Footprints only tell us where we've been, not where we're going

Good mornin’ ya’ll. How you folks doin’ today? (In my best home grown, Georgia accent) I have been noticeably absent this past week in the Social Media realm, which has given me able time to think. Time to contemplate this post. Even more so, time to contemplate the direction of this blog. To understand its purpose in my present life as well as my future. As a fellow blogger or entrepreneur, perhaps, my story below will seem familiar, one you’ve encountered in your own journey. Then again, maybe, falling back on my most seasoned crutch, I’m just crazy and desperately trying to make sense of it all while effectively clutching at a handful of sand.

Without Further Ado…

Have my posts plunged into mediocrity or am I becoming jaded on the fabric that is this blog’s central theme? Each post I write carries its own uniqueness, but in reality, that uniqueness represents only a slight variation in a series of indistinguishable posts. I’ve written how to perceive hardship [relationship, business, fear, health] as a veiled opportunity for growth, and nothing more. Each post is a mocking reminder of my martyred tone and helpless floundering. They represent 30+ timorous attempts to convince myself of my own ability to overcome fear, self-doubt, and adversity. But as evidenced by the unyielding similarity of these posts, one must question the sincerity of my words and value of my counsel. Does Jamey Burrell heed his own advice? I’m not sure.

Passion was all I needed

I once thought that passion, regardless of material, was the only requisite of becoming a successful blogger or writer, but I’m beginning to doubt that assumption. Passion certainly will separate a good blogger from a great one, but is passion sustainable without content originality? Would I experience growth as a storyteller if I sought to entertain by simply interchanging people, places and dates without altering the plot? Would my fulfillment dwindle? Likely. Would my audience shrink? Undeniably. For too long, I have clutched despondency, despair, and hardship as my muses and characters alike without exalting achievement or recognizing progress.

Am I an underdog striving for martyrdom instead of revering achievement?

As I drivel on about the ups and downs of my own life, I begin to doubt the purpose with which I began this foray. Personal discovery and self-awareness were my goals. Vivid introspection in 1500 word increments would be the catalyst for my renaissance and serve as a guidepost for future successes. If could organize my thoughts and desires on paper, in a blog, then I’d surely derive a clear sense of purpose and direction. I would do this with unbridled fervor and honesty. I would benefit. Perhaps, readers, too, would benefit. I was ready. The questions that arose in my own journey would inspire me, and my passion would fuel me. I would forge myself in the fires of candid self-examination, and I would pull a refined, confident self from the flames on the other side.

When I type, I employ every ounce of passion, every resource of my intellect, but I’m not seeing the results that I had envisioned. Do not misunderstand me; the community in which I find myself is unprecedented. In such a small period of time, I have developed friendships that span the globe. I’m an undeserving recipient of unrelenting support and genuine kindness unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. My perspective on this intertwined double helix that is life and business has been altered for the better. As a 25 year old, I see the world through a lens perhaps better prescribed for someone many years my elder, which I recognize as an invaluable advantage.

What do I see?

Through the lens of my own experience, my vision was clear; it was 20:20, but that lens has become fogged. Perhaps, as Susan Finch suggested in her recent post Why Creativity Matters When You Don’t Know Who You Are, it’s not that my lens is blurring, rather I’m in a phase of shifting prescriptions. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not that my material has become bland, but that I have outgrown my material. As a blogger, it’s time to move on.

In a sense, slightly ignorant of recent personal development, I have outgrown past goals, and now I find myself standing in unexplored territory without the faintest idea where the hell I’m going.  My career, which was once planned with acute precision and tangible benchmarks to measure achievement, has suddenly be thrust into a black hole of vagueness. My blogging ambitions are now less defined but also less dependent upon introspection and self-examination. I still pilot the same vehicles: my career and this blog. However, I not only don’t know what lies on the road ahead but I scarcely know what road I’m on.

‘Scuse Me, Garmin thingy mah-jig, Where the Hell AM I?

The answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know where I’ll be one year from now, one month from now, one day from now, or one hour from now — wait, well, that I do know. But I know the course of this blogging endeavor is changing as is the direction of my life. It is a gentle bank, not a sudden swerve, but I feel it nonetheless. I am and have been experiencing tremendous personal growth that is propelling me forward into the unknown, and although I may not have the slightest inkling where the hell I am or where the hell I’m going, I damn sure know that I’m heading the right way.

So, I leave it to you. Do You Know Where the Hell You Are? Where You Are Going?
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  • http://twitter.com/lifeforinstance Life, for instance

    Jamey,
    “They represent 30+ timorous attempts to convince myself of my own ability to overcome fear, self-doubt, and adversity. ”

    That about says it for me! Blogging is a great way to get to self-awareness and personal growth. I love that you don’t know where you’re going and know that you don’t know. Someone wise once said; “to wonder is to begin to understand”. Never under estimate that!

    For the first time in my life I know where I am and where I’m going. That’s way too long a story for a comment box. Suffice it to say I needed all the experiences I’ve had so far to get here, I love where I am, and I know I’ll get to where I want to go.

    Maybe if I’d started asking the questions at age 25 I’d have taken fewer detours. I don’t know. But it certainly has been all worth it up to now!

    • http://www.lifeasanexperiment.com James D. Burrell II

      Lori,

      I love that quote. “to wonder is to begin to understand.” It’s going up on my tack board. I’ve always thought I knew where I was going, but I’m taking great stock in recognizing that I only knew that I was not running towards the finish line but the start line instead. Recently, I feel a world of opportunity has opened before me, and it is this increase in opportunity that gives me pause. It’s exciting. I’m not nervous or anxious, just wholly uncertain.

