My Life in Title-Subtitle Form
When I wrote my first article for Medium, I carefully read the curators’ guidelines. One of the bits of advice is to give your story a Title and Subtitle. I was not prepared for the effect this would have on my day-to-day life. Before this guideline was dropped into my world, things were rocking along as usual. I got up in the morning and started my day, sitting in my comfy chair with my coffee, telling myself I should be in the studio on my yoga mat, or emptying the dishwasher and feeding the cats, or writing in my journal.
Before Title-Subtitle was the framework for my life I would have sat there a while and wondered if I was going to listen to my higher self or just veg in my chair. I would have continued to argue with myself until one of me won, and thus, the day would have begun. Now, instead, I sit there and think “How to Make Yourself Do what you Don’t Want to Do” “The guide to kicking your own butt”. On another day, the story might look different. “How to Love Yourself Just the way You Are” “Even when you aren’t being productive”. This has totally changed the way I approach myself and my life’s challenges.
Sometimes I stand in the shower and whine about my day and then, without being invited, Title-Subtitle shows up again. “How to Love your Life Just as it Is” “The Art of Being Happy”. These titles show up not because I am qualified to write any of them, necessarily, but because these are the articles I need to read.
One particularly difficult day when I was in self-abuse mode about something I thought I should be doing better, this came up: “The Art of Being Gentle with Yourself” “When Good Enough is Good Enough”. And then there was the day I was thinking about someone I love who is struggling. I know they would stop suffering so much if only they could change, and this is what I heard in my head — “Hands Off!” “Learning to Love People Without Trying to Fix Them”.
While this phenomenon can be annoying, I go to my computer every time I get a Title-Subtitle flash of inspiration and open Medium. I go to the My Stories tab and enter my Title-Subtitle, then close my computer and get on with my day. At some point I may write these stories, but that really isn’t the point, as I see it, about this curious development.
The real effect is that it makes me see my life as an opportunity to learn to do things differently. I have begun to recognize more than ever that we all struggle with the same things. We all want to know that we are not alone in this hard work of being human. Reading about others who are wrestling with similar things brings us comfort, especially if they can show us how they are learning to overcome their obstacles. If someone else has come through and survived, there is hope that we will, too. Framing my own struggles as “how-to” articles gives me the courage I need to get on with my life despite all the difficult spots and relax into the joy and beauty that is always there. Am I an expert on how to get life right? Not even close. But maybe if I write about my own trek through life’s joys and sorrows it can give someone else the courage they need to carry on. So here’s my latest title-subtitle — “Why You Should Keep Writing on Medium” “ Even when your account says $0.00”