I’ve been thinking a lot about passion projects lately, in part driven by tiffany han’s awesome podcast called “Raise Your Hand and Say Yes” (check her out!). Passion projects, loosely defined, are side projects that we do just for us, that extend our knowledge in an area, or feed our creative souls in ways not met by our regular routine. Lisa Congdon had a passion project that turned into a couple of books. Sometimes that happens. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to grow in new and interesting and sometimes challenging ways.
I took some time recently to brainstorm ideas for my own little passion project. Wanting to enhance my Spanish vocabulary and learn to doodle better, I thought about doodling a Spanish word a day. But meh. I like to write and occasionally send random little poems to my friends through snail mail. So I thought about a project I was calling (in my head) “52 haikus” in which I would write one per week. But again, it didn’t excite me.
So I went back to some thoughts I wrote down recently about the things that are really, super important to me. One of them was kindness. In particular, wanting to put more kindness into the world. Yes. Now that resonates.
I’ve been writing a lot of complaint letters lately. To our daycare director about teacher shortages. To the local subaru dealership about their terrible, horrible customer service. To amazon for failing to get packages to me on time when the whole point of me paying for 2 day shipping was to avoid a late night trip to Target to get that last minute gift for the 5 year old’s party on Saturday. I’m great at complaint letters. They pour out of me succint, direct, and most of the time, elicit a good response. But whew, they take a toll on me. I get fired up. I get mad. And then I rehash it by re-reading that letter that explains so well why I’m angry. It’s a negative cycle.
Then one day, I wrote a thank you note. It was simple. Just a little postcard to my librarian aunt who sent the perfect books for my little ones. And it felt so good to send that little postcard. I was happy all the way to the mailbox. I liked the idea of that message traveling from Florida to Iowa and delivering kindness.
And there it is. My passion project: 100 thank you notes. Simple and kind. I’m counting that postcard to Iowa as #1. And I’ve written #2 to a local elementary school principal who helped us successfully transfer out of her school (she was so generous – and we were leaving!). Today #3 went out to my in-laws who are still here, but leaving tomorrow after a long visit in which they gave us a lovely reprieve from feeling so very isolated these hundreds and hundreds of miles away from family.
Want to join me? I’ll be capturing my project on instagram @ahnaleemarie. Tag me in your posts if you decide to play along!
Photo credit to vistamommy on flickr creative commons.
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