I Do It For Me
|Photo taken on a cherished walk this week.|
Do you track your habits? I do.
I don't use my weekly planner for its intended purpose. Instead, I use it to track my habits, to record what I eat and to briefly summarise each day's events. Noting these things takes a few minutes a day. But at the end of the week, I get an instant overview of everything that has happened - the emotional highs and lows, and their causes.
There are twelve habits on my list. The first three are inspired by Naval Ravikant's quote:
"A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought - they must be earned."
His quote made such a deep impression on me that I echoed the phrases in my planner. They stand in place of 'exercise', 'meditate' and 'spend quality time with my family'. For the past eleven weeks, I have written more or less the same twelve things in the 'routine' section of my planner. They are:
- Fit body
- Calm mind
- A house full of love
- Talk to a friend
- Practise writing
- Read a book
- Eat lots of plants
- Take a walk
- Stress less
- Portion control
- Gratitude journal
|It is all about the X's. Or is it?|
My list tells me that I have taken extremely poor care of myself this week. I haven't seen that many shaded circles before! I have not exercised or talked to a friend in 9 days. I locked myself at home, stressing over how the hell am I going to edit all these videos and upload them before December comes.
|Doesn't matter if you are drowning in the things you love. You are still drowning.|
I patted myself on the back when I went to bed at 2am instead of five. On Wednesday, or I should say Thursday morning, I went to bed at a record-breaking 8.30am! What was I doing? Making videos that nobody watches.
There is this amazing book on entrepreneurship called The E-Myth: Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber. In chapter 2, 'The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician', Gerber explains how we all have these three personalities in us, wanting to assume control of our business.
When the Technician takes over, I do things like staying up all night to edit videos. If I don't do it, who will? The Entrepreneur and Manager in me have their mouths stuffed. Without their insight and order, I lose sight of the bigger picture and my life falls into chaos.
|There must be another way.|
That begs the question: What do I really want? To slave away as a glorified video editor/thumbnail maker? Who has no time to take her daughter to the playground anymore, because she needs to edit this video of them happily hopping in puddles? What an irony. She has to post all the autumn footage before vlogmas. And then she will film all day, edit all night, for the next 24 days leading up to holy Christmas... No! She won't!
Like most of the western world, Denmark has this tradition of giving children (and adults) a little present, everyday for the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas. As of now, I am about 70% done with making my daughter's DIY advent calendar. Yes, I have been filming my process so I could - cue eye roll - make a video. I was in the workshop yesterday drilling holes and painting two dozens of empty jars, which had been homes for my husband's liquorice candies.
I have been procrastinating on that project. The thought of 'getting the right shot' paralysed me. But when I leaned into the doing, I found the peace and joy that naturally arose, when doing ceased to be a chore.
|Now is all we got.|
We are four days away from vivmas (my own unique vlogmas name!). I have thought up 25 tentative titles, as well as several festive things to do. I also made a list of all the Danish foods and drinks that we have around Christmas time. All of which would no doubt elevate my vlogs, if executed well. But the more I go through them, the more compelled I am to just go with the flow and see what happens.
Here is a fun vivmas idea that I have:
The first person to email me the correct number of tea that I drink during vivmas (the number of cups caught on camera) will get up to 1kg of Danish sweets and chocolates sent to his/her address. Wouldn't that be fun? But be warned, I drink a lot of tea. I bought a tea advent calendar for myself, so there would be at least 24 cups.
Details for my vlogmas giveaway here.
But for now, let us take a look at more wise quotes. Quickly, before the finale of my beloved Danish baking competition starts on TV.
|Mmmm... I wish I can send the winner Danish pastries but they are perishable.|
In chapter 5 of On Writing Well, the author William Zinsser tells me something that I needed to hear.
'"Who am I writing for?". It's a fundamental question, and it has a fundamental answer: You are writing for yourself."
I tossed with the idea of writing for an audience, or making videos for an audience. But how? I don't know how to do that. My dilemma was magnified when I saw Derek Sivers, a creator that I admire, start his About page by saying, 'I always write for my audience, not for myself, so this feels indulgent.'
As for me, I mentioned in my Now page that I created this blog to write for myself. Thank you so much Zinsser for approving my self-obsession 😉 Let's see what else he has to add:
'You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.'
Just as well that I write to please myself, because my baking show has started. What to do? I have seen all the episodes, so I need to know who wins Den Store Bagedyst 2021. I cannot multi-task to save my life... I will return shortly.
|Popcorn is always a good idea.|
(After watching the finale with the most stunning and delicious-looking cakes, I caught a hilarious movie starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy on public television. The Heat cracked me up! You should watch it after you read this post.)
I am back. Where was I? Oh yes, writing for me.
Let us see what else Zinsser has to say about that. He sounds like a goodfella.
'...on the larger issue of whether the reader likes you, or likes what you are saying or how you are saying it, or agrees with it, or feels an affinity for your sense of humor or your vision of life, don't give him a moment's worry.
You are who you are, he is who he is, and either you'll get along or you won't'.
There is a good chance that Zinsser's advice is exclusively about writing. But hey, a girl can dream. What if we take that confidence and apply it to other parts of our lives? What if I don't give a moment's worry about whether you like my videos or not? I am who I am, either you like me or you don't.
I made this chatty video going through all the video ideas that I had. That would supposedly wedge my way into YouTube's mysterious algorithm. I still want to make some of them, like 'My Morning Routine: Cultivating Presence'. But on my own terms. Not to feed an insatiable machine.
|Me, a cog in a well-oiled machine? No, thank you.|
Be it walking, meditating or making videos. Be it reading, journaling or talking to a friend. No matter the act, I want to do it for me. I want to do it after I have paid ample attention to my energy levels, my met and unmet needs. I do not want to do it just because it is written down somewhere. Not because I had a promise that I would do something.
Promises that destroy your well-being are ought to be broken.
You can quote me on that.
Before we go into December, here are three simple goals that I have for vivmas 2021:
- Have fun
- Be yourself
- Be kind to yourself