Thing #35 – A Path Forward

I didn’t forget about you. I know I’ve got like five more things to write. I’m struggling with my creativity right now. Things have been hard and I’m challenged by how to write from an authentic place. And while I know it can be powerful to write from a place of vulnerability and candor, I’m not there yet. 

Earlier this year, my creativity was at an all-time high. Ideas came faster than I knew how to manage them. And now I struggle to connect with that piece of myself. To put it mildly, it’s bumming me out.

I shared this frustration with one of my besties and he described creativity as a “calorie in/calorie out” situation. It resonated. I’m not in a space where I have enough creative calories coming in to produce any output. My body is trying to be smart about where to send my calories and I’m running a deficit. I’m losing creative weight. My creative spark is still there, but it looks more like a weak flicker on a breezy day.  Nonetheless, I trust my appetite will return.

Instead of trying to write deep, profound “things” to close out this long-overdue project, I’m planning to keep it light. I might even dig into unfinished pieces from over a year ago and resurrect them. 

I’m learning that this project isn’t ending like I thought it would. And honestly, it’s kinda perfect. I can’t think of a more fitting and beautiful metaphor for how this project imitates life. My tightly constructed plan had me tying a pretty bow on this project when I turned 40. That was four months ago. This project, and 40, didn’t end up like I thought they would.

Guess what? It’s ok.  

I’m a planner. I prefer to move along a path with a clear timeline and benchmarks for success. But I’m not naive. I know the path can suddenly become washed out, or overrun with rocks that are impossible to kick or climb over. Plans inevitably get rearranged, which simply means going back to the drawing board.

One of the best things about getting older is that “going back to the drawing board” doesn’t mean starting from scratch. You’re approaching Plans B, C and D with significant layers of wisdom and previously undiscovered self-awareness. Basically, you’re further ahead than you think.

The point is, the best laid plans rarely turn out how you expect. And even when the rocks seem insurmountable, I promise you’re already on your path forward. There’s always a path forward.

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