Yesterday I began the process of stripping of the old peeling paint of the the front steps of our house. As I worked slat by slat, refusing to deviate across the width of the stair I was hit by a distinct childhood memory. It was an image really, an image of how I used to fill in my colouring books.
Always overwhelmed by the thought of having to colour the SAME colour all over the entire shape (how long was that going to take exactly?) I was also driven by the desire to have my colouring be even throughout the entire picture. Meticulously I would segment my picture by drawing very faint lines: I only had to colour until I reached the edge of my self-prescribed border. Then I’d set a new border, a new goal, and very soon the whole picture would be coloured.
What struck me yesterday was how little I have changed over all these years – the big things that is, the core of who I am. Ask me to colour anything in and you’ll still notice wispy lines dividing the task into manageable sections. It was comforting this realization, because somehow it made it more okay to be who I am. I’ve been that way all my life anyway. With uncertainty lurking close these days (just what does one do after finishing an undergraduate degree…?) a little bit of certainty goes a long way. Not only is it certainty about who I am, but certainty that all I have to do is a set a goal, set some kind of boundary for myself and I will be able to make it there. Once reached, the boundary will move, but that is part of what makes it exciting.
There are no big goals yet to announce so instead here are a few of the small borders I’m drawing for myself to help define the next section of life.
-I use no more than 4 to-go coffee cups in the next 4 weeks,
-I finish painting the front stairs by September 15 (weather permitting),
-I put up 45 more jars of jam by October 15,
-I travel to Brazil on November 12,
-I apply to 3 jobs per week that excite and stimulate my imagination.
As things evolve I’ll keep you posted in this space.
It really is a wide open door for where I’m going next.