this part, because how likely are you to pass down your old phone to your children along with other keepsakes?)

Have I convinced you to do it? I hope so. The challenge for day two is to write about a time (or times) when you missed an opportunity. Did you talk yourself out of something that you later regretted? Did you wait too long, and then your chance was gone?

I just missed my chance to see a musical called In the Heights, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the insanely talented guy who also did Hamilton. It was in Austin for most of June, and when I realized that, I thought, "Ooh, I'd love to see that show! Maybe for our anniversary. Oh, wait, Matt doesn't really love musicals. Maybe I'll go alone. Or with a friend. Maybe toward the end of the month."

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I wish that I had made a decision and booked it right away, because by the time I realized that it was wrapping up, the tickets were all sold out. Boo.

Another time that I waited too long was in high school. We were at my friend Bryan's house, and they had a rope swing in a tall tree in their backyard. You had to climb onto the shed and swing out, and I was too scared to take the leap. I stood there on the shed, letting other people go in front of me, and when it was time to go, I sat in the car thinking, "I wish I'd done it. I'll bet it was really fun."

Fast forward to a couple years ago at my sister's house. They also had a tree swing, a huge one that looked both fun and terrifyng. As my nieces and nephews took their turns swinging, I thought of that day at Bryan's and decided that I didn't want to have the same regret. I climbed the rickety ladder and put my foot through the loop, then let go before I had a chance to think any more about it.
You can consider this a metaphor about taking risks and living life to the fullest if you like, but I'm trying to say, quite literally, do it. Book the musical today, and if lots of people have successfully ridden the swing ahead of you and the tree branch looks pretty strong, jump on there and have a swing.

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