I keep a list of journal/blog topics in a few different places for when an idea hits that I’d like to hash out a little bit but don’t have have the time/resources/mental space to do it right then. When I sat down to write today with nothing on my brain, but a goal to write words, I naturally went to my trusty list. As I read down the list, I found that exactly zero of the topics were speaking to me today. None of them. I tried grabbing the first one and just going with it, but after two paragraphs that I would not have accepted from my students when I taught 4th grade writing, I deleted it and went back to my list.
Eventually, I came to the realization that the reason none of them were sparking any kind of inspiration is that they’re all kind of heavy. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with heavy. In fact, some of my self-professed best work is on the heavy topics. They provide me with a way to process what’s going on in my head without the odd looks I get from my family when I make random comments out loud. But that’s not where I’m at today. Maybe it’s because it’s Friday. Maybe I feel good because I forced myself to work out this morning (damn you endorphins – you win again). Maybe it’s because I actually have a few things coming up in the near future that I’m excited about. Whatever the reason, I decided that today is a day to keep it light.
Here’s the challenge with that: where does one come up with a “light” writing prompt? I scoured the internet, and after reading list after list of deep prompts, I found a list of journal prompts for kids; and y’all – this might be my new go-to list. The prompt I decided to use as my jumping-off point was: What is your favorite thing about yourself? It felt a kind of big though; like if I’m going to choose something to call my favorite, it must really be great. What if I spent a ton of time coming up with my one favorite thing about myself only to realize tomorrow that I appreciate some other characteristic more? So I came up with a compromise and decided to just make a list of 5 things I love about myself.
- I have good ideas. I’m not talking change the world type ideas (though I like to think I have a few of those, too) – but day to day things. For example: one day my husband was lamenting (I’m being dramatic, but he was complaining pretty heavily) about the tire on a cart being broken when he needed to pick up branches from around our property. I proposed the idea of taking the front tires off the cart and just attaching it to the riding lawnmower. Guess what? It worked. He didn’t have to walk from pile to pile, and the busted tire wasn’t an issue.
- I’m funny. Don’t believe me? That’s fine. I would venture to guess that 90% of people who know me agree, and the 10% who don’t agree? Well, they’re entitled to their (wrong) opinion and probably have a more mature sense of humor. The important thing is that I think I’m funny.
- I’m brave. Sometimes by necessity, often by choice. I left a secure career that I didn’t hate and that provided a secure paycheck for absolute uncertainty. To some that may sound stupid, but two things can exist in the same space, and I choose to call it brave.
- I’m determined. I know what I want and I will get it. It may take a dozen left turns and four times as long as I would like, but I will make it happen.
- I’m evolving. One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about being a parent is watching the changes your child goes through as they grow up and the way your relationship with them evolve in tandem. I think once we hit “adulthood” (whenever exactly that is) though, we tend to think we’re done. I have found though, that I have grown and changed more in the last 10 years than I ever thought possible. As fascinating as watching my children become who they are becoming, I have been equally amazed watching my own evolution.
Coming up with this list was tough at first because the nagging voice of self-doubt is always just in the background questioning who I think I am to be tooting my own horn (but if I don’t toot it, who will?). As I kept thinking and typing though, it got easier. All I had to do was look at myself like I would look at someone else exactly like me – weird how much more encouraging we are to other people isn’t it? Anyway, I challenge you to try it. Come up with 5 things that you love about you. I’m sure you’ll find you’re at least as awesome as I’ve decided I am.