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three themes

June 15, 2012

Instead of trying to impose an orderly structure on my life from the top down, I decided to look at what has bubbled up from below. I came up with six subjects: Art (including Fiber Art); Writing; Nature; Paganism; Science; and Design. They overlap and intertwine, but I felt that wasn’t enough on its own. I need themes, essentially narratives, sort of, that organize my activities, and help me work towards larger meta-goals.

The first one I came up with was Chesapeake Bay. The idea of it, and its ongoing struggles with the human population living within it, have been knocking around in my mind ever since we moved here. I feel called to do something, but I don’t know what. I think it’s time to start figuring that out.

The second one was Pluralism/Diversity/Connection, including non-humans.

The third one was Expressiveness.

Then I realized that the second and third themes were ‘larger’ than the first. But if I think of them as nested systems, Chesapeake Bay could be nested within something larger. Something like, Places I Love. Which is better anyway because then I can also include places from my past, such as Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the DuPage River, the Wabash River, the Sandia Mountains, the Finger Lakes, etc.

So now my three themes are:

  • Places I love
  • Pluralism/Diversity/Connection
  • Expressiveness

When I’m trying to figure out what activities to pursue, as well as if I should buy something, I can call to mind my three themes, and determine if the activity or the item fits any of them. If it doesn’t, can I make a really good case for why I should do it/buy it anyway? If I can’t, I won’t do it.

I probably need to make up a little card — in fact, probably a set of them — listing my three themes.

The more I keep them in mind when making decisions, the better I will likely get at making more robust decisions earlier in the process.

I need to get a lot better at filtering out irrelevant things sooner. Even worse are near misses.

I signed up for four summer classes at the community college. Two were canceled outright. I substituted a third class, which happened to be the first one that met – Voice, on Monday nights. Last night I attended the first session of Bead Weaving and Mixed Media. There was a mixup about the room number, which meant I arrived 25 minutes late, for a two-hour class. But we didn’t actually start doing anything until 90+ minutes into it. The instructor talked very slowly, constantly writing things on the blackboard, doubling back to make sure we understood absolutely everything. I was going out of my mind with boredom. When we finally started doing something, I quickly found two incorrect ways to follow her directions (yay!). She made me unpick both, saying she would be back to show me how to do the technique correctly. But by the time she got back to me, class was over. And she wouldn’t show me, or watch me do it, saying we would have to wait till next week. Well, I already knew I wasn’t coming back next week.

I got home and I said to Spouse, “I’m hoping my third class – Acting – knocks it out of the park, because I’ve been really disappointed so far.”

The community college called me today because my acting class has been canceled. At least I’ll get all my money back.

All three of the classes do fit within my Expressiveness theme. But I was also hoping for some interesting social contact. (Otherwise I could just buy or read a book. And I actually spend way too much money on books, but that’s another story.)

I think I might be better off searching for ways to meet interesting people that do not involve me paying out a lot of money. Because my percentage of successful encounters is miniscule so far. The science writing class I took at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda last year was excellent! But writing is only one of six major subjects in my life. So far I’ve belonged to 4 fiber arts groups, but I’ve only enjoyed one. And I haven’t made any friends or even acquaintances at any of them.

About a year ago, I tried to attend a local Mensa meeting, but I couldn’t find the location. I think I need to try again. I didn’t make any friends through Chicago or Indianapolis Mensa, although I did attend some interesting talks at both. But I met Spouse through Mensa, and one of my dearest friends is also a member, so I know it can work. (I became a Life member some years ago, so I’m not paying dues every year.)

[[This clearly isn’t finished, but my train of thought has jumped the tracks and rolled down a hill.]]

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2012 21:11

    I took the Science Writing class at the Writers’ Center as well, and enjoyed it a lot. I took the Advanced Science Writing – did you take the advanced or original flavor? I think the same person teaches both of them.

    As for mental organization, I share some of the same difficulty. I enjoy so many different things and want to do all of them, so it’s frustrating when there’s not enough hours in the day. It’s something that frustrates me about living in a city – there’s too much to do and it’s rather overwhelming.

    • June 24, 2012 21:19

      Was your teacher David Taylor? I took Science Writing, the original. I didn’t know there was an advanced class! I might have to check that out.

      Yes, Greater DC has so many more possibilities/opportunities available – much more than any other place I’ve lived.

      • June 25, 2012 11:51

        Yes, he was my teacher. I think they might have renamed the course since then, but it also looks like they aren’t necessarily teaching it this term. Instead, it looks like he’s teaching one on writing about specific neighborhoods, which could be fascinating. Considering that I’d like to do some writing about my neighborhood, I hope he teaches it again in the future.

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