A couple of weeks ago, I applied to speak at a TEDx event. It's been a goal of mine for over a year now, but only out loud since last year's TEDxVictoria event.
Hitting "send" was thrilling and terrifying (were there typos? omigod, what if there were typos! how clear was my idea? omigod, it was probably disjointed and Latin. omigod, I don't know Latin—what am I doing writing in Latin?). You know, as these things are wont to go.
I've spent most of the time since avoiding thinking about it at all, and certainly not telling people I applied. Why, you ask? Simple: If I tell people I applied and then I'm not accepted, well, that would be mortifying. Much better to keep it a secret. That way, I can writhe about in my insecurity in private. Plus, if I don't think about it, then I won't think about how much I want it, and then it won't hurt as much if I don't get it. [N.B. This hasn't stopped me from thinking about it.]
Yup, my fears are to be enjoyed by me and me alone. How fun and how typical of me.
I hear of other people who've applied and I'm immediately certain that they're going to be accepted and I won't. Obviously. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?
In addition to telling very few people about it, I also haven't shared in any great detail what I want to talk about. Secret secrets are my thing lately, I guess.
I am reading "Show Your Work!" by Austin Kleon. The idea is that creativity and brilliance grow best when exposed to the light of day and other human beings. I realized that possessively guarding my ideas was selfish and stupid and an entirely unnecessary waste of my energy. It stops my ideas from getting bigger and better. Plus, they're not my own to begin with, really. It's just the way I want to present them that's my own.
[Tweet "What would I do, who would I be and how would I live if I actually knew my expiration date?"]
So, rather than make a big secret deal about it (can you even make a big, secret deal about something? I don't know, but I'm sure if it's possible, I could do it), I'll just say that what I want to do is inspire people to think about their lives from the perspective that they have an expiration date. It's really hard to grasp not being here, because we've been here for as long as we know anything. We've lived in our own infinity, in a way.
See, I don't know anything but my life, so I only know what it's like to be here, living. Living is literally the only thing I know. But someday, I won't be anymore and that sobers (scares? inspires!) the bejeezus out of me: Am I making the most of my brief and precious time here? What would I do, who would I be and how would I live if I actually knew the date of my last day? I'm not super-comfortable with thoughts of my own mortality, so even typing this makes my palms sweat, my heart race. A sense of urgency tingles in my thoughts and in my body.
In the spirit of borrowing ideas and talking about them, I'd like to share this video. It's awesome and it uses 28,834 jelly beans as a metaphor for the days of your life. "You might have more beans in your life, or maybe less, but on average, this is the time we have."
What do you think? What if you just had one bean left? One more day. What would you do with it?