This week’s challenge turned out to be a real challenge for me. It was meant to be a week of no negativity and I found I had to keep monitoring the things I said for any negative sentiment – and there were so many I was horrified at how negative I was. But then I started to think about exactly what it meant to be negative.
On day one I drove into Canberra to do some Christmas shopping. This is a forty-five minute drive along a pretty busy highway, and while I am content to putter along at the speed limit in my small, fuel-efficient Ford Focus I notice how many people fly past me in their large fossil fuel guzzling four wheel drives. The first guy goes past and I grumble. ‘Look at that guy,’ I say. ‘Doesn’t he care about getting booked by the police?’ Ooops. Negative thought right there. The second guy overtakes me when there is oncoming traffic. ‘Oh my god! What is the rush? These people must really love their jobs if they are in such a hurry to get there!’ Aaarrggghh – more negativity. I remind myself to breathe, to chill out. It’s okay if they want to go faster than me. I just wish they wouldn’t put me in danger.
I arrive at the shops and have a fun morning trying on new outfits. But as the day wears on it gets busier and busier. Being a country girl I hate crowds. I hate standing in line and I hate having to dodge around people while I’m shopping. I hate, I hate I hate… no no no – that is more negativity. More reminders to breathe and let these other people share their shopping experience with me.
Day two is spent quietly at home and I manage to be mostly positive, working on my novel and watching some dvds. Then evening comes and I ring my dad. Mum has been in hospital again, nothing major but just a precautionary visit. She’s not well enough to speak to me. I talk to dad for about fifteen minutes and then go and sit on my bed and have a little cry. Sometimes I feel so far away from them.
Day three I am making myself a list of favourite movies of all time. Many of these make me laugh and some make me shake me head. It’s a lot of fun and I’ll post my list one day soon. Then I come across a movie title that makes me instantly burst into tears. I don’t understand why, but I feel this overwhelming emotion burst inside. It was called Love Story and I don’t even remember having seen it. Why did the title affect me this way? So I look it up and then I vaguely remember my older sisters watching Love Story when I was a little kid. I cry a bit more when I read the plot and I have this clear memory of the final scene when Ali McGraw’s character dies. What an impact that movie must have had on my young mind to make me react that way.
Day four my housemates and I put up our Christmas tree. We play Christmas songs and sing and laugh and have a great time. There is tinsel all over the floor and we get tangled in each other trying to put the lights around the tree. It’s great and I’m reminded of why I love the excitement of Christmas so much. As I climb into bed that night I smile to myself because this is the most positive I have felt all week.
Day five I meet a couple of friends for breakfast at a cafe. This has been a regular weekly thing and we laugh and talk seriously and gossip as I scoff my delicious ham and cheese croissant. The rest of the day I eat healthy so I allow myself this one little indulgence. I walk home feeling great. My friends feed me lots of positive energy and there is hardly a negative thought anywhere to be seen.
Day six and I have nearly reached my target word count for my novel for the week. I’m up to a total of 40,000 words (target at least 80,000 so I’m halfway there). I feel like I’ve really made progress this week because the plot is taking shape. I’m using a different approach this time and focusing on one character a week (this is my fourth week) and I’m really happy with the way I have been able to weave their storylines together. There will still be a bit of work editing but that is a job for later. Right now I just feel happy with what I have written.
Day seven and it is 5:30 am as I sit up in bed with my laptop and write this blog. Outside I can hear the birds cheeping and I just know it’s going to be a great day. I feel a little twinge of nervous excitement inside because I’m heading to Brisbane this morning and my mind is already whirring with all the things I have to do before I go to the airport. As I think about my week of no negativity I realise that I am pretty hopeless at it. I always think of myself as a positive person but now I see there are lots of negative thoughts there as well. But I realise that negativity is not necessarily bad. It’s not bad when I disagree with an idea, or think someone is stupid for driving dangerously, and it’s not bad to feel sad or emotional. the important thing isn’t no negativity, it’s to make sure there is plenty of positive in your life. I’m excited about my trip to Brisbane and I’m excited that next week’s challenge is creativity.
Have a fab weekend