Saturday, November 2, 2013

But what's the Point?

Ever since I can remember, I've had a particular problem. I have been saying lately that it's a relic of my teaching days, but probably in reality it goes back further than that and my teacherness was just another symptom of the same issue.

Hi. My name is story, and I'm an objective-aholic.

It appears at times you wouldn't expect. When I'm wandering through the toy aisles at Target, when I'm sitting on the floor with my daughters, on the rare occasions that I'm browsing Pinterest, when I sit down and put my feet up to watch junk TV at the end of the night, the same question swims through my brain.

"But what's the point?"

I look at crafts with an eye to what BG will actually get out of it. When I play with the baby, in the back of my head I'm analyzing the developmental benefits of Peek a boo versus Pat-a-cake. When I sit down at my computer to mess around and kill some time, I'm twitching for something to accomplish.

My in laws bought BG a Power Wheels car for her birthday. She loves it. But every time we get it out, my brow furrows a little. I don't understand. She isn't learning anything. She isn't getting any exercise driving it. She isn't interacting with anyone.

So what's the point?

Sometimes, as my three year old understands so much better than I do, the point is just to play. Or to rest. The point is that it's fun.


The other day, when looking for something else, I found this quote from Brene Brown about play:
Then I found some research by Dr. Stuart Brown. He said that play is something you did "that caused you to lose track of time." Which I called work. He called play "time spent without purpose." Which I called an anxiety attack.

So much of what I do is a fake busy-ness really. A busy-ness designed to numb the vulnerability of the quiet and the stillness. To make me feel like I'm accomplishing something, like I'm not a failure. To dispel the frustration and the disappointment that is really a natural part of being a stay at home parent, a natural part of being a human probably.

And when I constantly drown out the stillness, drown out the moment, drown out the scary feelings of not doing anything, of not getting anywhere? I lose out on a lot of the good stuff too. I don't give myself a chance to fail, but I don't give myself a chance to do much of anything else either.

So what's the point of all this NaNoBloPo nonsense? Is it to grow my readership? Build my writing skills? Reach some huge realization about myself? Get famous? Get someone to save me from myself?

No. It's not any of those things. It's just to do it. Just to write a blog post every day. There's no objective. There's no end goal. There is only now, in the moment, doing this thing, and that's okay.

I'm writing. And then I'm going to go sit on the floor for a while.

NaBloPoMo November 2013


  1. For me NaBloPoMo has always been great writing practice. This is my 8th year and I'm certainly not famous so it's not for that. Ha.

    In the past year, I've also tried to do things without knowing what impact they might have. We can't know everything. I didn't know when I started blogging in 2006 that I would do some of the things I've done since as a result. This past year has been, for me, about doing without knowing...

  2. This is my first year at NaBloPoMo and I am hoping that I can figure out what works for me. I have a lot of posts in the vault---just have to write them which seems to be the issue. I have no excuse. Gonna do it. Thanks for this great post. I am honestly going to try to visit everyone on the YeahWrite list at least once. At least. You are my first. I was drawn in by your pic of the teapot and the composition book. You see.....I collect teapots. :-) Write on!

  3. This is my first attempt at it too. I can relate when you talk about why you blog. Just being in the moment itself is so cathartic. And, might I say, it's such a pleasure to read your post? Some great language when compared to most of the material I see online these days. Good luck.

    Diary of a doting mom

  4. Very interesting post. I am a teacher, and with the new Common Core standards (as well as with many other movements in education over the years), anything that doesn't tie in clearly with a specific standard is getting squeezed out. But so much of what's valuable will be lost. I even heard from a kindergarten teacher that she had to take away centers that were related to free play, and yet early education experts will support that as being so valuable.

    Anyway, I am going to try NaBloPoMo, too. I usually only post once or twice a week, so for me I am hoping it will broaden my ideas of what I can write about.

  5. Story power wheels have value. She is learning cause and effect as She pushes the pedal to make the car go. She learns geometry as she figures out what turning radius will take her where she wants to go. She is learning the pleasure of feeling the wind in her hair as she navigates the world. She will learn to take turns when little sister wants to drive. She will learn patience when little sister wants to do it her way and not big sister's way. Much love to you all.

  6. As a former teacher, I understand what you're saying about tying things to objectives. However, I followed a teaching philosophy that valued process as much as if not more than product. My words of advice are to embrace the process.

  7. I've been reading this book by Michael Pollan called "cooked" and it's about food and the way we eat it and the different ways of cooking it. But basically what I'm getting at is that we know so little about how we actually get nutrients from our food and what we need to feed ourselves to get it - it's way more complex than just calories. I kind of feel that way for most things - sometimes the "reason" for why we do things is there (or isn't), but it doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. If that makes any sense at all?