First off, I just want to share The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang with you if you haven't already read it. It's about a prince who likes wearing dresses and a seamstress with big dreams who befriends him. It's adorable and even though I think the target audience is more young adult, it's got plenty of themes and content that people my age can enjoy and appreciate, as well.
How powerful is that? I'm sure I'm not the only person who sometimes feels like all my worth as a human being is tied to what I can do...to my writing—the one thing I'm good at. And if I ever lost that or stopped being useful in that way, I'd be worthless. That's my big fear. But that's not how it is, and I'm so glad the kids of today who are struggling with their identities and self-love can have something like this to illuminate their path.
About a week ago, I bought the latest issues of a couple of mindfulness/health/creativity magazines that I like. They're fun to peruse and pretty inspiring. Issue 22 of Flow Magazine, which I read during my lunch break today, has an article about "stumbling" and how making mistakes is really a learning experience. It just so happens that I also listened to an episode of the Lavendaire Lifestyle podcast this morning called Embrace your Failures. It seems that the theme of accepting failure was following me around today! A biiit ominous, that.
It's a common phrase that is thrown around with slightly different phrasings: "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents." "You learn more from failure than from success." "The only true failure is failing to try." It's become trite, well-meaning as it may be. Still, the Flow article had some good points, different perspectives on this cliché. It talked about how, as children, we're not afraid of falling down literally or figuratively. It's seen as natural. We just get right back up and laugh it off. It's only later in life, when we're afraid of being embarrassed—being judged—that it somehow becomes scary. It only compounds the older you get. I feel this keenly now that I'm almost 30. Shouldn't I have my life together by now? There's so much pressure on adults to do things right all the time, whether it's imposed on us by society or by our own pessimistic selves.
Dutch psychologist Arjan van Dam says it can be helpful to let go of the idea that [as adults] we're "sorted", that we have arrived. It's better to think we are "becoming" and therefore, like a child, we need space to develop.
It's a beautiful thought and one that I want to try to really let sink in. There's no one-size-fits-all template for successful adulthood and I should stop trying to force myself to fit into square holes when I'm a round peg, so to speak. And on the topic of stumbling...
I really have been trying to embrace the "new year, new me" idea since the year changed, setting new habits and making positive changes in my life. Since I'm letting a lot of my thoughts out onto this blog, I wanted to use my Hobonichi Techo more as an actual planner. But, well, day 1 of writing a to-do list in my techo comes to...
A whopping one item checked off. After getting home, I ended up spending all my time working on filing my income taxes. I mean, I guess I'll have two items checked off after I submit this entry, but still. Perhaps I was a little overly ambitious. I'm trying not to get discouraged, though, lest I spiral into a cycle of guilt and depression leading to unproductiveness, which fuels more guilt and depression. It's easy to fall into.
You know what, though? Now my taxes are done and I'm getting a nice little bump of a tax return soon. And though I only accomplished two things that I planned, both of those are daily habits I'm trying to cultivate. So what I've really accomplished is continuing to lay the foundation for two great habits! I still have plenty of time left to write and to tidy my room, to run laps and to draw cat doodles. There's no need to rush. Progress is a process.
...In fact, I think I'll start on that last checkbox now.
My only real complaint is that the most aesthetically-pleasing ones are based in the UK, so when they list cool online stores or talk about upcoming events, they're always...a little too other-side-of-the-pond for me to afford or get to. ↩︎