If you've read my previous blog posts, you'll know that ACTION is my word for 2021. I'm good at being active. I keep busy. I've been that way since I was about 4 years old. But being active and taking action? Two VERY. DIFFERENT. THINGS.
Being active is easy; it can be my happy place. (It was also an overworked place for many years, but that's a different story.) Being active is that place where you don't stop moving. You have lists, you have to-do's, you have chores that are personal, professional, athletic, family-oriented, community-oriented...this place can turn into too busy, or too many expectations, or too-much-on-your-plate really easily. That place is sanctioned and an easy out for calling someone productive. And even worse--for deeming someone virtuous. It can become a busy, busy, busy, skimming by with self-care, sleep-deprived, reaction-based life. It starts to bleed purpose and meaning.
Action, on the other hand, for me, is intentional, thoughtful, and purpose driven. Action is decisive. You take action. You are active. For years I confused how active my life was for taking action. Our lives are made up of both, of course. But in my case, being able to discern between the two has been pivotal in beginning to create and orchestrate this next part of my life.
As the pandemic grew and my obligations shrank, I was double teamed by the writer and runner inside of me around the idea of taking action. It's like the runner gave the writer a crash course in all of the learning that had taken place over the last four years. The writer then presented a solid case, with examples and strategies, for finally taking action and taking this writing thing seriously. Take a deep breath, she said, and call yourself a writer. Now FIRE, AIM, READY(i.e. Just Do It) & Get After It! The runner had prepped her well.
So, I'm doing it. Creating a new path mid-life is hard work. Writing is hard work. It's also a big, fat privilege to have the opportunity to take it on. I put a big note on the wall in my work space that says:
Run. Write. Recover.
to remind me of the focus of my work day. I still have other things on my plate, but they come after this formula--not before it, or during it, and absolutely not instead of it. This is my work right now, plain and simple. I have little doubt that these actions will likely lead to an active life again. But hopefully an active life of action.