The start of 100 days

"Even long journeys begin with a single step" - written in black felt marker on a piece of cardboard

I’ve been writing short aphorisms with my left hand nearly daily since the middle of February. The plan is to write a full hundred of these short, often blithely meaningless sayings, before the end of May.

Do I expect to be ambidextrously proficient after 100 days of left-handed scrawling? Probably not.

Will I at least get better at it? On day 28, my progress looks minimal, but I’ve got another 72 days to improve! And my intent is practice, not advancement.

In the beginning

I stumbled across the #100DayProject two days before this global art project started on Sunday, January 13, 2022. While I was intrigued by the concept (engaging in something creative for 100 straight days and sharing it via social media hashtag), I didn’t have enough lead time to do anything super serious.

While chatting about why I wasn’t taking on the challenge with a friend who had already committed (and whose artistic prowess intimidates me more than a little), I lazily threw out the idea of writing with my very-non-dominant hand. “I’ll just scrawl some crap and post that!”

The idea stuck—and it turns out I’m pretty into it.

The plan

Completely forgetting that the project started on Sunday (who starts anything the last day of the weekend?!?), I spent some time sourcing idioms and planning my #WannabeLefty project, which included creating some rules.

  • Rule #1 Remember it’s not supposed to be ‘perfect’
    Which really means: no do-overs.
  • Rule #2 Stay away from virgin paper products
    Everything I write on is re-purposed or comes out of the recycling bin.
  • Rule #3 Don’t be dogmatic
    While I picked out 100 sayings in advance, I didn’t want to feel bound to any particular order—or wed to a specific idiom if it didn’t fit the day.
  • Rule #4 Have fun!
    A reminder not to bring undue stress to what’s meant to be a simple, enjoyable creative endeavor.

The reality

On February 14th, I realised the project’s official start was the day before.
First failure.

I also quickly realised that posting to Instagram every day was not going to work. And that Twitter would be sporadic at best.
Second failure.

And I keep experimenting with different pens, despite knowing I get the smoothest, most legible results with a Sharpie.
Third (and most intentional) failure.

But these failures are part of what feels like success.

#Winning

My #100DayProject thus far has been far from perfect. I’ve doubled up on days to catch up after being forgetful (or deliberately neglectful), written the wrong dates, and mistakenly put my faith in lined paper (it is not my friend). But I’ve held to my four rules and I keep finding wins.

In less than five minutes, I can source paper, find a pen, pull up my ‘100 Days’ file, carefully print the day’s saying, snap a pic, and lightly edit the photo.
Do-ability win.

My left-handed self writes differently? Very cool! Backwards ‘3’s are awesome as ‘e’s!
Self-knowledge win.

It’s easier to write with my left-hand while standing up. Do I understand why? Nope! But it’s a neat thing to find out.
Quasi-self-knowledge win.

I’m practicing writing in my non-native languages (Danish, French, and German) and discovering the similarities and quirks of idioms across those tongues.
Linguistic win.

I’m recognising my urges to ‘correct’ any imperfections and setting that need aside.
Self-awareness, -compassion, and -acceptance wins.

The road ahead

I’ve got 72 more sayings and 72 more days, but I’m starting to run out of paper. Thankfully next Saturday is paper recycling day in our neighbourhood (the system is Zürich is absurd; once a month residents bundle up their cardboard and paper and leave it at the curb. It’s a mess), so as long as it doesn’t rain, I’ll be able to scavenge some more writing material.

And then all that’s left to do is keep going!

You can follow my almost-daily creative moments on Instagram and check out the broad gamut of other creative endeavors using the hashtag #100DayProject. And maybe you’ll wanna join in for the 10th annual iteration of this free global art project next year!

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