“Oh, we can’t do that today…”
My dad and I had just shared a bit of convo over coffee the other day before heading out for a game of putt putt golf. The topic? “Creativity and inspiration”. I’m not sure how we got on the topic (probably me talking about how badly I was procrastinating on doing my writing for the day), but he started relating a story to me about another writer. While being interviewed, she was asked what the hardest part of her process was. Her answer? “Putting pen to paper.” Isn’t that always the way? We discussed how this is pretty much the biggest block before any venture. An artist putting the oil pastel to the Strathmore. A pianist plunking out the first few chords to their next big concert hit. Or – I volunteered – it even bleeds over into every day life. ‘cause isn’t the hardest part about working out at the gym the part where you resolve to get on your gear and hop on the machine? Doesn’t the rest take care of itself after you read the first page of wherever you left off on that book you never finished reading? Put your fingers on home row for your latest creation?
Like that first step’s the spell and the rest’s the magic?
“Yeah,” he added, “Or like this project I’ve been wanting to finish for over a year – but keep putting off…”
“And it’s banging around in your brain – annoying you every day you look at its unfinished carcass?” I inquired.
It was a simple project, really. Just like everything I always put off until it becomes this big, unnecessarily daunting monster I avoid because… “Well if I’ve been putting it off this long, it must be really hard and that’s why I’ve been sidestepping it, right?” Wrong. In fact, I was surprised when I said, “Let’s do it now!” and his first response was, “Oh, we can’t do that today…” because all through my childhood, his mantra was, “Make the impossible possible and the difficult easy.” So, what, I wondered – was really so challenging, about going to Office Depot, picking up a new mat for his rolly chair, and ordering a new desk? Sure, there was some slight heavy lifting – but that’s what I train for every day. I’m preparing for when life comes at me with cumbersome tasks (and, obviously, the imminent zombie apocalypse). Why not do this thing for yourself you’ve been wanting to do? (*gaze turns to the studio audience*) Do you feel like you don’t deserve it? ‘cause – new flash – you may not OLO (the last three quarters of YOLO), but what if ya do? How’s that eulogy gonna look? “Miss. Ashley P. Ants spent her life settling and soaking her self-worth in a daily apathy bath right up till her toe tag was applied…” I know I don’t want that for me, so there’s no way he wanted it for himself. So we started out with a brain-reframer by playing some Pee-Wee golf. Then, with a bit of mutual victory on our hands (I think he kicked my ass, though we didn’t keep score – but I did get a hole in one), there was just enough self-affirmation pumping through our veins to say, “Why stop here?”
Within an hour, we’d managed to evolve from this…
… to this:
So, I kidnapped my father, brought him to Office Depot, and we did a micro den makeover.
While I get the power of getting-shit-done-ness, I didn’t realize it was going to make such an impact on him. But when my mom related his elation to me, it made me – I dunno – bittersweetly happy. I was so grateful I could finally help my dad achieve (his own words here) “his dream den” after our mini-golf date. But, also, I think I’ve been neglecting some of my own goals enough that it’s become easier to just coach others on how to do it. And that’s what made me feel a little sad – that beginning feeling of self-stagnation (That’s why I did the #30daysofnewthings challenge.) So, that’s something I need to start working on again – starting with this class I’ve enrolled in that begins in a week. So, whether your adventure’s about hiking through some distant jungle until you find the next flowery antibiotic cure, or just buying a mat from Office Depot, the same truth reigns over us all: we’re only ever regretful or desirous when we fail to try going after what we really want deep down in our bloody life-fuel pumper cavities.
We’re all artists – perpetually “pen to paper” scrawling out our life story.
Don’t settle for anything less than an impressive magical ink-loaded ballpoint when you write yours.