Big Scout Project

Happy Birthday, Big Scout Project

Today is the Big Scout Project’s second birthday. Not coincidentally, it’s my 52nd birthday. It’s a low-key birthday. I’ll be celebrating with a dinner and a movie tonight (Argo).When the BSP was “born,” I laughingly assumed it would only take three years to work my way through all of the 600 tasks to complete about 100 badges. It might’ve been possible had I not worked an actual job and had no other interests or obligations, but after the first year I had to get real about this goal.

And that was hard for me. I like goals to be time-bound. I like to set an end date right up front and plan backwards from there. I like to measure my progress along the way and make sure I’m on track.

But as I’ve worked on this project, I realized quite concretely that a three-year deadline was not only an insane pace for the project, but it kind of misses the larger point: if the BSP’s ultimate objective is to offer a platform for ‘lifelong learning,” then why race towards its end?

A-ha moments like these are, of course, come as a great relief to one’s psyche. We remember that, in large measure, we have a lot of say in how we construct our lives. And if we’ve given ourselves a challenge that feels overwhelming, we’re completely within our rights to modify that challenge. For me, I want to feel a little uncomfortable (cause that’s how learning happens), but at this point in life, I don’t want to feel overwhelmed by self-imposed deadlines and constructs.

So what’s the past year been like? Packed, actually.

My job of many years wound down, and I transitioned to a new job. A lot–a LOT–of time, energy, and love went into the release of a new CD. I went to my 30th college reunion, and we all spoke of a good friend whose absence was felt; we learned months later that she had died.

My back gets stiff as hell now if I don’t do a little yoga in the mornings. Other than seasonal allergies and one cold, I’ve been otherwise healthy. But several people I love and people close to me, have struggled with health issues, and I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the speed with which our lives pass and what a bummer aging can be.

And the BSP marched forth, but not with the same sense of urgency as the first year. It was a lot more fun to work on this way.

I imagine the coming year will bring more of the same and a whole lot of unknowns.

A friend posted this on Facebook today, and I’m thinking this is my motto for the next year:

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

Happy Birthday, BSP! Here’s to the next year, your “terrible twos,” and whatever incremental learning you bring.


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