I miss school.
I miss the structure of a syllabus, the organization of assigned work, and the clarity of metrics determining whether you've successfully completed the task or not.
Above all, I miss the pure dedication to one task at a time. Sure, I had jobs, sports, friends, and other commitments on the side. But school was always my priority. It was my main gig. It was what determined my schedule; it dictated both what I would do each day and when I would take breaks throughout the year.
Yes, it was hard and there were days, especially in law school, when I wished for the constant studying and exams to be behind me. But now that I've been out in the real world for 15 years, I'm realizing what a vast, open ocean this place called adulthood is. And it's more than a little unsettling.
Now that I have the freedom to decide exactly what to focus on, I realize how many different directions my life can be pulled at once. The possibilities are wide open.
Since I left the academic world, I've been on a constant learning curve of how to be an adult, while simultaneously trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I've learned how to build good habits, negotiate like a pro, and master my wealth consciousness in order to run a successful company. I'm just as passionate about self-improvement in my personal life.
But there are no final exams here. There is only the wide open expanse of self-improvement and personal satisfaction. It all makes me reminisce about the certainty of true-false questions and the regularity of exam schedules.
I long to master the new skills I'm learning and ace the final. But there is no final exam for life.
Through it all, I'm also wondering if this is really all there is. When no teachers are there to grade you, how do you know if you're doing well or are barely getting by?
At some point, I began to realize that I am the one who gets to set the metrics by which I will judge the success of my life.
So I chart all the possible paths I could take and I narrow it all down to just one.
For the month of August, I am doing a 31-day writing challenge. I will write every single day. This is my North Star. No need to worry about all of the other possibilities and paths. In order to reclaim the level of focus I want, I'm giving myself a pass in every other area of life this month.
My goal is to write just 10 minutes a day. I'm pausing the multitude of questions about when, what, and how I will publish and who will read my work. I will answer one simple question each day: Did I write 10 minutes? This is how I will judge success this month. Easy-to-measure metrics. Simple true-false question.
If you need a writing intensive, you're welcome to join me. Share your goal in the comments and let us know how you're doing. How far can we go this month when we give it the focus of a student during finals week?