I first heard this question, posed in this particular way, in 2013. I was attending a Black women’s wellness conference I’d help to program, and keynote speaker Akilah Richards, invited us to ponder this.
The “but” is intentional. You may be busy, accomplished, getting shit done, but how do you want to FEEL?
The question struck me quite deeply at the time. I was busy, accomplished, getting shit done, but wasn’t feeling great, and hadn’t been for awhile by then. I know now that part of the issue was likely anemia. But the other part was change. Everything about my life and surroundings was different, and I no longer felt like myself.
That question pushed me to think differently about my life and my approach to it.
I’m coming back to this question now as I’m in the middle of reviewing and revising goals. Specifically I’ve been wanting to engineer my days so they are more fulfilling.
In recent years I’ve focused on what I want to do, or accomplish, but I’m realizing I’ve neglected to focus on how I want to feel.
I’ve started jotting a list of the ways I want to feel. So far I have:
I plan to add and subtract and play with this list for a few days, and once it feels right, I’ll brainstorm things I can do (or am already doing!) to feel them more often. I think this will help me find or better use small pockets of time and prioritize certain tasks in more meaningful ways.
Fifth grader Jillian longs to wear bright colors in a school of neutral tones. To run and flip upside down while everyone else whispers and gossips. But no matter how hard she tries to be herself, shyness keeps her true brilliance hidden away. Even if it means getting the wrong glasses or losing an easy contest, Jillian keeps her mouth shut.
After a bully tells her she can never be a winner, Jillian gets fed up. She determines to prove, not only that she’s smart, but brave, too. Her goal? Win the Mind Bender, the school’s biggest battle of wits.
But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done. Jillian has less than a month to overcome a lifetime of shyness and summon the courage to fight for herself—or lose her only chance to win.
Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month. The competition, commonly hashtagged as #NaNoWriMo, encourages creative writers to draft 50,000 new words (a “novel”) in the month of November.
I’ve decided to participate this year, and I’ve set my own goal as I did when I wrote in 2013. My goal then was 30,000 words. Though that bar will be more difficult to accomplish this year, that’s my goal for 2015 as well. Yes, I create my own rules!
I’ve done more pre-work this year. Well, more isn’t saying much as I did none at all in the past. I’m very excited about my ideas in progress. They are a culmination of seeds long ago planted, and I can’t wait to tend to them.
Deciding on my project was a tug-of-war. The truth is, I can’t see an outlet for it. But believe it or not, that’s what made me truly press ahead with this idea and not another one. There’s no pressure to perform! There’s just fun and exploration! It’s an idea with themes, characters and conventions that are important to me, so I’m going to honor that inspiration and just write.
This has been the root of my most consistent acts of self-sabotage: worrying about the audience and the next steps instead of being true to my own ideas. Who’s gonna read it? Where might it go?
It doesn’t matter. I’m gonna read it and it’s going on the page.