Endings and Beginnings

As we proceed toward the middle of March (or the the “ides”, I suppose, if you’re a fan of the Roman system), I’m coming up on a couple of endings. The end of my stay here at Jentel will be early next week, and though I’m excited to get back to Lorie, I’m going to miss the folks I’ve met here, and hope that I can be a good correspondent and keep in touch as we scatter back to our respective homes across the country.

More immediate than my return to Montana next week, tomorrow marks the concluding date of the 101 in 1001 days project, the final day of a nearly three-year effort to get some things in my life accomplished. If you’re not really sure what I’m talking about, you can read about the beginning of the project here, along with some of my motivations as to why I started doing it in the first place.

At the moment, I’ve successfully completed 63 of my 101 goals, and I have some plans to squeak one or two more in tomorrow right under the wire. I don’t remember if I intended to go up to or through March 9th, but I’m going to go ahead and consider midnight tomorrow my deadline. Anyway, that’s just me nitpicking.

So, with 38 goals remaining on the list, it seems pretty clear that there’s at least a few of them I won’t be able to get accomplished in time, such as hiking the thousand-ish mile Montana portion of the Continental Divide trail. I probably won’t get too far on that one in the next day, particularly since I’d have to start out from Wyoming! I’m actually okay with leaving several goals unfinished on the list, and frankly, several of them are things I’m not sure I care that much about any more… or at least would implement differently. Since the project began, though, I’ve been keeping a sort of “shadow list” of other accomplishments. This list is a series of things I accomplished that aren’t on the list, but kind of would like to still get “credit” for doing. The two dozen things on that little list help to lessen the sting of the unaccomplished items on the other list, and include major things such as “I got married”, and minor like “I went to Casa Bonita again”.

The simple fact is that even though I only successfully got through some 62% of my list, I got a lot of things accomplished in the last couple years, and I feel like I’ve been living my life actively and deliberately. And that, of course, is the whole reason I started the list in the first place.

Endings often mark new beginnings, however, and such will be the case for these couple of endings too. I will no doubt craft and begin a new 101 in 1001 list within the next several weeks, once more with the goal of shaping myself into the sort of person I’d like to be, doing the kind of things I’d like to do. As for life post-residency… well, that’s a little more amorphous, I suppose. I hope to build on this experience, and do interesting things in my future, and hopefully won’t slip back into routine back home. Perhaps the time has come for Lorie and I to explore opportunities outside of Montana on a more long-term basis. We’ll see, I suppose. In addition to time to work on new things, the residency has also been a bit of a shelter from the future’s uncertainties, but overall I’m looking forward to the coming months. I honestly have no idea where I may be three years from now when I’m once again contemplating the ending of another 101 in 1001 list, but I would’ve said the same thing back in June 2009, never expecting this to be written in Wyoming while at an artist residency!

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