note : I first published this post in 2015. As I’m making plans for the new year audacious thinking and big changes are on my mind, maybe they are on your mind too.
Thinking outrageously, hypothetically removing limitations and entertaining wild possibilities is a good creative exercise, a good thinking tool and I use it often to get unstuck or to work through an idea. But applying that kind of thinking to my life and work in a larger way has been difficult. This weekend I spent time thinking about this question:
What if I could do anything?
If money was no object, if there were no obstacles, no chance of failure or negative consequences – what would I do? I think truthful answers might be enlightening, there might be signposts and arrows among them but I find the question paralyzing.
I’ve never been good at thinking big about my life, my work, thinking audaciously. Big makes me nervous. And it seems to me that I endeavor in the other direction – so much of what I do, what I’m attracted to and what I create for myself is small, the world recreated at a more manageable and comfortable scale.
I find it hard to turn my practical brain off and I think a large part of me never wants to be caught with grand plans – a deeply ingrained belief that modesty is a virtue. I’m fortunate, one thing has led to another and all sorts of wonderful things I could not invent have occurred, it feels somehow ungrateful to reach and it is incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to really get my head around the question. My answers, my list, mostly doesn’t feel very audacious, it feels quite tentative in fact so I’m going to keep working on it – look harder. Getting myself to write anything at all was like pulling teeth, there were a couple surprises though – here’s what I’ve got so far:
I would paint and draw a great deal
I would learn to surf – nothing crazy- little waves
I would plant a garden
I would cook a lot
I would travel a little
I would wander a lot
I would take a hand built pottery class (that seems pretty do-able – I’m looking into it)
Actually – I would take lots of classes – I could fill the rest of my life with that
I would have dogs and cats and goats
I would make a picture book for children or maybe children and grownups
I would make dioramas
I would buy a very old house
I would swim often
I wonder if you ask yourself this sort of question – if you find resistance in your thinking or spectacular visions – I’m curious – if you feel like sharing please do.