      I really appreciate your wonderful comment, and I have enjoyed reading your blog, too.

      Happy Hump Day to you my dear.

      Thanks,

      Jamey

  • Brenda Lynn

    Jamey, once again, you amaze me with your insight. You are truly an old soul in a young body. You are light years ahead of where I was at 35, even. I am just *finding* myself for the first time. For so long, I was identified as B’s wife or S & BA’s mom and there wasn’t anything wrong with that. For the most part I loved being a wife and being a mom is one of the most important things that I have ever done. For now, I am navigating in uncharted waters for me and so far, so good. Thanks for another thought provoking blog, my friend.

    Brenda Lynn

    • http://www.lifeasanexperiment.com James D. Burrell II

      Well, Brenda, being an old soul certainly has its benefits, but sometimes I see it as a curse. How I wish to view the world in superficial terms, as my days to acceptably do so are fleeting. Too bad I realize that a whimsical lifestyle would never fulfill me, and I’d never wish to do so.

      I’m so happy that your are discovering your own identity, for it’s never too late to live for ourselves. May your travels through the uncharted waters bring you gentle breezes, sunny days, and a whole lotta love.

      JB

  • http://www.CreativeGuideToLife.com Susan

    Floundering is what gets us closer to who we really are. We need to self reflect, or we wouldn’t be able to push ourselves forward or grow. It’s definitely hard. Harsh even. Uncertain. Anxiety-ridden. Peeling back dead layers. Thinking we have it all figured out, only to find out we have nothing figured out.

    At the end of the day, I try to think about what I want my life to look like and act accordingly. I also try to do something new, even if it doesn’t stick. Like ask someone I rarely see to brunch, out of the blue. Or go for a walk by myself until my legs hurt just to see the waterfront from an angle I haven’t explored. Or try a new hobby.

    Travel. Travel also rips you from your rut. I traveled solo in my 20′s frequently, and found it at times lonely but completely exhilarating in other ways.

    • http://www.lifeasanexperiment.com James D. Burrell II

      I completely agree. “Floundering … gets us closer to who we really are.” I’ve never taken stock in my life, pulled back and analyzed where I was going, during a period of extreme productivity and business. I’m blinded by the work. Blinded by the present to understand the past or anticipate the future.

      It’s a strange metaphor, peeling back dead layers, but it works. So often, I find myself trying to put on my ‘future suit’ forgetting that I’ve got to shed the skin, the exoskeleton, of my former self in order for it to fit. I’ve got to let go of the past in order to live for today and make it to tomorrow.

      This past year has been all about new experiences; some good, some bad, but they’ve all helped me grow into who I am.

      Thanks for your comment, Susan. I greatly appreciate every morsel of perspective and insight you share with me. I am more grateful of our friendship with each passing day.

      All the best,

      JB

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    Jamey, Just dropped by to see what you are doing and you’ve been getting all deep and meaningful again. I recently posted that I wish I had made plans, thought ahead in terms of my career and worked to get there; instead I focused on doing a good job, yet didn’t pay attention to the networking and other career building requirements. But then what 20-something worries about the career they want to have in their 40s? Well you do and IMO that means you’re ahead of the game. Not to get all zen or anything, you’re possibly already aware it’s more about the journey than destination, but also know you can’t let yourself get too lost along the way, you do have to have a goal and get somewhere. FWIW.

    • http://www.lifeasanexperiment.com James D. Burrell II

      Perhaps I am ahead of the game, and I am flattered and humbled that you believe so. It’s a strange experience, shifting goals. We make goals. We write them down, permanently giving them paramount importance in our lives with only way to scratch them off being through achievement, right? Wrong. Sometimes, we have to scratch them off because attainment is no longer necessary because the Goal itself is no longer necessary.

      Sometimes that is hard to grasp and even harder to implement (abandoning a former goal). I can’t honestly say that I’ve abandoned any goals, however, they have undergone a subtle metamorphosis – indistinguishable to the outsider but blatant to the owner of said goals.

      This is an exciting time for me, Davina, and I’m happy that you stopped by to share your thoughts with me.

      All the best,

      Jamey

  • http://www.enteradulthood.com Diana Antholis

    Hi Jamey
    Do any of us really know where the hell we are going?
    I sure don’t.
    For security purposes, we plan away into our futures – but any of that can change in an instant.
    I am a planner to the core – but I have been living in ambiguity for almost a year now. At first, I hated it and rebelled, but now – I embrace it. I know there is nothing I can do but go day by day and learn from every experience I have.
    I still plan things – in the short-term – or dream of things that will happen in the future, but I don’t become severely disappointed as I previously did when those things don’t happen.
    Just keep doing what you’re doing – and don’t overanalyze it – I think that’s what gets us. I’ve been there. And I guess part of me is still there, working on this.
    Hope you are doing well otherwise! :)

    • http://www.lifeasanexperiment.com James D. Burrell II

      Diana,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for your patience in my response time. On more than one occasion, I have made made excel spreadsheets to rigidly set down short-term and intermediate term plans, but I’m learning day by day, plans are simply guideposts we create for ourselves to keep us heading in the right direction. However, they are seldom carried out with exactness.

      Once my restaurant opening settles down, I’ll certainly have more time to check back in over on your blog (which I regret that it’ll probably be another week or so).

      Thanks and have a great Wednesday!!

      JB