Faders of Life (a study of priorities)

Bedtime Books 2
I have that old children’s  “There were 10 in the bed” song stuck in my head.

“I’m crowded… roll over…”

Perhaps I have been spending too much time with a two year old. Perhaps I have been spending too much time doing a plethora of projects and my mind is constantly spinning on one thing or another.

As the year is winding down it seems like everyone is making lists. Tis the season for stocking up and taking stock of life and other matters.

I returned then to my own list of threats and promises. And the big blipping neon flashing standout is my reading (Resolution #2).  I am nowhere near my goal of a book a week. Utter, complete fail.


So they all rolled over and one fell out…

Yes, I have been doing a great deal more non-fiction reading. Almost all of it, however, is online. I’ve had the same stack of books at my bedside for months and have only just barely started the one on top. I didn’t do what I set out to do.

I don’t get to put a pretty checkmark on this one. I don’t buy myself a beer for a job well done.

It is a failure. As such, it something I’ve avoided looking at it for a while. I mean, I’ve known for like 3 months that I wasn’t on track and I’ve just buried my unease with that glaring “really should do” and sidetracked to something else.

There are a number of lessons I’m learning from this one disappointment. I’m reassessing my goals and agenda setting and I’m ruminating on the idea of task-mastering a previously joy. For the moment, though, the question is: Ought I fixate on the one thing that fell off?

There were 9 in the bed and the little one said “I’m crowded…”

I’m finishing the semester strong despite taking a more than average course load. I’ve done well by my niece (my 9-5 “job”): she grows, learns, jokes and laughs daily — and I’ve succeeding for the most part in doing so right along with her. I landed an internship overseas and started mentally and physically preparing to be abroad for a year. I’ve kept up with my posting and made progress on this blog-life. I trained for an finished my first metric century ride and tredecem. I’ve volunteered, kickstarted campaigns, helped others write pitches, kiva loaned, proofread scripts and built websites. I’ve worked freelance TV gigs to pay the bills with kudos and call backs. I’ve written.

That is indeed a pretty crowded bed. Maybe I’m a multipotentialite after all.

So they all rolled over and one fell out… so what?!

Now to completely mix my metaphors: Video nerd that I am, I’ve been thinking about my life as a huge audio board.

Logitek Pilot Faders

Each slider, with its range of amplitude, is an intention requiring attention.

If you have ever watched a mix playback through a board the sliders move up and down automatically based on the adjustments made in the timeline. Various channels slide up to prominence and then fade down to background when something else needs to be heard. It is a lovely dance of movement and priority.

The blistering cacophony of all of those streams turned up to 11 at one time would blow out the system.

Just like a soundtrack, a life isn’t that pretty when everything is peaking at once.

There are some streams that have to be turned down or shut off. If you have a full board, you can have your louder times and your quieter times but even when things are at full fevered pitch, you still can’t get absolutely everything in mix.

Have I stretched this one enough?

The point is: I’m giving myself a pass on this one. Reading 52 books before next June is at a 0 — it has been for a while.

Maybe – likely – I will try again but for now the objective isn’t adding anything positive to my life. I have looked at the loss of priority. I’ve diagnosed the reasons for it. Now I am making my peace with taking that “challenge” — the resolution and the mind share that goes along with it — off the list.

I want to soften that and explain how “reading and finishing books: will still have place in my life — for of course it will — but instead I’m encouraging myself to just let it go.

I don’t need to continue to feel the pressing presence of that goose-egg of a slider as a failure.  I’m banishing it from my board and moving on to things that are more valuable to me.

Can't Fail Cafe, Emeryville, CA, 9:30 pm

“There were enough on the board and the little one said…”

I’m actively content.

Images via flikr under CC license by coffeebooksbeer, laffy4k (Logitek Pilot Faders),  stringbot (FAIL) and 305 Seahill (Can’t Fail Cafe, Emeryville, CA, 9:30 pm)


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