Nov 3 2009

Start NOW

Jamie Lee

rosiehimageMy run at the Good Mood Gig may be drawing to a close, but I’m just getting started with this blog. Although I’m a little sorry that I won’t make the cut into round two (unless one of you has 5,000 friends who’d be willing to vote before Friday ūüėȬ†I feel like this really¬†is the “start of something beautiful.”

You see, over the last year or so, I’ve been toying with¬†the idea of launching my own blog. I have a notebook journal full of ideas, a domain name, a WordPress theme, and a lot of passion for my topic; but – until the Good Mood Gig Campaign gave me a much needed kick in the arse, I hadn’t done much about actually STARTING my blog. I hate to admit it, but if it hadn’t been for the jumpstart the contest gave me, my ideas would probably still be¬†gathering dust amidst the pages of that journal and in the back of my mind.

Do you have an idea or a project you’ve been thinking of for a while? What’s stopping you from starting? They say the first step is the hardest, but¬†it’s also one of the most exhilerating parts of any endeavor. With each first step,¬†you embark on an adventure that could lead anywhere,¬†you¬†fill your world with new possibilities.¬†Like most things, starting becomes easier with practice. Though at first you may struggle to take each first step, eventually, you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier. Soon, your starts¬†will lead you to new experiences that you would have missed if you hadn’t taken those first steps. Starting also sometimes leads to finishing, but that’s a story for another day.

Today, I hope you’ll think about starting something. It doesn’t matter what it is; all that matters¬†is taking that first step. Go for it. Free yourself of any weighty expectations. Don’t think about the finishing, just focus on the starting. There’s a pretty good chance that your journey may take you places you never expected; but you won’t go anywhere until you take that first step.

Photo Credit: Rosie Hardy


Nov 2 2009

Do something. Do anything.

Jamie Lee

whalesjawIn my small and very unscientific poll about the “root of a good mood,” nearly half of you said that a “sense of accomplishment” was a great source of happiness. Though popular culture often defines ultimate happiness as the absence of activity (think woman lying motionless on the beach, relaxing into a massage chair at a spa, or reclining on a chaise eating peeled grapes), I tend to agree with the popular vote.¬†It’s not that I have anything against doing nothing. I don’t. In fact, I think doing nothing is an essential part of creating a sane and balanced life. However – big picture here – doing something is usually much more fulfilling.

This photo is a quick snapshot my beau took of me a couple weekends ago. On an impulse, I decided to scale the impressively high “Whale’s Jaw” boulder at the Gloucester park called Dogtown. You can’t really get the scale of the thing from the picture, but I was a good forty or so feet up in the air. That may not sound like much, but when you’re scaling a slippery, steeply angled, smooth rock face; it sure seems high enough.

There was no reason for me to climb this boulder. No one asked me to do it, and I’m actually slightly put off¬†by heights. I had to ditch my socks and shoes to get enough traction to make the climb. I’m honestly not sure what came over me; but, I have to tell you, I felt pretty damn good when I got up to the top. It wasn’t about doing it entirely on my own. (I didn’t. My beau provided some great on-the-ground coaching and also spotted me on my somewhat less-than-graceful descent … going down is always harder than going up.) It was just about doing it. Why did the man climb the mountain? Because it was there. Sometimes, it’s great if you can stop thinking long enough to just do something. I didn’t ask myself why I wanted to climb the boulder or whether I should climb it. I just had an impulse, and I went with it. I DID something.

And the accomplishment – however small or irrelvant to my everyday life – was just as sweet as if I’d completed some task I’d been planning for months. It may have even been sweeter on some levels, because there was such a sense of play about the whole endeavor … the “just because” part of the equation.

Yesterday, on November 1st, I started another “just because” project. Alongside about 140,000 other wannabe writers, I started writing a 50,000-word novel for the 30-day National Novel Writing Month challenge. Though I am full of self doubts and second guesses, though I have only the glimmer of a storyline and a hazy sense of my overall theme, though I have an entire chorus of inner critics foaming at the mouth inside my weary head; I am just going to go ahead and do this. There’s no big prize at the end. Busting my ass all month to write what is sure to be the crappiest of crappy first drafts does not¬† have any moral, business, or financial benefit. I’m doing this just because I want to see if I can do it.

And, each time I push myself to do something – anything – just to see if I can do it, I’m amazed at what I can do & that makes me happy.

How about you? Have you ever done something “just because?” Have you ever surprised yourself by doing something you didn’t think you could do?