How do you feel about the project?
I’m feeling glad that I decided to do this, but also realizing how impulsive of a decision it was. Even though I continually fail at completing each and every assignment for the week, I’m still encouraged by how much I am already aware of in the world. When I come across the name of an obscure Middle Eastern or African country in a news article, I can visualize where it is on the map. When NPR makes a mention of political and world events, I actually already know the backstory. (Thanks, The Economist!)
What have you learned?
I’ve been working on the countries of the world using this website‘s quizzes, and although initially horrified at the state of my world geography, I’ve been improving a lot.
My class on Islam has just one more class to go, and I’m hoping to visit to a mosque soon too. I finished reading my book on Islam also, so maybe I’ll have another notes & quotes post on the class and book soon.
I’ve also learned that mental endurance is pretty similar to physical. All the excuses to not work out (I’m tired, I earned some rest time, it’s not going to be fun, etc.) also can be applied to doing things that are mentally taxing, but that’s when it’s time to dig deep and keep my eye on the prize. This usually involves sitting in the most uncomfortable chair in the house and drinking coffee or ice water to stay awake while reading. Or, I just practice baking bread.
What do you like?
I like that this project is a measurable sign of growth. It’s so easy after being in the systems and rhythms of the education system to want to abandon it all for the freedoms of adulthood. (Tell me I wasn’t the only college student dreaming about the day I could get home after work and have all the time in the world to relax or sleep or grab hold of whatever else the wind blew my way.) And I did really love taking the time to do that right after graduation. But now, I’m enjoying the re-introduction of structure. I’m glad that I’m not a hamster running in circles but never going anywhere. I’m glad that I know what I’m interested in, and I’m investing in it. The times when I think, what in the world am I doing with my life? I quickly remember that I am working in 2 jobs where I am frequently challenged to learn new skills, I’m taking classes and reading books about new things, I’m learning how to tutor ESL, I’m on the path to discover the perfect loaf of bread, etc. AND I’m saving up for what will be an amazing trip around the world. (Lord willing.)
What do you not like?
I still don’t like feeling conformed to a one-year plan. Sort of ironic, since I got this whole project idea from a blog titled “The Art of Non-Conformity“. But I think that the best way I can keep pushing myself to stay accountable to the plan is, well, to stick to the plan–without deviation. I don’t like this tension, but I’m not sure how to get around it.
What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the knowledge I’ll have at the end of this year! I am already seeing improvements in my mental and physical strength, renewed curiosity, and a desire to improve creatively (both professionally and personally). It’s great thinking it only gets better from here.