(aka Unleighshing the Things)
Everyone needs a thing. To be without one is extremely dull. I would know, sadly, because I went nearly twenty years without having a thing.
So what exactly is it? I define a thing as
- the special interests you have that totally get your mojo going,
- the activity you fall asleep thinking about doing the next day,
- the fun project you make time for despite how berserk your life is,
- the activity that revs your internal motor, growling for more fuel whenever it can, and
- the pursuit of delirious excitement
I now have a thing. In fact, I am the proud owner of several things. But up until two years ago, I had nothing. And it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy doing anything, quite the opposite, really, it’s just I didn’t give myself permission or time to cultivate any one thing which was just for me. And that life- well, it was rather drab.
In hindsight I can see that my thinglessness was pretty obvious to others and I’ve been able to date it as far back as university when I was seeing this uppity brainiac-turned-politician who first pointed it out to me. One afternoon he annoyingly interjected his thoughts over a cup of coffee: “You know what your problem is,” he started, “You don’t have any passion.”
“Yeahhhhh, I doooooo,” I said all sing-songy.
“Like what?” he shot back.
“Seeeeee,” he replied.
I dumped his ass the next day but his words resonated for years and came back to haunt me half a decade later when I found myself in the hot seat for a new job position. I panicked when the cursory chit chat began and I was asked to tell the panel a little bit about myself. Double gulp. The realization hit me square between the eyes that between awkward giggles and stupid attempts at flirtation, I was making shit up. Like, complete rubbish. I wasn’t even embellishing as one tends to do in an interview when they’ve canoed the Grand River with a guide and go on to boast in an interview that they are accomplished at solo portaging in Algonquin Park. Nope, I didn’t even have that kind of thing to hold on to as I found myself making up total crap. I’m sure my prospective employers saw right through my thinglessness, and surprise, surprise; I didn’t get the job.
At this point, I was wise enough to know that I had to find a thing. But instead I got all busy with seating charts, mortgages, and diaper changes until I found myself, now a good decade past my university date, face-to-face with a new acquaintance. Still oblivious to the fact I didn’t have a real thing yet, we were discussing his love of music when he very simply inquired about what I like.
Through an uncomfortable silence, a light flickered to a spot in the Rolodex of my mind as it dawned on me that there were several things I had once enjoyed doing in my youth that I had long forgotten about.
Holy moly, I thought, I have things!
I wondered how I had forgotten about all of the things. The aforementioned life is to blame in part, because let’s be honest, after kids it can be difficult to get back on track. But if I am being truthful with myself, my thinglessness developed because I didn’t make myself a priority. As such, I hadn’t given myself the gift of time or even the necessary permission to have and develop things. That old way of thinking dissipated once I realized how much richer life would be with a slue of things to do and enjoy.
Assisted by some meditation which helped me to further discover my interests and passions, I had this spectacular, life altering, opening up where creative pursuits began flooding into my consciousness. In less than a year, I was experiencing a great deal of things which have now become some of my most favourites like: becoming a runner, taking on RAOK projects, falling in love with meditation & mindfulness, starting to write, creating a blog, returning to my piano and – and – and ….
My list of wonderful things is ever expanding.
Once I gave myself permission to have and cultivate things in my life, the opportunities to do more of these things appeared, and I am now the proud owner of many things.
Here are some quick tips to helping you identify your thing:
- Think back to what totally got you all jazzed up and excited before you were 10. Do those things. Do them now.
- Without thinking about it, jot down a list of things you currently derive enjoyment from. Like binge watching Scandal, dusting, or organizing your trinkets. Go back to said list tomorrow and see if you notice any common themes between the items. They might be pointing you in the direction of your thing!
- At the end of your day, take a few minutes to write down the stuff you did. Give some thought to any items in particular that made you happy. Even if it was mundane like folding laundry, it could be that you’re destined to experience origami projects!
Listen, it’s entirely possible to go from thinglessness to someTHING and it can happen rather easily, if you’re open to it. And, if you’ve already got a thing going on, celebrate it. You’re lucky to have found it, so hold on to it and practice it every single moment you can find to do it.
Xo, unleighshed potential