It’s Day 1 of the Big Scout Project. It’s my 50th birthday.
In addition to launching the BSP, I’m concurrently spending this great day in the recording studio working on the new CD and looking to earn credit for a task or two for the music badges while I’m at it.*
Anyway, in preparation for the BSP, I’ve given a lot of thought to why this project feels really good to do, and I thought I’d share a fraction of it in this kick-off post.
Living a Wider Life
We live in age that values specialization pretty highly. Case in point: my title at the office is actually “Technical Specialist.” My observation is that, for the most part, the focus of our lives becomes increasingly narrow as we pass through adulthood. We pick a major in college, we become tracked in our career path, we choose a mate (or two, or three), we focus on parenthood. We may have a couple of hobbies or interests outside of these, we may squeeze in a vacation now and then, but we really put our attention on only a few things. If we’re lucky (like me), we mostly get to choose those things on which we focus; if we’re less lucky, many of those things are chosen for us.
The upside to specialization is that we can live lives of familiarity, and there’s comfort in that. But there’s another side to that coin. We are less encouraged or able to learn new things. There’s less time for the new in our lives. Windows we once considered open to us quietly close as we settle into our niches. And for those of us who wonder, “What if I’d pursued that other path? How might my life have been different?”, we may find that a small hole inside ourselves becomes bigger and heavier with time.
We hold out hope that all of this will change once we get to our “golden years” and retirement. That’s when we’ll learn new things, write our novel, travel the world, reduce our stress, and live the good life with passion. That’s when we’ll get to open up and live a wider life.
I think I may be luckier than most, in that I’ve gotten to do some really cool things for long stretches of time in the past 30 years or so.
But I still don’t know the first thing about a whole lot of things that might be of incredible interest to me if only I did them. Things that could open up my imagination, things that might have enormous practical application for me, things that would just be serious fun.
Sound familiar? Ring a bell?
Finding a Framework for a Wider Life
Don’t know how others have handled the big 5-0, but for two years, I’ve wondered how I’d celebrate this milestone. I thought about traveling through Europe or Asia or Africa. Any of those trips would be astounding and create memories to last the rest of my life. But every time I thought about such a trip, I also thought about coming home and returning to my familiar, status quo life. (My life, btw, is wonderful, but it’s still familiar). I realized I was looking for something more subtle and permanent than jumping out of a plane over Tuscany; something that might influence how I’d like to spend the last third or so of my life.
The BSP is the framework for making that happen for me. It’s challenging, it’s doable, it’s different, it’s fun. It’s bound to widen life and inform the future in some way.
Anyone can find a framework for living a wider life that works for him/her. This is just the one that I’ve picked (and you could pick it, too). Anyway, let’s see where it goes.
* The CD, Girls, Good & Otherwise = the other dream project, and for you music junkies out there, the dream team is assembled. Bruce Hughes on bass (Jason Mraz, Poi Dog Pondering, The Scabs), Rob Hooper on drums and percussion (Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsythe), and producer/husband/provocateur Charles Rieser on guitars (The Scabs and more….).
Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos