When I was a kid, I had white-hot, over-the-top passion for The Lion King trading cards from McDonald’s (this one was my favorite). And stickers—especially the fuzzy kind—collected in a keepsake book. And Pringles (plain). And Little Debbie snacks (Swiss cake rolls, fudge brownies, oatmeal cream pies). And every single stuffed animal I ever had. And snow, always.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with life.
Like, obsessed obsessed. Definitively. Not in the current, casual way of, “I’m obsessed with that.”
The shadow side to this all-consuming love of life is an all-consuming fear of loss. Love and fear are the two sides of my life’s scale, and they rarely balance. When I was eight, that meant letting a gummy shark sit on my dresser like a collectible for years because I had gotten attached and couldn’t bear to eat it or throw it away. Now, as an adult who stands to lose more than a gummy shark, fear of loss—of people I love, of time, of my own life—sits on its side of the scale like an anvil.
For a reason that makes no logical sense, I always think I can balance the scale with a little proper planning.
At the start of the Netflix version of The Little Prince, a big opportunity goes sideways for a little girl. She’s crushed, but her mom barely skips a beat. By the next morning, she has constructed a minute-by-minute plan to get her daughter back on track. It’s called the Life Plan.
This is the particular brand of crazy I run to whenever I think I can minimize loss by gaining control.
And this is how it always goes: I want to live life as well as possible—not to earn a gold star at the end, but because I sincerely love life and want to make the most of it. I start to worry that I’m not doing enough to really make the most of it and construct a complex and unrealistic Life Plan. Much sooner than I ever believe will happen, I fail and burn out, because there’s a much calmer, more rational side of me that can. not. deal. with that level of intensity for a prolonged period of time.
And then, eventually, it all starts over again. It’s like New Year’s on repeat.
This website was born from recognizing the lunacy of this pattern. It came from realizing that nothing good ever comes from being a pendulum swinger, jumping from extreme to extreme, irrationally suspicious of reasonable middle ground.
Running the Slant was supposed to be the middle ground.
I originally described it as a way to live life well and not go crazy in the process, which is exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s exactly what I hope it still is. But if I’m being honest, it’s far easier to find the answers here than it is to implement them into my living, breathing, everyday life. In real life, I’m still driving myself (and probably all of you) a little bit crazy.
Which brings us to last week. That time when I said, “Hey! I’m rebooting 2019!” and I could almost feel the collective internet eyeroll because this cycle is insane and well-documented. Some of my cringiest moments as a blogger (and a human) are due to charging down a path of ruthless self-improvement and reporting back with blind certainty that this was the right path all along.
This is not that. This is my best attempt to run a slant in real life.
Because for the love of all that is sanity, I need to stop swinging from one extreme (control everything!) to the next (control nothing!) and find my own slant route for everyday life—in practice, not just in theory. A route that’s still a little unconventional in ways that matter but also still entirely regular in ways that matter.
As my friend Morgan so aptly stated, rebooting is something you do to a computer. Life is meant to be lived. So while I am looking to make some positive changes, I’m hoping to do it in a slant-y way. There will be no Life Plans. No macronutrient charts, 10k training journals, or screenshots of my Google calendar broken up into 15-minute productivity intervals. No pointless and fruitless grabs for control.
Instead, there will be boatloads of honesty. And humor. And hopefully a few takeaways that could help us all.
I absolutely started leaning in the direction of Life Plan last week. I’m sorry for that. I’m a human who is bound to repeat patterns, and I’m still learning how to do this thing—this space on the internet, this time in my life. Thanks for being here for all of it 🙂
Instead of doing a monthly(ish) post of good things, I’m going to start adding a small list to the end of each post. Think of it as your weekly goody bag. Minus the Little Debbie snacks, which would absolutely make an appearance in a real goody bag.
The Little Prince: We’ve probably talked about this before, but if not, please add The Little Prince to your long weekend plans. It’s beautiful and true in all the best ways.
Quality career advice from Mari Andrew: I would like to print this series out and keep it above my desk. Such good advice.
Spicy cashew dressing: Amazing on fish taco bowls. And salad. And probably anything.
A better plan for working hours: The title is a little oversold, but there are good ideas sprinkled throughout.