Monday, July 8, 2013

Master list of everything ever.

Every so often I become disheartened. I'm my own toughest critic but it's something I've been working on. I'm getting better, all the time, at appreciating and celebrating my accomplishments - but every so often I'll feel a bit like I'm just not getting anywhere. I know to some people this probably sounds nuts but to anyone who is a polymath, you know what I'm talking about. 

It's the feeling of doing a lot of little things and not getting any big things done. Or feeling bogged down by a big thing and not being able to celebrate the little things.

Several years ago I discovered a book called 'Refuse to Choose'. It changed my life - seriously - because it said it was okay for me to be a polymath and that I shouldn't (even if I was capable of it) choose to do only one thing with my life. But if I was going to embrace my polymath self, I sure as heck had to come up with some tools so I wouldn't:
A) burn out
B) get overwhelmed
C) feel like a failure for not doing absolutely everything I want RIGHT NOW. 

One of the best tools I got from this book was my Big Binder of Everything Ever AKA an important binder for all my ideas, aspirations, inspirations, plots, plans, dreams and goals. 

One of the first things you're supposed to do with it is write down everything you want to do in your life. Like, EVERYTHING. And be specific.

Not "I want to travel" but I want to travel to Florence, Barcelona, Ireland, Antarctica, Madagascar, Peru, all three Canadian territories, Newfoundland, New York, somewhere in Greece, Berlin, Gothenburg, Neuschwanstein castle, Brussels, Prague, Korea, Phuket (again), and Halifax (again).

After writing down everything you ever want to do in your life (being specific) it's possible to see that even though it is a lot, it's not absolutely everything you could do with your life and, if you are lucky enough to grow old, you'll have plenty of time to do it all. 

On the flip side you are also asked to make a list of everything you have accomplished so far. This is a good reminder that you have lived a colourful, rich, interesting life. And it's a really good list to have when you start to feel disheartened.

So recently, when I was feeling a bit down and a bit glum and a bit oh-my-gawd-my-ePub-is-taking-ages-and-I'm-not-getting-anywhere-with-it, I took a breath, and sat down with my binder of Everything Ever to update my Everything I've Accomplished in My Life So Far list with 2013 - to see how I'm doing.

So far this year I:
Quit a toxic job, 
set up as a freelance graphic designer (Rebuilt my old website), 
got a contract as an in-house designer, 
began studying psychology at the Open University, 
studied at Central Saint Martins, 
did an advanced Illustrator training course,
finished (and passed!) my British Sign Language Course, 
completed 16 course on,
read 20 books, 
saw Jann Arden perform live, 
saw Hellen Mirren perform on stage,
saw Judy Dench perform on stage, 
did a surprise visit to Calgary, 
spent 15 days in Japan, 
abseiled at the Royal Courts of Justice, 
AND became a published author...
so far

Because I'm a polymath I can see a lot of the stuff I haven't done and let it feel a bit more important than what I have done. But I would be a total whingebag deserving a good slap if I said boo about the stuff I've not been able to get around to so far this year, because no wonder

This is a brilliant list to have (especially that last item on there) as a reminder that dreams do become goals do become accomplishments and that I should really not be feeling like I've not got enough done. 

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