An Early Morning
As I sit down to write this, it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep.
My mind is wandering to areas of uncertainty and worry. Worried about failing without ever really getting out of the gate. Uncertainty regarding whether or not I really have what it takes to handle the level of effort and persistence to get everything done. Do I have the stamina for the long road ahead?
I wish I had the energy of my twenties and the knowledge of my forties. I wish I had the confidence that has always seamed to elude me.
If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to not worry so much and have more fun. I think if I had done that; now would be easier, because I would have a deeper, richer, life of experience to draw from. Perhaps it would make this process easier.
Or maybe not.
Maybe who we are dictates the choices we make; to such a level as to make it impossible to live any other life than our own. Or maybe that’s bullshit and I’m making excuses for myself and attempting to shift the blame for my own (in)actions onto the universe. Maybe I’m balancing on the edge of the slippery slop towards the ugliest excuse of all . . . “fate.” I’d like to think I’m better than that.
The truth is, I had a comfortable life. But, not a fulfilling life. I enjoyed the work I did but not what I did it for. Many of the people were good, wonderful people. But the organization was ugly and toxic. No joy for what was being created. No desire to improve the lives of those impacted. Whether it be customer, employee, or contractor.
After fourteen years at the same job, I watched people arrive full of energy and optimism, only to leave burnt out, humorless, and cynical. In the end, I was just another spent resource who had reached end-of-life. Written off the books and left at the curb. Probably the nicest thing they ever did for me.
But that was then and this is now. Perhaps I should take the advice of my current self and not worry so much. Do I have the courage to trust in my abilities? I think I need to remember what I have achieved thus far.
I’ve challenged and pushed myself towards a greater understanding of watercolor. My confidence with regards to my craft has never been greater. At the same time, I posses a far greater level of humility. I think I’m far more able to accept my current level of ignorance and am open to learning from others. I’ve come a great way towards separating my ego from my work and am better able to view my failures independent of my sense of self-worth. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m improving.
We all wear a mask. But, from behind the mask, we can see every little crack from which the light of truth shines through. Only we know our secrets and our private failings. Only we understand our tears and the regrets we morn. Only we know what keeps us up at night and refuses us the rest our wandering mind so desperately seeks.
Our mind’s eye is drawn to the flaws. It takes effort to look away from our perceived failings and look for the success we’ve made. The obstacles we’ve overcome. Am I where I want to be? No. But, I think I’m heading in the correct direction.
I’ve been recovering from my sleepless night and early morning mental meanderings. I doubt I’ll get very much done, but I’ll try. As mentioned in the video, I’m going to move away from the idea of a “Big 3” and aim for working on spheres of influence over time and distance.
I think it comes down to the following questions:
- What is bothering me now and keeping me from my goals . . . and what task will alleviate the issues I’m facing?
- What big (long-term) thing can I work towards today to move me towards my goals?
- What small (short-term) thing can I finish today to improve my chances for success?
One Little Thing
What small success can I start the day with? It doesn’t have to be important, it can be anything short-term that I can complete. Something that’s been niggling away at me would be ideal.
One Big Thing
What longer-term item can I spend some time on today to get closer to completion?