Note: The Rules & Guidelines for the Yes Test can be found here.
One week in, and I feel like I have very little amusing yes stories to report. The faux fentanyl gummy bear was really the highlight, but beyond that, the challenge has been in trying to pay more attention to the little interactions I have with people throughout the day in order to make sure I don't miss a yes or no question.
The point of all of this is threefold:
1. To find some enthusiasm for my situation.
Prepare yourself for a major first world problem rant, full of privilege and bemoaning over problems that I know, are not actual problems. I'm not dying, gravely ill, stuck in a war zone, starving, getting abused, raising quadruplets, staring down the throat of a grizzly bear, or being forced to listen to a coworker's the latest social justice warrior rant about white people making burritos or whatever dumbass thing Trump did in the last five minutes. I get it, your life is harder than mine. Go write your own blog.
I understand that I am incredibly lucky to be in a position in which I have the freedom to be categorically homeless and purposefully ignorant about my future. Yeah yeah, no one knows what tomorrow holds, but I bet you're 99.9% sure where you're going to sleep in four days. Not only do I not know where I'll sleep in four days, but I also don't know what country I'll be in and what the circumstance will be. The true nomads, the lifelong wanderers, find that scenario exhilarating. I find that it ignites my anxiety brain and drains my emotional currency. I spend so much time trying to feel the next move, not because I think I'll make a wrong decision, but because I think I'll make a wasteful decision. Time ticks by while I google 20 different itineraries. I'm constantly booking and changing flights, paying cancellation fees on AirBnBs, talking to friends around the world in hopes that one of them will say something that makes me think, "Yes, that's what I actually want to do, not what I think I should do."
All of the people in my life who are far smarter than me keep saying, "Stop judging. Stop resisting." I finally just told one of them to write me a step by step booklet on how to accomplish this.
Meanwhile, as I was lamenting over this non-problem problem over take out dinner with the Irishman, he said to me, "Well, you know what you're doing for the next six hours." It's a start.
2. To build a medium sized box.
I was discussing all of this with a teacher friend of mine who managed to deconstruct my problem using the overused saying, "Think outside the box." He said:
As a teacher of artistry and engineering, I often talk to the kids about this nonsense of thinking "outside the box". The whole metaphor implies that there is one single-size box and you are either in it or out of it. What I try to create for them in assigning projects, and this also applies to life I believe — is the right-sized box. If you have to think/live outside of a box, you have the wrong box. We all need a different set of parameters to survive and thrive within. Constantly going in and out of a box is as much trouble as being too tightly confined in a small one or crushed by the limitlessness of a huge one. In watching your story unfold from afar — and having been there — it seems like you need a medium sized box instead of the seemingly infinite one you currently occupy.
So, I need to build a medium-sized box. The Yes Test immediately gives me an underlying sense of structure. I'm not blindly walking into traffic or saying yes to a hit off your crack pipe, but I am surrendering to the Universe so that when a question comes along that would otherwise occupy all of my time, I instead just answer in the affirmative, schedule it like my next dentist appointment, and make it work.
3. To write and publish daily.
Back in November, I mentally committed to writing and publishing a piece on my blog every weekday, until the end of the year. I failed.
Two things happened at once. First, I wrote a humor piece that unintentionally hurt a friend. While I wanted to tell ridiculous stories of bizarre travel situations, I didn't want to hurt anyone in the process. A few days later, a 27 year old British YouTube "star" told me that in order to be successful, I needed to focus on one thing (either writing, cooking, or photography) but that I would "confuse my brand" if I dabbled in all three. To that I now say, fuck off, 'ol chap.
These independent events put me in a state of writing paralysis. I was either going to hurt people or confuse people, so why waste my time? Six months and a few paid writing gigs later, I'm working back through these issues. Simple blog posts about my day to day aren't enough to keep me writing, because most of the time it's not that interesting. The Yes Test adds structure, so even on a day when absolutely nothing happens (like today), I still have a framework to write around. As far as pulling out that satirical humor that I once had, well...I have to find it again. It's hiding like a kicked puppy that's being forced to sit in a shoestore.
I'm working on it. Sound good?