Being a duck

Happy New Year, readers! I hope you are doing well, and that you had a wonderful holiday. Mine was full of cute babies, good food, long walks, family, friends and lots of movie watching and cat cuddling. It's been a good vacation. Here's my parents' cat, Ella, claiming her gift territory.

Today I woke up and had the urge to write. I didn't feel like I should write; I actually wanted to write. I've had this urge several times over the past year, yet most of the time I've stopped myself with thoughts like "I haven't written in so long - I can't start now" and "Do I have to go back and write all the blog entries I said I would write before I write this one? Slacker!" and "Meh - maybe I'll just watch Gilmore Girls instead". Don't judge on that last one. You've all been there.

Yet today I embraced the idea that I wanted to write without judgment. It's something I've decided to leave behind in my new year. Judgement is SO 2014. How liberating!

I've always had varied interests. I've tried blogging, marathon running, painting, salsa dancing, novel writing, Buddhist meditation, yoga and more. I'm still working on embracing my dabbling, since I've always wanted to have one or two areas of expertise. I've always wanted to be able to say - I'm an expert at ____. One website that I love, The Dabblist, is all about a woman striving to remove society's taboo around dabbling. She publishes tons of great resources to experiment with making things with your hands, which is so much fun. Some might consider dabbling flighty or lacking commitment. I prefer to think of it as continually having new mini adventures.

When I looked up images of dabbling, I came up with photos like this:

This surprised me at first. I re-checked my search to figure out why I had gotten images of ducks. Then I looked up the definition of dabbling from Merriam-Webster and came up with two: "to work or involve oneself superficially or intermittently especially in a secondary activity" and "interest to paddle, splash, or play in or as if in water". Upon further research, the image above actually linked to an article called Don't Be a Duck. Stop Dabbling. I read it, and promptly resolved to do the opposite.

I've been trying out new things/dabbling and judging myself, and I'm ready to break my pattern. Here's what happens: I'll find something I really like to do, I'll have a couple of moments where I truly enjoy it, and then I'll put so many rules and regulations on myself that it feels like another obligation and I stop it entirely. For example, I took this amazing Zumba class a couple of months ago. I danced like no one was watching and loved it. Yet shortly thereafter I implemented a schedule for myself, put all the dates in my calendar, and fell off the wagon the next week. Where's the fun in dabbling and trying new things when there's so much pressure to become an expert at every new activity?

So, on this rainy day in Philly, I've decided to think about the New Year a bit differently this time. Remember last year, when I proudly proclaimed all of my blogging New Year's Resolutions? Even just reading that list sends me into a panic now. It was too much, which is why I stopped blogging altogether and felt guilty about it for the rest of the year. I then created my writing website, and immediately started feeling bad for having no clients. I thought it had to be all or nothing, and couldn't see any in-between.

This year, instead of resolutions, I'm all about core desired feelings. Danielle LaPorte has created a really amazing way to think about goals that might seem at first like you're doing it backwards, The Desire Map. She says that in actuality, we are all chasing feelings rather than goals and to-do lists. For me, I've found that to be true. So here's what I desire to feel in 2015:

I desire to live my life in a way to feel these feelings, rather than making a gym schedule for myself. Looking back on the two definitions of dabbling, I'm really loving this one; "interest to paddle, splash, or play in or as if in water". That's what 2015 will be all about for me: paddling, splashing and playing, doing and saying what makes me feel true to myself (starting with this blog post) immersing myself in beauty, having adventures, connecting with people I love, and continually finding my courage. It's not all or nothing. I'm going to live in the in-between. Who knows what this year will bring? I'm excited to find out. What are you excited for in 2015?

There's nothing wrong with being a duck.