If one universal truth exists, it is that only we know our true selves, and even that can be murky. Others have ideas, theories, and oblique references about us. Only we know what we represent, and those self-beliefs can also be fleeting.
My Unexpected Life
Grappling with keeping my writings engaging, but somewhat thought-provoking is challenging. Fellow writer Joe Shackley, author of “Being & Niceness,” delves into some great philosophical underpinnings of our inner and outer lives. Roger Peterson, author of “Mind and Love,” also explores the human psyche in an open, humanistic manner. I don’t dare dig into those territories, as I am not equipped to do so without copious research.
What I have learned in the beginning stages of what I like to think of as my starting point of “writing for writing’s sake” has been how prescient the title of this website was. “My Unexpected Life”: so general, but so true to myself. Almost by accident, the very first, original title intersected with my goal as an author.
Every story that I have written is the result of something truly unexpected. Originally intending to write about overcoming fear and adversity, there have been myriad twists and turns. Straggling the social media tightropes of “travel”, “food”, “lifestyle”, and other such topics has been a learning experience in and of itself.
The one thing that I am more certain of than ever is uncertainty. And the other is learning, through writing, about the difference between being self-centered and centering myself.
An avid non-journal keeper, this new foray into writing has tested my memory and also my values. Just another of life’s tightropes between self-expression and self-aggrandizement.
Ironically, a friend put this into words very early in my Internet writings. He asked about my writing process, which was met with a bit of silence, as I hadn’t considered the question. I answered as best I could. Our follow-up conversation was prescient. How does one write posts meant to inspire others without being self-absorbed?
Beyond Versus Within
Filling you in about something generally personal, but not of any grave concern to those who know me well; the past few months have been a clear challenge. They have required dignity, self-discipline, and pride. As an aside, those words happen to have been part of our music department motto in my high school years: “Excellence through Dignity, Self-discipline, Dedication, and Pride!” Oh, what we remember from our youth…
The bottom line are two important lessons I have learned by writing for others:
1. Look BEYOND one’s being to inspire others.
2. Look WITHIN one’s being to practice self-compassion.
The past few days that led to writing this post have been extremely rewarding after a fairly sustained period of general negativity in my life. It is my hope that those who read this will feel the confidence to center themselves without being self-centered.
I offer no magical formula. We do as we always do: figure it out as we go along, while being as real as we can be.
If, by some chance, you are having a rough day, week, month, or longer—you are not alone.
It is not self-centered to center yourself…
In My Unexpected Life, I will share stories, thoughts, and simple ideas to entertain and maybe even inspire others to engage with new food, travel, and more…no matter how big or small those experiences may be.
Even if my writings do not produce the desired result—please enjoy the blog!
Very honest and easy to relate to. I think many of us struggle with the issues you describe here; nice to know we are not alone. Cheers Kevin!
Thanks for reading! The struggle is real. 🙂
Excellent post buddy! And thanks for the mention. I feel like I am quite centred at the moment, after a wobbly period
The writing has been helpful for me with the ups and downs. I’m glad you’re also feeling less “wobbly.” Excellent!
Great post. This is something I’ve been considering lately too- how to colour the articles with my own experiences (they’re all I have, after all) without making it about me? I couldn’t conjure a clear-cut answer, but my intuition is usually a helpful resource! I re-edited an already-posted piece the other day because something about it just wasn’t sitting well. Looking again, I realised I’d overshared- my personal issues were too involved somehow. I felt I’d crossed that invisible line.
This is a really interesting process, and a learning curve on all fronts 🙂 It was great hearing your thoughts, especially the part about looking beyond and within one’s being in order to inspire others / find self-compassion- I hadn’t heard that before. Thanks so much for sharing. Tilly.
Thanks for reading this, Tilly. It is definitely a balancing act. You are so correct about editing to avoid oversharing.
I love that “It is not self-centered to center yourself” pattern of thought, Kevin. It reminds me of another saying I’ve heard that I return to constantly: it’s not selfish to practice self-care. I think there are writers who write for themselves and there are writers that write for others. I don’t see anything wrong with either approach, but maybe magic happens when they intersect. As in life. 😉
Well said! I think that intersection is the human part of writing. Thanks for reading the post!
Very great post, Kevin, and truly – very relatable, and concise.
I think that is the most interesting and difficult task when writing – finding purpose, audience, and trying to figure out the magic formula of dictating our goals when we write. That is one of the hardest things I face when trying to write – I want to share my experiences but focus on the bigger picture around it.
My most recent post on Linlithgow I almost scrapped all together because I had allowed my head to think that it would be boring to people, but when I took a couple days and revisited – I recognized there was one story of something I discovered from my own curiosity in my experience that lit the fire to convince me to share it.
Thanks! And that Linlithgow one was an excellent post!
Love this point of view, one I may have actually been shamed to embrace as I think about it.
“Avid non-journal keeper.” I love that!!
i definitely relate to the unexpected twists and turns of blogging. I started with a certain degree of trepidation; thinking the blog would be unveiled exploration of my midlife transition. Instead, it has been mostly about… everything but that. 🙂
I really appreciate your comment about looking beyond ourselves to inspire and looking within ourselves for compassion. While I certainly don’t know you well, I sense this personal truth just in the ways that you interact with others on social media.
Keep sharing. I always appreciate your thoughtful approach.
Thank you, Roger! Your words mean a lot, as I also notice the way you interact with others on social media. Plus, we both like Arvo Pärt!