Wherein I turn in the direction of the music

I've had a semi-ironic appointment with myself on the calendar for a few months now, called "Colleen's Happy Holiday Break."

In case it's not obvious, I'm ambivalent at best when it comes to the season. I do look forward to certain treats, the annual viewing of The Third Man, the delivery of the pears. But on top of the regular-usual seasonal depression, this year and last have been a little brutal when it comes to my backwards/forwards review and goal-planning for one simple reason: I have no idea what I'm doing next.

Or maybe I do, and am avoiding it. I know, for example, that I need to continue letting go of the things I acquired during the accumulative years, all the shit I was buying and trying as I looked outside of myself for my style and my wants and my definition*. I know I need to really and truly (and literally) close the books on my moribund graphic design business, something I'd already be fighting because of my perennial money issues but that's exponentially (haha) more difficult because it means I really and truly need to commit to the next thing.

What I don't know yet is what the next thing looks like, because there's no track for it. There was a school track, an advertising track, an acting track. Even graphic design was a sort of track: I knew what the jobs looked like, I knew either how to go get them or could enlist help in figuring it out. I'm good at tracks! Maybe most of us are. Given a clear target, figuring out where to point one's guns is pretty simple; without a target, one tends to spend most of one's time bivouacked on the fields of WTF, smoking unfiltered cigarettes and trying to hold the freakouts at bay.**

I have cordoned off these two weeks for search purposes, keeping them relatively free of commitments. The few non-holiday-related ones are my lifelines, the accountability meetups (I'm up to three regularly scheduled ones, plus a one-off). The interior renovations began in earnest yesterday, as I began prep on my annual 100 Things list.*** A tradition that began as a silly exercise has turned into a silly exercise that has me dumping the contents of every memory container in the digital house all over the desktop and sifting through it. Cathartic! And horrifying!

I'm not alone in this, thank gawd. Backwards/forwards values-based planning is all the rage now, and there are wonderful, detailed posts from all sorts of smart folks who are organized enough to have this plan underway, if not already completed. I'm also weighing the possibility of chucking my old program and just rolling with a Happiness Project in 2010. Hey, who couldn't use more happiness, right?

Wherever I end up, though, I start here: me, (metaphorically) naked, my stuff spread out before me under a good, strong light.

Words of wisdom and encouragement (and even commiseration) most welcome...


*Don't get me wrong, that decade of 38-to-48 was wildly important, and I regret very little of it. But to keep scouring the world outside for answers would be like a 14-year-old still playing dress-up from the tatty cast-offs in mom's trunk.

**Okay. No one is dying on these battlefields anytime soon. Bad analogy, perhaps. But likening my mental state to one of the characters from Interiors is too embarrassing even for me, not to mention hopelessly obscure.

***If you've never had the pleasure and enjoy list-y stuff, they're 95% evergreen: 2008 (Part 1 & Part 2) will link you to all the rest. Or let Google do the work for you.

Image by eddiedangerous via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.