Do something. Do anything.

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?

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8 responses to “Do something. Do anything.

  1. A) That is an awesome picture! Absolutely beautiful, and I’m sure a great memento of your spontaneous, “Let’s do this thing!” moment!

    B) Slap those foaming critics in your head for me! Foaming critics are such bitches. 😀

  2. @Shangrila – Thanks, hon. My beau will be so pleased you think his snapshot is “awsome.” 🙂 As for those foaming critics – consider them slapped! Bee-atches, indeed!

  3. Jamie, been “wicked busy” and I don’t even have a blog yet! Catching up and adoring your latest posts – they just get better and better, and you started at awesome!
    Good luck with the novel – glad to see you going for it – and thanks for these gems here too! 🙂

  4. @Rebecca – How IS that blog coming, my dear? I can’t wait to see it! Thanks for coming by over here … and for your gushing praise. I appreciate your kind words and your presence here equally. Oh … and thanks for the “good luck” re: the novel. Completely insane & I have NO idea what I’m doing … I’ve read just enough about noveling to be slightly dangerous. 😉
    Hope to see your new “digs” soon! Take care!

  5. On the topic of the blog…Ms. Designer is still…designing. Crickets are chirping over here! I’m READY to go, like you! You’re an inspiration! Of course, I will send it to you immediately – stay tuned!

  6. Cricket! Cricket!
    😉

    I bet you ARE ready to go … plenty of great ideas and content. Time to launch this baby!

    I’m here when you’re ready. Can’t wait.
    Fingers crossed that you see something soon!
    🙂

    Jamie

  7. Hi, Jaime! I kept my healthy boy home from school just because I missed him. On a picture perfect fall day, we set out for Aggasiz Rock, where we talked, hiked, observed nature and got caught in the rain. Liam even convinced me to scale a HUGE boulder with him! Those bee-atches told me not to do it, but I did (slap!), and man did it feel good! My son thought I was cool (and I did too). ; ) Andie

  8. @Andie – What a wonderful story! Isn’t it amazing what you can do when you just try? I think kids often push us to try new things that we’d otherwise pass up. Thank goodness! Maybe we have a shot at being “cool” if we just follow their lead and “go for it” a little more than usual. Hope you find some adventure in your day today! Enjoy!

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