8 Days & Counting!!

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There’s nothing like having a baby due in eight days to light a fire under your rear end. As a first time expectant mother, I had naturally and wishful-thinkingly told myself that the baby would be at least two weeks early, so every day that I’m still pregnant is feeling like borrowed time. Time to be savored. Time to check those final cling-ons off my to-do list. Time to do every last thing that every other parent keeps insisting I’ll never have time to do once baby arrives.

The most wonderful thing about trying to ramp up productivity at this particular moment in time is that there’s no time for perfectionism (hallelujah!). ¬†And really, it’s the ideal time to set very ambitious goals for myself – considering that I have every excuse in the book if I don’t get them done. All those hours of breastfeeding and sleep deprivation ahead of me means I won’t even have to feel guilty – bonus!

I started this blog last spring with several lofty ambitions, but the one that’s closest to my heart is finding a way to take what I’ve learned over the years through journaling and find a way to share it with others. Over the past several months of pregnancy, other ‘nesting’ duties like preparing a nursery, learning to decipher endless lists of baby gear terminology and decluttering every nook and cranny of the house have come and gone from my list with more urgency, but now that those tasks are complete, I realize that with motherhood around the corner, sharing life lessons is more important than ever.

So two days ago, when “10 days and counting” became my reality, I sprung into action. Well, I guess it was more of a roll off the couch to action, but you get the idea. I decided that the best way to set myself up for success going forward was to be organized before baby arrives. So with the clock ticking, for once in my life, I didn’t overthink what I was doing, I just got started.

Like any multifaceted project, it helped to start with a simple process broken into bite-sized steps – so as not to get overwhelmed and give myself multiple opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment along the way. Productivity inspires productivity, so what works for me is to make it as easy and fun as possible to feel like I’m getting something done.

In a few hours, here’s what I accomplished:

STEP 1

Take all journals out of the cupboard and place a pile in the middle of the room. Smile as you examine the heap and remember all the places those books have traveled. Inhale and sigh remembering the countless memories they hold. The joys and sorrows, smiles and tears, successes and failures. Inhale again and exhale deeply – feeling a great sense of pride for the lessons learned. Grin from ear to ear looking at the book you just started writing in and thinking about the incredible new memories it will hold. Feed your creative spirit by taking fun photos of the pile.

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STEP 2

Examine each book individually. Begin the process of arranging books chronologically by noting the dates of each book’s first and last entry. Write this on a sticky note and place on each book. This will help streamline the effort of transferring content to blog posts. Take fun portraits of each book that can be used to organize content online.

STEP 3

Arrange books on shelf in chronological order. Check for gaps in dates to make sure none have been misplaced. Take a total count and number each book with a sticky note placed inside it. In my case, I’ve got 25 completed books beginning in April 1999 and ending November 2014. That realization alone is enough to inspire a sense of productivity and the motivation to figure out the next steps in this process.¬†


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STEP 4

Look forward to what tomorrow brings if the clock is still ticking!

The Time Has Come

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On the bookcase next to my bed is a shelf stuffed full of personal journals. Pages and pages of once-blank books now teeming with words, photos, ticket stubs, receipts, and other random memorabilia of days gone by. They are a gift from me to me. A treasure trove of thoughts and memories and dreams. Words that bring smiles. Words that bring tears. But mostly words that remind me to laugh at myself and remember that I’m much stronger than I think I am.

But personal journaling is writing without risk. It’s what people who like to tell stories do when they’re too afraid to put it all out there. For the past 15 years, that’s been me. But I’m ready now. My back-of-my-mind, “one day”, “someday” time has come.

So, here we are.

While journaling has proved to be an invaluable tool for my own personal growth – a kind of ‘pen-to-paper’ therapy – I see blogging as something very different. Blogging is my opportunity to go back through those books, combine past thoughts and insights with my current reality and piece them into something new. Exactly what? Well, I’m not quite sure yet. I love surprises and will look forward to finding out as we go along.

But here’s what I do know:

At a micro level, I’d like this blog to be a platform for transitioning my personal journaling skills into writing that inspires introspection and helps us all to feel more connected to ourselves, one another and the world around us. Having spent years of my life traveling and living abroad, connecting with people of all ages and cultures, I have witnessed, firsthand, that as human beings, what we have in common far surpasses any differences between us. I intend to prove that.

And because I’m a photoholic, it’s likely that I will also throw in a few photos here and there – for good measure.

In the big picture, it is my hope that through this introspection and connection, we can cultivate more empathy, resilience and optimism in the world. Through understanding and connecting with ourselves, we’ll be better equipped to connect with others and our surroundings, to empathize, and grow stronger and more resilient as human beings. We’ll have the ability to not only learn from our own experiences, but the experiences of others. We’ll see and believe in more happy endings.

Now, let’s do this!