Thing #15 – Half-Year Birthday

I got an email last week thanking me for the order I placed with Pampered Chef. I hadn’t placed an order. I thought about it for a bit, and with my dad’s recent attendance at a “guys night” Pampered Chef party, this kind of gesture had his name all over it. When I asked, he said, “Yes, it’s a half-year birthday present.”

Half-year birthdays were something we celebrated when I was in elementary school. It gave July babies like me the opportunity to bring birthday treats to school and get the same dose of attention as those spoiled school-year babies.

In your head, you might be thinking my childhood was marked by two elaborate birthday celebrations each year where I was showered with gifts and parties. It’s not like that. “Half-Birthday” was a fake holiday solely reserved for school. However after so many years of celebrating, the date has become lodged in my parents’ heads and they routinely send Facebook posts or surprise kitchen devices.

This year, my half-year birthday marks the halfway point for My 39 Things. To make my goal of 39 posts by July 22, I should have posted at least 19 things by today. As you can see from the number on the title of this blog…I haven’t.

I’m pacing behind where I want to be. And that’s ok. One of the reasons I’m doing this project is to learn discipline, to chase ideas down a path and to develop the habit of consistently producing. More than anything, I’m learning how to build writing slices into the pie chart of my life.

In the past six months I’ve discovered how to steal minutes and hours for writing. Some days it’s two decadent hours in a coffee shop, other mornings it’s 10 quick minutes of journal scribbles before a 7:30 breakfast meeting.

Ideas come at weird times. Sometimes they lead somewhere, often they don’t. I’m censoring myself more than I’d like, worried about offending or hurting feelings. Some days I’m overwhelmed with the volume of things I want to say and the Icky Jenna voice says, “no one wants to read about that,” and the ideas quickly die. I’m getting better at ignoring her, but she’s still there.

In re-reading my inaugural 39 Things post, I’m absolutely on track to accomplish what I set out to do, which is to take the scenic byway to 40 without plans or expectations. I’m surprised how quickly those six months went. I still have things I want to post about my trip to Asia two months ago – egh, I’m so behind!

If I’ve learned anything from the past six months, it’s that I should do more scary things, try more beer, spend more time with people who fill me and throw more dog parties. I’m going to do a lot more “saying yes” to things in the months to come and have some tricks up my sleeve – I hope you’ll join me.

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