A journey to fulfillment? Uh, no. Guess what? Distracted again! Caught in a loop! A Journey to Fulfillment stymied.
Do you remember my commitment to setting priorities for all those goals and self-imposed deadlines that I intended to put in place or had been putting in place when last I posted? Caught in a loop! Distracted again! Speed bumps on a journey to fulfillment!
Well, guess what,? I’ve missed most of them because there’s still just too much to do and I have allowed the outside world to get a toe hold in my focus and my imagination. For instance, I had promised my lovely wife that I would do a very specific painting for her as a birthday gift that was intended to be a mixed media-collage-y kind of thing reflecting her love of gardening and butterflies.
Guess what? It’s still not done
Guess what? It’s still not done. It’s beginning to look like it might be a nice piece for my portfolio when it is finally done, but it shouldn’t be sitting there on my painter’s table. I hide it there, then I put it up on my easel to work on it. Whenever there’s a chance someone might see the work in its unfinished state, it goes back onto the table.
I have to admit that all that writing that I promised myself I would catch up on hasn’t been going very well. I haven’t spent the time on the novels in progress that I had intended. That script hasn’t gone beyond the “treatment” stage. Writing for my blog has fallen behind. Evidence?
Look at the date on this particular post versus what the date is on the post where I was complaining about not getting things done.
My friends in our writers’ group have gotten so much more done. We’ve met once recently and were joined by members of the group who have taken a hiatus to concentrate on what it means to be a new parent. That was a fun get-together!
I find myself floundering, fighting to prioritize and decide what comes next, then I get distracted, then motivated to get going on something, then distracted, then overwhelmed. Caught in a loop!
So what’s happened? I won’t say procrastination. Let’s say it’s about the distractions.
There’s so much going on in my life and the world! Wars, climate disasters, economic uncertainty, predatory landlords and the housing woes of newcomers, and then the questionable threat of AI.
It boils down to me. It really is about me trying to find the focus to be able to do this stuff to be able to fulfill the pseudo-promise I had in that last post.
So let’s try this again!
Distractions? What kind of distractions can there be for the newly retired?
I do have to admit that I have been spending a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram trying to catch up on what’s been happening with old friends I’ve lost touch with, and perusing the creative output of the world out there. That eats up a lot of time and does negatively impact my motivation and productivity. Productivity?!!. I’ve started measuring my progress in attaining my creative goals against the quality of art and successes of others.
Oops! That’s not a smart move.
It could be worse. I could be spending all my time on TikTok.
And to answer the not so obvious question; No! I have not subscribed to THREADS. At least not yet. I don’t particularity like Twitter so why would I move to Threads? Have you got a good reason for me?
Back to the distractions:
The financial challenges of inflation and the rate hikes imposed on us by the Bank of Canada have pulled a lot of my focus. I will admit that I’m not a particular fan of Tiff Macklem, the Bank’s Governor.
Another ‘distractor’ that isn’t helping me to attain my goals may seem kind of weird.
We’re getting ready for a protracted trip to the UK to be with Gail’s family for her mother’s 90th birthday. That’s taking up too much of my attention. Part of the issue is that I spend an inordinate amount of time ruminating on the details. That doesn’t help anything. Whatever happened to ‘go with the flow’ when travelling?
Getting ready to go traveling should be fun, and it used to be a lot of fun for me. I enjoyed being engaged in the planning of little side trips and adventures.
Somewhere in the churn of priority setting, fixating on potential financial challenges, and the whole travel-for-an-extended-period-of-time thing there has been a collision with anxiety. I’m not sure where that came from although I have suspicions.
I suspect that I made the mistake of beginning to internalize some of those financial distractions. I am stressing about travel planning.
A voice in my head has been calling out the distress over not getting any of my creative stuff done. This is just adding to the other questionable self-talk.
It has all reached a critical mass. It all just kind of snowballed as it churned and churned.
Boom! We’ve got anxiety.
After my hemorrhagic stroke, which was so many years ago, I was diagnosed with GAD; General Anxiety Disorder. We sort of got past that one. The stroke rehab specialists taught me some interesting coping tactics and the brain found a new equilibrium that keeps anxiety at bay most of the time.
It’s a bit disconcerting when it rears its nasty head.
When you layer on self-disappointment, financial concerns, and knowing about but not truly understanding the woes of the world you are going to feel some level of anxiety. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The pursuit of perfection does contribute to all of this. If you consider what I said I’m doing with the painting I’m working on you might understand. The concept of ‘good enough’ strikes an off-key note in what I do. Too often the self-talk is more is more of a ‘not good enough’. The challenge is that it contributes to the stall, to the being caught in a loop!
To add a bit of lightness to this somewhat bleak narrative I must let you know that there have been some successes. I have gotten some traction on the freelance writing side hustle part of my life. I’ve been working with a Digital Advisor linked to the CDAP which is the Canada Digital Adoption Program initiative. It’s a pretty cool federal program for SMEs (small medium enterprises) looking to upgrade their digital footprint. I’m excited and flattered to have occasionally been tasked with writing a component of the application for businesses. That component is an analysis of their current status and some broad recommendations to move them forward. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, so much so that I’ve let it take much of my focus.
Did I mention that we’re getting ready to travel again? Anxiety!!
Breaking out of the loop? I’m going to try a few things;
- We’re traveling to the UK to a family celebration.
- I’m contemplating taking my droneI am definitely taking my computer
- Joining a webinar on writing creative non-fiction
- Stepping up my genealogy research work
- Priority and goal setting, again!
- Adjusting my expectations about the point that my work becomes viewable/readable. Perfection can be attained on the final draft.