T.A. Barnhart

carpe bucko

goodbye to all that

2018-08-06 goodbye.png

I am done with Doing Things. And the number 1 Thing I am done with doing is expecting myself to Do Things.

Expecting myself to Do Things. I had not thought of myself in this way until this afternoon, talking with my therapist. I was telling her how the other day, as I was thinking of a couple of projects that could be very cool, I had a flash of a thought: all the projects I have considered doing or even tried to do served their major purpose by distracting me from the most important aspects of my life in the same way YouTube can distract me from everything in life for an hour or two.

So I came up with a couple of cool projects that, taken together, could easily set me up as Oregon’s Premier Political Podcaster. I’m not joking; that is the potential for the two projects. Of course, to make that happen, I’d have to dedicate myself fully to them in a way I have never done before. And in order to have and sustain that level of dedication, I’d have to believe in these projects passionately.

It turns out, I do not believe in them passionately. Further, it turns out that my motivation for these projects, and most of what I have attempted in the past (and failed at, to my on-going shame), has not been to explore ideas, push boundaries, generate discussion, etc. No, my goals, which I hid behind all the tasks that would be necessary to make any project succeed, has been more mundane:

I want people to accept that I am right about everything.

If I were to do a podcast about the Democrats in Oregon, one of the leading drivers of that project would be for people to accept my premises and my perspective and then tell me, “T.A. you are so right about all this”.

That sort of motivation may work for some people, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s enough to let me spend a lot of time in “preparation” which inevitably leads to finding reasons to stop, give up, quit, and hate myself a little bit more.

So I’m done with projects and big ideas and plans to turn myself into Oregon’s Premier Political Podcaster or any other such nonsense. Instead, I am going to simply things. Instead of Big Projects with Big Plans, I am going to do one thing a day.

One creative task each day.

That’s it. I do not know what those tasks are. I have lots of things I am interested in, so I have lots to choose from. I hope to update this blog several times a week, and I’m not considering it one of the creative tasks. I need to write in this blog to track my mental health; that’s a different critter.

I do have a lot of thoughts about what these tasks might be because I have not done so many of them thanks to the distraction created by the Big Projects and Concomitant Expectations and Inevitable Failure and Despair. For example, I want to create a blog piece that demonstrates that Emmylou Harris is the best cover artist ever. Not exactly an endeavor that will change the world, but it would be fun.

And it would be good practice for taking a variety of media and working them into something enjoyable. That’s a lot of what I would like to do: use media of various kinds in conjunction with my writing. 

I have a small plan that I agreed on with my therapist; it’s for the next three days, and that’s good enough for now. I also have a kind of freedom I don’t think I have ever known:

Nothing to do except what I really want to do.

T.A. Barnhart