A friend of mine quipped the other day that the best thing about a move across the country to a place sans friends is the ability to completely reinvent yourself. I've been pondering this, trying to decide what sort of story I want to spin about my life. I thought that maybe I'd say that I was heading west to pursue graduate school; thinking on this though, I'm not sure I can settle on one subject area to pursue. I'm also not sure that I can manage to sound educated and knowledgeable about any given subject, unless I pick something super esoteric, say cultivation of cymbidium orchids by the indigenous hill peoples of central China. I thought that maybe I'd say I was I leaving a life of sex, drugs and alcohol for the simplicity of the Northwest; but moving to a university town in South Oregon/North California--pot-growing capitol of the US; with more micro-breweries per square mile than anywhere else & the noted "hippie flair" of the area are all subjugators of that idea. I thought that maybe I'd say that I'd never been out small-town America, that I wanted to experience life somewhere larger. I somehow think that the first time any of my new friends checked out my FB profile and discussions, they'd sense betrayal at that comment.
All this pondering made me think about the index cards that I often carry in my back pocket. For those of you that don't know about me and my index cards, I'll digress...I compose lists of what I have to do today, this week, this month and carry them around with me. There's usually a blank card or two as well, in case I need to reorganize things. Sometimes I write a quote or important thought on the cards as well, something inspiring or funny (shouts to Amy F. on this one...). I tried doing something similar to this on my iPad, and before that, my phone, but peeking at an index card is much less obtrusive than whipping out PED at random and not-so-random times.
To my list of to-do's I'm adding a list of goals. I'm not saying that these goals have to be big, they can be small--smile more perhaps or brush your teeth 5 times a day instead of 4 or run an extra mile this week--those kind of things. I'll put a big goal on the card at some point I know, something like hike Volcano National Park or live in Melbourne for a year or bake birthday cakes for all your friends, and I'll carry it over from card to card as I meet goals, checking them off or crossing them out as I go. I'm not sure why I didn't think of adding goals to my list before; looking at the cards is positive reinforcement of sorts; it keeps my priorities fresh and centered. I can see what I need to accomplish and what I have accomplished. Now I can also see where I want to go and what I want to do. It's a tiny tweak, but a substantial one.
I don't need to reinvent myself, I just need to tweak what's already there. I'm aware that I need to add to my like skill set, break it down to the ground and rebuild it? No. A resounding no. But, add to it, make renovations and redo the facade? Yes. A resounding yes. The best thing about a move across the country to a place sans friends is the ability to be completely and totally honest about who and what you are and why you're doing what you are doing. You've got nothing to lose, the only way to go is up. It is fact that you've been given a blank canvas, free to decide what mark upon it you will make: will you paint a picture of the way that you used to be or a picture of the way that you want to become? If you're like me, you'll cut down the canvas into a stack of little canvases and put them into your back pocket.