It feels weird not having a specific topic to post about. The challenge definitely made me more consistent in my efforts to pick up my game in the writing space, but there appears to be more that I’m noticing that has changed. One thing that I’ve been keen to do at the end of this challenge was try to string together a typical day while incorporating all the tasks of the challenge. Some of it may not be practical, but most of it will result in quite an interesting day.
Choosing even a few good habits that it may have encouraged, and following through with those consistently can spark the change that you’re eager to experience in your life. A few thoughts remain pervasive for me after this process, many of which turned out to be my re-finding of purpose or focus on initiatives that I was once passionate about but lost track of in the mindlessness that life can sometimes be.
Some of the pauses encouraged by the challenge calmed my mind enough to notice what I have been taking for granted for some time, including how I interacted in certain scenarios. Working in a toxic environment for an extended period can prompt changes in our character that feels justified, until we start finding parallels with that toxic environment even after we have left it. The same is true for relationships.
Being in a bad relationship sets up defenses or coping mechanisms that are needed and justified within that context. However, when that continues for long enough it eventually becomes second nature, and rather than recognising the change in environment or scenario, defense mechanisms encourage us to subconsciously search for familiar patterns that warrant its use. In other words, if we look hard enough for the negative trend, we’ll find it and in turn go into the previously justified defense mode that is no longer needed.
This was the most interesting realisation for me through this 20-day challenge because it sealed off in many ways my exit from corporate life. My brother often reminds me that I need to have a back-up plan should things not work out the way I plan in this new space that I have chosen for myself. I agree. But the biggest challenge is seeing another comfort zone as that backup plan. That is the easier option, but the easier option leads me away from what I am passionate about.
Another thing I realised recently is that life was less complicated when I acted with conviction and considered the consequences later. As adulthood set in, I started focusing on consequences out of a sense of responsibility towards those around me not realising that it changed my tone and temper with which I embraced the world that I was creating for myself. That change was not always a a pleasant one for me or those around me. The consequences of my actions must most definitely be considered. However, it should be considered within the context of the choices that my convictions demand of me, and not within the context of what is most feasible, convenient, or safe.
Focusing on feasibility risks complacency. Defining the line between practicality and passion will always be a beautiful struggle, as long as my desire to live passionately remains true. Some may wonder how it is that I can attribute so much to a simple 20-day challenge that did not even prompt some of these exercises in reflection or planning. For me, it has always been about creating a space to allow my mind and my soul to align without an immediate demand for a response. That is what the challenge did for me. It created opportunities to reduce the clutter, refocus the mind, and explore some new experiences while rediscovering some old favourites, which all served as a collective means to reconnect me with a small part of living life the way I always felt most most grounded in doing.
I hope you can relate to some of these new experiences of old favourites. I think such experiences bring us closer to a sense of belonging, or a sense of homeliness more than any celebrated achievements may afford us. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt. Sometimes it breeds passion as well.