Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!
It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.
Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.
But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.
Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.
I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!
But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!
So it’s late April and we’re on the other end of the Carl’s Crew challenge sponsored by Subway Canada. Six weeks later, I’ll admit—I’m not much better than when I started. I’m still up at all hours working on the #BloggerLife, trying to turn all these ideas into… something. I still stress eat on the rough days at work, wolfing down Popeye’s three-pieces on the days that particularly suck. Life’s been dizzying lately, and while I’ve got a whole heap of reasons to take better care of myself, I repeatedly fail, continually choosing immediate gratification over long-term benefits.
I want to try, though. I’m a father now, and my son will pattern behaviour from what he sees around him. If he becomes a workaholic, it’ll be my fault. It he eats junk all the time, it’ll be my fault. I need to make better choices now to make the best possible future for him — and to make sure I’m part of it!
So even though I wasn’t being all that I could during the six-week challenge, I know there’re things I can take from the experience, slowly applying them to my life to make the right changes.
What do we do in the face of tragedy? Do we stop everything we do to remember the victims, or do we work even harder to honour them?
The answer, it turns out, isn’t so simple.
Do We Move On or Do We Remember?
Ever since the Boston Marathon bombings a few days back, I haven’t been overly keen to blog. I’d written a post about blogging—about how people choose to sacrifice quality for quantity when it comes to blogging and why they needed to change the entire idea of how we blog. I’d actually written all weekend, on topics like my February trip to Las Vegas, a look at the future, and a number of the events I’ve been to as of late.
But none of it felt right. None of it felt like the stuff I should be blogging about, considering that others had it so much worse off than I did. It felt—empty, maybe. Like the things I planned to blog about didn’t hold enough meaning to share them with others. Much of what I’d planned to blog about suddenly felt tasteless. The things I was passionate about moments before didn’t interest me anymore.
And so, I slowed down for a bit. For the second time in as many weeks, I found myself in a state of self-analysis, trying to figure out why it is that I do what I do.
We all respond to tragedies in different ways. Some of us internalize that pain, empathize and cope with it by ourselves. Some of us work hard to prove that we’re still alive and won’t let the ills of the world get us down. There’re any of a multitude of coping mechanisms we use to try to get past acts like this, but there’s something it gives you, if even for the briefest of moments — perspective. A tragedy like this gives everyone the chance to reflect on what’s actually important.
Problems Without Solutions
I’m a problem solver—I like to look at a situation and try to figure out what the best possible outcome is, and I’ve gotten pretty decent at it. But the problems that really matter in this world are bigger than any one person: hunger, greed, war, disease, violence… it feels at times like the world is sinking and there’s no purchase for us to climb out of the pit.
I’m a problem solver. When someone has an issue come up in their lives, my first reaction is to try to come up with a solution (much to Sarah’s chagrin when she just wants to vent). My brain works a mile a minute, trying to connect dots and figure out what I can do to make things better.
But some problems are too big to easily find their solutions. Things like war, hunger, poverty—or yes, senseless acts of violence—are things that have been around for generations, and one should not expect to find a solution for them overnight. We can share ideas, volunteer and donate—but many of these are Band-Aid solutions that don’t address the real issues that allow these things to keep happening:
Ourselves and our attitudes toward the world we live in.
So I took to my notebook and tried to rationalize what was going on. I started writing what you’re reading now—what the things I’ve seen and read about these past few days has me thinking about. Processing the negative and trying to turn it into something positive. Something to make this world a little better—even if only for a moment.
Pulling the Band-Aid Off
In the end, I decided it was due time to get back to the grind and do what I do best. We can’t stop our lives for every tragedy that happens or we’d never get anything done. At the same time, we should never forget that these tragedies happened, nor forget the victims that endured them. The world’s a big place—and it’s not all good. Many of us are simply going through the motions day by day as we try to make sense of it all and find our place. And while we still need to solve the equation for world peace, what I do know is this—we won’t find it without waking up, caring a little more about each other, and choosing more actions that benefit our communities and not just ourselves.
Make the world you want to live in.
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands: