Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Solo Adventures - Notes to myself

When was the last time you undertook something big and significant and personally meaningful and didn't share it with anyone?

I've been doing something that is incredibly meaningful and challenging and ultimately, rewarding for me over the past few weeks. And I don't want to disclose what it is.  But it did strike me that I'd like to underline that there is something wonderful about  having a secret adventure. There's something validating and rich about learning something new, or dealing with an old issue, or travelling, or crafting something, without sharing your progress and seeking the encouragement and validation of others. I found myself falling into a dangerous trap of believing I was making progress with some things because the people around me were full of praise. And conversely, their silence on other fronts filled me with doubt.

I suppose this is inevitable, to some extent, in our hyper-networked world. But for me it started to feel like an inevitable consequence was a complete divorce from myself. The constant facebooking of wordcounts with nearly-finished pieces of writing, the tweeting of reasons why I did not write one day, the whining about something I found in the newspaper or the dissections over phonecalls with friends on the 'state of things'.
Too much. 
I felt disembodied, almost, and alone. Which is strange, because I was sharing so much.

What is that old, lovely quote about loneliness?
That it is merely a longing for union with one's own lost self?

So for the past month or so, I've undertaken a Something that I do not share. And I have no intention, at the moment, or sharing what it is, or why I'm doing it, or whether I am doing well. In fact, I have no wish to evaluate my progress. That too, is something from, or for, the 'outer' world. Judgement.
No, thanks.

Even as I write this I find myself wanting you, whoever is reading, to mirror me a judgement. Tell me I'm doing well to live out an insight a lot of us are having these days about all this faux-sharing. Tell me I'm not that original after all. But tell me something. To the little child inside of me who wants that, I'd like to say, gently, No. Just have fun with it.
And I realise that I'm blogging this reflection. Not writing it out in my beautiful little pen-and-paper-journal. Yes, there is a bit of a contradiction there. But I don't think it invalidates what I'm trying to do or say. It just demonstrates how deeply ingrained is my need to put things out there.

I guess I sound like I'm on a super-highway to 30?
That magical age when magazines say you no longer care about what others think of you, and are beautifully happy in your own skin (which makes it sound like enlightenment. And therefore not, really, my experience of 30-somethings, lovely as they are.)

That's where my head is, at the moment: navigating an important adventure solo, and rediscovering that this is still actually possible, and thinking about how different it feels to what life has now become, with all the technology in our world.