Major observances, such as birthdays and holidays, often provide the catalyst for commitment, at least in my experience.
Last week, I celebrated with family and friends, near and far, the “achievement” of completing around rotation around the sun. I argue that luck and privilege served as the two driving forces behind that achievement. Still, I won’t squander the opportunity to give gratitude for more time to give and receive love; to build community; to learn; to fail; and to fight for a more just, equitable world [dismantling racism, white folks. Let’s name it.]
A re-branding of this blog seemed in order as I have (for the nth time) reaffirmed that I want to be a writer. And I want to be a good writer. Such ambition requires continual practice, reflection, and refinement. As a budding pianist, I recall drawn out fights with my parents, particularly my mother, when it came to carving out time for the dreaded “p” word. My seven-year-old entitled self truly believed that I could merely show up to each lesson and have improved by the grace of the Almighty without tickling a single ivory over the previous seven days.
I’m a tad ashamed to admit this, but this attitude followed me through much of my younger life. In 4th grade, I joined our elementary school concert band as a clarinetist. Again, I chalked up practicing as something other people did. That’s not to say that I never practiced throughout my brief musical career. In high school, as I picked up the saxophone and melaphone, I recognized a need for me to spend time building my embouchure, finding the right pitch, and running through the various scales.
But how much better could I have been! (she types with regret)
This older (and much wiser) version of Katie recognizes and embraces commitment and persistence to a degree that younger Katie couldn’t fathom. However, I still find opportunities to derail myself in pursuit of how I want to be spending the limited resource of time.
Who do I want to be? When people look at my life, what would they say? While I’m not *quite* ready to write my obituary (a very uncomfortable exercise I experienced last year), I want to end the mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors that keep me from growing into my desired identities. What I want to be requires work. I could continue to show up. I could continue to coast. But, why? And how would that reflect my core values? Short answer: it wouldn’t.
Passion. Bliss. Contentment. These outcomes thrive in settings when your actions align with your values, personal mission, and vision. I’ve spent the last few months (ok, let’s be real, the last 20+ years) defining and re-defining each of those based on new information received, relationships gained and lost, and experiences processed. I hope that I maintain a growth and stretch mindset when it comes to self-awareness and self-assessment. In order to be the type of person that I want to be — for you and for the rest of the world — I must continue to check my assumptions, my bias, and my adherence to positions.
As of May 28, 2018, I want to work toward being a person who is known as:
- A trusted, honest, and loving wife/friend/family member.
- A person committed to antiracist work in all aspects of life.
- A writer who avoids wasting your time or her breath.
- A student hungry for knowledge.
- A future farmer who wants to cultivate a healthier, more sustainable natural world.
- A leader who is unabashedly relentless in demanding respect and justice and who can throw her head back and laugh loudly without apologizing.
The mindfulness practice that I started six months ago has created the mental space for me to explore each of these six areas to various degrees. Now, with more mindful prioritizing of my time, I look forward to improving upon each of these hats, one day at a time.
Today is day one.