Daily Log – Day 328

Thirty-seven days. That’s the time I have left in this quest.  Eleven months ago I thought a year was more than enough time to figure out my own answer to the question: What is goodness? Hah! Was I a fool or what?

But I’m not being completely honest. I do have an answer in mind. In fact, I’m already composing the post for Day 365, and the answer I’m going to announce isn’t what I expected when I launched this quest on June 1, 2010.  (That’s a bit of a shock, but I digress.)

Still, I feel like a failure. I haven’t done half of what I wanted to do. I haven’t interviewed the people, participated in the workshops, or read all the books I wanted to read, and I certainly haven’t written what I wanted to write. For the last few months I’ve been particularly quiet on this blog, even disappearing for a while. Did you think I had forgotten you, faithful blog reader?

I didn’t forget, but I did run smack into reality. Last year was a financially lean one for me. For the last four years, I’ve been an independent journalist, which means I work without a financial net. The drooping economy tore a truck-sized hole through my client list in 2010. Things got to the point late last year where I HAD to get new assignments and/or diversify my income, or well, I didn’t know exactly what would happen, but Mickey D’s was probably in my future, either that or moving myself and my 85-year-old mother into a cardboard box.

I went into high gear to market my work. I even applied for a job at the University of Kansas. Much to my utter surprise everything worked. By January, I had brought in more writing assignments than ever before. I even got the job. Since February, I’ve been working with the KU Energy Council and writing, writing, writing everything from articles about the smart grid to pieces on taxes and fundraising, and yes, even on morality and goodness. (The University of Chicago Alumni Magazine, by the way, is publishing my profile of Ruth Grant and her own search for goodness in their next issue.) Right now I’m so behind that I haven’t even updated my professional web site with the new job and the new publications.

I’m not writing this to whine or make excuses, but to wonder.

The necessities of life forced me away from the quest for goodness. Struggling to bring in cash literally sucked me away from what I wanted to do for the greater good. If this happens to me, an educated white woman, then how often does this happen to poorer folk, to those who don’t have my advantages? And that leads me to wonder about what is lost because people struggle 24-7 to merely survive.

So, that’s where I’m at on Day 328. I’m pondering life, juggling a lot of work, but at least, I’m back on track with The Goodness Project. Let’s see how much I can do in the next five weeks.

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5 Responses to Daily Log – Day 328

  1. I wonder about those things a lot, too. I frequently feel overwhelmed by my list of things to do, and so don’t get to my own projects, the things that matter to me most.

    But both your paying work and your search for goodness involve doing a lot of serious thinking, as well as reading and listening and talking to people, and there are only so many hours of the day in which you can do those things competently.

    I hope one of the things you’re going to do is stretch out your search for goodness to longer than one year. Everything you write here makes me think, and now that I’m attuned to it, I keep running across related subjects.

  2. If one can renew a library book or a drivers’ license, get an extension on income tax deadlines, building permits, etc., or take an incomplete in a college class, then you certainly could ask for more time on the goodness project. Many of us would write recommendations to support your request, and your boss seems to be pretty easy-going.

  3. Linda Herzberg says:

    Even though you may have not been continuously physically working on the goodness project, I suspect you have been mentally working on it way more, often without consciously thinking about it. Besides, there is always more you can do on any subject, but as any writer knows, there is a time to quit researching and a time to write. Whether that time is in a month or is later, only you will know. Along with Nancy and Natalie, I think you should not stop the search for goodness project. You could go ahead and write now but continue searching (blogging) and have more material for more articles or another book later on.

    As far as those who are scrabbling to survive 24/7, I think they still have their own search for goodness. It is not as articulated or systematic as yours, and they might be more suspicious of any goodness (wondering what is in it for the other person), but you also get that same reaction and type of search in rich people. I feel that everyone is on the lookout for goodness in their life. Those that recognise it are lucky and a little more happy. Those that don’t are angry, suspicious and maybe a little fatalistic or paranoid.

  4. dianesilver says:

    Aw gee, I’m blushing. Thanks for the support! And yes, the “boss” is considering continuing the search after June 1, but I haven’t been able to envision, yet, what that might look like. Having a definite goal this year (searching for the answer to one question) has been extremely helpful as motivation and to focus my effort, but I feel the itch to not stay stuck. In other words, I don’t want to do the exact same thing, so any ideas on how the search for goodness could evolve?

    Also, Linda, to clarify my post: I didn’t mean that those who are scrabbling to survive have nothing to say or aren’t interested in the search for goodness. What I meant was that I grieve what’s lost when people don’t have time to focus on these important matters. Everyone thinks about goodness in one way or another. And most folks want to do right, but if you’re working so hard and so long that life is reduced to work, eat, sleep, get up and do it all over again, then something is lost. That might be the time to think (and I know I need that), or that might be the time to put your thoughts into a form others can access whether that’s through writing or another art form or even just having the time to talk to someone else about your ideas, something important is lost because those who are struggling to survive don’t have the time, or often the means, to share their insights with all. And that is a tragedy.

  5. Yes. I’ve realized that the thing that gives me the most happiness in life is thinking about ideas, but there never seems to be enough time to do that thoroughly. And I have way more time than the average person.

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