What are you confused about?
Huh, that's broad. So broad, in fact, that I procrastinated responding to the message, concerned with the avalanche of thought that might manifest once I gave it my full attention. With my period of procrastination complete, I'm ready to be buried beneath a pile of unknowing as I capture my thoughts on a question whose answers reveal more obscurity than clarity.
I will note, perhaps needlessly, that I'm not attempting to capture everything that confuses me. That would be an impossible and silly endeavor. Instead, I will work my way through this question one step at a time, capturing my thoughts until I've exhausted my desire to engage with the prompt.
Why did I procrastinate thinking about this question?
Why didn't I begin capturing my thoughts sooner?
I suppose that the time commitment required to answer this question played a role in my procrastination, not that I fully understood the time commitment for answering it, given its broad scope. Still, I sensed that this would be a multi-hour endeavor if I gave the question my full attention.
Furthermore, I felt fearful of engaging with this question as it required me to face aspects of my being where I lack clarity. This insecurity doesn't prevent me from investigating such aspects of my being, but I feel resistance by capturing and sharing them through my writing.
I suppose this is an exercise in vulnerability through self-reflection.
My writing practice is an area where I experience confusion and resistance. While I love writing for self-reflection, learning, and sharing, I struggle with feelings of self-doubt, overthinking, and an obsession with the "perfection" of what I've written.
Contemplating my creative struggles is something I've discussed before
Must my writing be an arduous endeavor?
I mean, writing my thoughts isn't difficult. In fact, stream-of-consciousness writing is effortless without focusing on editing, self-censorship, the reader, and goals for the finished product. I'm aware of this, but I'm still practicing pushing such inclinations out of my mind while writing.
Why not make my writing effortless?
I edit while I write a lot. Every word, sentence, and turn of phrase is intended to articulate my thoughts to the best of my abilities. I wouldn't want you to think that I'm unintelligent, would I?
Why do I care what you think about my intelligence?
Even if I knew how you perceived my intelligence, would that matter?
If I'm writing to an audience of people at this moment, I couldn't tell you who this audience might be, save for the few friends, family members, and acquaintances who care about me enough personally to read what I write from time to time.
I hope they don't think I'm going crazy.
But what of goals?
What's a life with no goals?
Writing without goals, although a personal struggle of mine, is not at all unattainable. I'm getting better at it by the day.
Other aspects of our lives, on the other hand, are begging for goals.
If I want to retire by 55 with millions in the bank, I need some predictable long-term returns on my investments.
How do I make such investments? By securing a career as a sought-after web developer. By helping others meet their goals, I earn income that allows me to meet mine. Quid pro quo.
Why am I so interested in planning for retirement?
I suppose retirement planning is something that's programmed into my brain, having come of age in a late capitalist society. It's a dog-eat-dog world, so I better get to hoarding wealth for some indeterminate future.
The task of hoarding wealth comes at the cost of directing our actions to serve this goal.
How do I determine the actions I take?
Actions are an atomic unit of being. It's through action that life is made possible; it's the reason I'm writing these very words. But how do I determine what action to take? With experience predicated on answering the question of "what action to take," you would think I would be better at answering it after living twenty-eight years.
I frequently ask myself whether the actions I'm taking are an authentic representation of who I am, who I desire to become, and what I value.
What do I value?
Am I living in accordance with my values?
Are my actions an authentic representation of who I am?
How frequently do my actions reflect how I would like to be perceived rather than an authentic representation of who I am?
What is meaningful to me?
My relationships with people I love and care about; the wellbeing of myself and those I care about; experiencing personal growth; spending time helping and empowering others.
Aligning my actions in service of these—which are effectively my foundational values—makes time spent feel worthwhile.
I noticed that concerning myself with money didn't make the cut for my foundational values. Yet, I still spend so much time striving to meet my financial goals through the actions I take. In striving for the "American dream," it appears that my values and actions are out of lockstep.
To what extent am I comfortable with my actions and values being out of alignment?
How do I feel about what I've just written?
Does what I've written capture enough of my confusion?