Whole wide world: days 291 — 315

The 300 day deadline came and went. The 305 day deadline came and went. It looks like I still need to work at this “blog every five days” challenge. I think the key is getting into a rhythm, a routine, but I’m not there yet. I take photos religiously every day, but I don’t think about what to write about until the deadline’s already passed, and then I kind of panic.

Let’s break it down. My first draft for this post covered 25 days, and we’ll stick to that for now. For a lot of those days it didn’t feel like I had much to write about. A lot of fall pictures, sure. A lot of nighttime city pictures, definitely—the latter because I’ve been getting out of work quite late lately, plus, well, it’s November. I do like this one I took outside the the Public Library. I don’t even know what it’s about, but it absolutely caught my eye on a night when nothing else did.

The real highlight was October 31st, Hallowe’en night, in which I celebrated a friend’s birthday by making a vision board. Well, part of one. All we had to work with was a single copy of Vogue—which didn’t really do the trick for me vision-wise, I guess I’m not the target demographic—so I figured I’d be a little more creative. I split my board up, and worked first on the corners. Each one represented a part of my life I needed to work on: career (web development, represented by stark monochrome geometric shapes); fitness and health, represented by a growing tree; friendship and romance, represented by this network of warm-coloured nodes; self-expression, represented by an explosive rainbow and a bunch of wavy lines. And then, I decided to make the main part a world map. My trip to Europe in May, the first in many many years, will not be the last. I’ve got a bucket list, folks.

The whole thing was rough, of course, but that was okay. The idea (in my head) was that I’d fill it in with inspirational stuff like a traditional vision board.

I still haven’t done that. But more worryingly I haven’t blogged about it till now, even though I loved it and got a real charge out of the process.

The question is, why? My first reaction was to blame myself. I’m still getting used to this new commitment. I’m still working on the discipline. I’m still working on being present and open to inspiration for more than the time it takes to scout out interesting photos.

And yes, that’s all true as far as it goes. I’ve got a ways to go, and it’s okay to stumble when trying new things. But also: did you miss the part about working late? Looking back, I think part of the problem was that my work / life balance was out of whack. Physically and emotionally I felt mostly all right: walking to and from work helped, and the project I was working on was super interesting, challenging and stressful in all the right ways. Yes, I did deal with the occasional bout of imposter syndrome, but I figured that was a good sign too. However, it looks like all this was still taking its toll: my inspiration dried up, and my brain got caught up in the job 24/7. That was not healthy.

That means I need to pay close attention to how all the things in my life are balanced: technical, physical, social and artistic. If I want to excel at all (or indeed, any) of them, I need to be constantly mindful of how all the different aspects of me interact, and how to nurture them properly. Still not sure how I’ll do that in practice. It’s a work in progress, of course. But then, aren’t we all?

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