Shooting star or seedling: What to do with all the great ideas?


Seedling” copyright Drew McLellan, 2007

I’m an idea person. I get a lot of them, though they are more like shooting stars than, say, seedlings. They burn bright and fade quickly instead of growing. That is, instead of me nurturing them, feeding them, watering them–believing in them.

It should not be surprising to hear, given the “itchy sweater” feeling I currently have about my life, that I have not recently nurtured any great ideas to full ripeness. I’ve been stumbling along, with only vague ideas of what I want to do, what I want to leave as my legacy.


It was a post somewhere on Penelope Trunk’s blog (which I’ve lost along the tangled path of her fascinating site) that made me realize that drifting along is basically ensuring my unhappiness. She claims that people who see a clear relationship between their actions (or lack thereof) and their situations, are much more likely to achieve happiness.

Let me rephrase that:

The way to happiness is realizing that you can make decisions to bring you happiness.

The decisions we make, the actions we take, those have consequences: they can lead us to a better life. If we abdicate the responsibility to choose, leaving it up to fate, we will continue to drift along, never getting what we want.

I’ve been drifting for too long–letting the path choose me instead of deciding where I want to go.

Part of that is because of the big changes that have occurred in our life over the last year and a half. The big decisions we made were to stay put in Sudbury instead of trying to make homeschooling work in another city, and to prioritize financial stability over homeschooling. (I personally know at least four families who persisted in homeschooling through a job loss, so I know that is possible–but that was way too terrifying for me!)


I’ve really felt lost over this time. I hadn’t realized it at first, but losing the identity of “homeschooling mom” put me in a place of not really knowing who I was, or where to go next. I think I had to come to terms with that loss before I could move forward to something new.

I think I’m finally done mourning. I’m ready for the next steps.

I’m done drifting.

Now that I’m ready to move ahead, I realize I’ve been doing the prep work all along.

Over the last few months, I have really been trying to figure out my path, my meaning, how I can best contribute to the world. I’ll write more about my process later, but essentially I’ve done some work articulating my values, analyzing what brings me joy, considering my personality, and ultimately coming up with an action statement of what I want to achieve in this one life.

What I’ve come up with is this:

I want to bring people together to do cool stuff.

I want to create community. I want to help people feel good together, and help them feel good about being together. New people, lots of people, people you’ve never met before. I want to surprise you with the awesomeness of your neighbours.


So, lucky me: I got an idea a couple of nights ago. I think I maybe dreamed it? Or maybe it bubbled up at 4:30 am as I was lying awake. It’s a pretty good idea, maybe even great. It has even withstood the 24-hour stress test (I didn’t get stressed out about it after 24 hours!).

Following this idea could bring people together to do something cool. In sort of a metaphorical way. It has the potential to create community, surprise people about their neighbours, and spread some good vibes.

I’m making the decision to move this idea forward one step. And then, I hope, another. Who knows what it will lead to, but at least I know that wherever it leads, it was a result of my decision to take care of this little seedling of an idea, and hopefully watch it grow.

It is truly amazing how the universe jumps on board as soon as we make that decision to go somewhere good.


3 thoughts on “Shooting star or seedling: What to do with all the great ideas?

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