marriage, self discovery, self improvement

a confession

I have something a bit lame to confess… or maybe it’s embarrassing or sad… or I’m overthinking it… you be the judge. 

Here goes: 

I don’t know what my “thing” should be for February.

January = Axe Throwing

February = ?????

Don’t get me wrong, I have come up with a whole host of possibilities (all listed below if you want to weigh in!)… but I’m getting stuck on actually picking something.

And I kind of think I know what is tripping me up… 

Let me back up. 

A few years ago John (my husband) asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I couldn’t think of anything. Like, nothing, my mind drew a complete blank.

He could have been asking me to quickly do the math on 44,553 x 345,433 in my head. Every thought that had been in my brain dribbled out my ear and hit the ground with a thud.

Did I want jewelry? A class? Clothes? A book? If so, what book? Who knew? Not me I had no idea. 

I didn’t know what I liked. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It felt like I didn’t know what I thought. 

I didn’t know who I was. Who doesn’t know what they like?

I started a very painfully dull list that I don’t remember at all but likely included practical things for the house or one of 8 million ideas I had for the kids.

Don’t get me wrong, practical things are… practical… BUT HOW COULD I NOT THINK OF SOMETHING I HAD A FAINT WHISPER OF EXCITEMENT OR EVEN INTEREST IN?!

So I started a new list. I opened a doc, put a jaunty “Stuff Shauna Loves!” at the top and started writing.

Eventually. Before I could come up with item #1 I sat and stared at that blank page.

What was good enough for this list? Why can’t I think of anything? How hard could it be to come with a few things, for gods sake… this is ridiculous… oh my GOD just write something down woman… what if someone sees this… are the things popping into my head pretentious? Immature? This is stupid… write. something. down.

And then a magical idea popped into my mind like a lifeboat right within my grasp: I lowered the bar way, way, way down. I wouldn’t create THE list, no, no, no. I would just start A list. Any old list. Nothing fancy, just a few wee points on the page. I gave myself permission to be beyond basic and vanilla and ho-hum and I just started: 

Coffee. I knew I loved coffee. I wrote it down.

Short latte on a table in front of an open laptop in a cafe.
I took photo this back when I worked in coffee shops all the time (sigh… I’ll be back!). Also when I liked lattes… now I’m really into our French press and I drink it black. It’s shocking, I actually like it. People *do* change.

As I started writing I got the idea to make it pretty so I started to add rich details. I included pictures and little descriptions that mattered only to me (“the ocean, I could listen to the ocean all day… warm ONLY, I don’t have a lot of interest in the ocean when it’s cold”) and I wandered all around the internet finding tidbits and inspiration.

Different colors of blue jeans hanging on hangers.
Jeans are the best, shopping for jeans is the WORST. It’s like bra shopping or also sort of bathing suit shopping. Lots of uninteresting info on how much your body type ISN’T the body type for these pants. Great to know… I still don’t have my pants. Photo credit: Jason Leung

And once I got started it got easier:

  • I like coffee (especially in coffee shops that smell cinnamony and have quirky decor) 
  • I think pretty much all mosaics are just the prettiest
  • I like comfy, comfy jeans (but shopping for them is the dullest torture)
  • I like elephants and the people who help them
  • I like really good food… that I don’t have to cook myself… 

I did it without judgement (of myself). I started it without the thought that anyone would ever see it so I wasn’t worried about how it would look. 

Two elephants standing on grassy plains at sunset.
You could look at these beauties all day, right? Oh yes, definitely… Photo credit: Mylon Ollila

I wasn’t trying to be cool. I wasn’t trying to be healthy or productive or reasonable or evolved I just made a list of stuff I thought was rad and found pretty pictures to go with it. 

Sometime later John asked me again what I would like and this time I was prepared. And the sweetest thing happened… 

My cushion! It’s so pretty!

For Christmas John got me a meditation cushion in the most handsome blue with the most beautiful swirling symmetry and when I opened it my eyes and my brain and my heart tingled. I loved it. I absolutely loved it and it was exactly what I wanted and it hugs me every time I look at it to this day. 

I did myself the favour of putting a priority on what I liked and I said it out loud and I felt celebrated in the most wonderful and you-get-me way.

Magic.

Fast forward to today and my February “thing.”

I suspect the clincher on what is holding me back this time around is — and this is surprising me… aren’t I too old for this? — judgement.

Are my ideas cool enough? If I try something weird, what does that say about me? If I don’t try something weird, does that say something else? Do I care? I shouldn’t care… but do I? 

The great thing about all this public accountability is I have to come up with SOMETHING and I will. I am just kind of gobsmacked by this small but mighty hesitation.

I do have ideas. I just have to pick one.

What I am thinking for the coming months:

  • belly dancing (I have to balance this out with covid and things being open etc)
  • drawing (I am very very bad at drawing)
  • horse back riding (I have been riding but I’ve never taken lessons)
  • something around witchy stuff, like crystals or something like that?
  • archery (because Katniss is cool)
  • learning about crypto/bitcoin (how similar are those? I don’t know…)
  • psychic readings  
  • … or some other kind of reading
  • some kind of significant physical effort…
  • cooking class (suggestion from IG, thank you Sharon!)
  • retreat of some kind (also from Sharon, thank you!)
  • ???

If you have ideas for me lemme know!

For now I am getting ready for my upcoming second go at axe throwing (as per the rules)… and twiddling my fingers as I decide on the whole February adventure.

If you have thoughts do let me know… pick a slip of paper out of a hat? Throw darts at a dart board? Just grow up and pick something? Thinking…


I am conducting an experiment: I challenge myself to try something new each month in 2022. Here are my (self imposed) rules. Let me know if you have ideas on fun/interesting/novel things I could try in the comments. Or join me, that would be even more fun too…

Multicolored mosaic tiles.
Don’t you want to go there and just stand in front of this?!!! Photo credit: Raimond Klavins

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