Controlling your own rudder: We few. We happy few.
I turned 40 last summer. It was kind of a non-event for a milestone birthday really. We were in the middle of closing on our house, trying to get out of our old house, organizing people to help move and watch the kids, and oh yeah… work. It was what it was … just another day. We’re hoping to do something special for my 41st since that is the one that really gets the party hopping (you know … being that I was able to remain 40 for a whole year).
Anyway, it got me thinking. When am I going to start doing what I want to do. I’ve taken care of my family, I have seen my loved ones through good times and bad times, I have dusted myself off every time I’ve been pushed to the ground, and I’ve charted my own course in doing so. Recently, I joined a group of fellow bloggers – some serious, some not so serious, yet all are sincere. The goal was for each of us to post once of week. We’re kind of a secret society, so a lot of people know about it – well… a lot of people just blankly stare and nod.
This group, this band of bloggers, is really encouraging me to take more control over those things that I enjoy. It’s like there is a group out there for me, and they are just as much of a misfit as I am – except one guy who owns a manatee (long story; involves kelp I think). Whether it’s picking up my pencils again, drawing on the computer, or digging into audio recording, I am really starting to feel like it’s my time to stretch my legs. And it’s making me a better father. My kids are unknowingly raising me because now instead of trying to keep their attention to put on their clothes (yeah, that never stops) they are trying to keep me doing what I love doing, and that is creating. They see me making stuff and want to jump in.
The next major goal for me is to start selling prints of my work (as seen below). I have a lot of research as far as budget, shipping, printing, and how many should I do a first run. In the mean time, playing with my band the VertigoGo’s, dancing to Culture Club, and finding new ways to make my family laugh. Life is pretty good. I am sure I could find something to complain about, but it wouldn’t do that much good, so I focus on everything that is right.
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition[...]- Henry V, act IV, scene iii
It’s a great feeling. I have a lot of people to thank, and I haven’t met all of them. I will soon. In fact I think there are some fruity drinks that should be had and soon.
Trying not to build Rome in a day
There comes a point where you have to learn how to relax. I mean really relax. Not just “I’m going to not doing any work tonight…” kinda relaxing, but “I’m not going to work tonight AND I am not going to give a flying fig newton that I didn’t get anywork done tonight…” kinda relaxing.
It’s a hard skill to master – especially in our day and age. There is always something to do. There is always something to read, a chore that needs attention, a requirement that needs to be met, or a file that needs to be put away. It’s too much. We strive to make our lives easier, but in the end we wind up creating more work for ourselves. Instead of taking that time that we saved by using a device complete our task and sit back and relax, we try to get more done at once. We have lost the art of working serially. Multi-tasking is still the buzz word in most interviews, but really .. if there is anything that is a project killer it is doing too much at one time.
In cooking we have several things going at once. This is normal. While the steak is grilling, we can prep the salad. That is … after we set out the garnishes, or sautéed the leeks. The point is, in cooking you are only ever doing one job at a time giving that item your full undivided attention while the other items continue cooking.
But isn’t that multitasking anyway? Yes and no. It’s making several items that are going on to one dish, so in a sense it is using things that are working together and timing the workload so that each item can get the attention it deserved.
Where am I going with all of this? Not sure. I started typing just to start typing. To do one thing, and one thing only. Because in this world of noise, overwhelming obligations, recitals, performances, story times, dinner times, household chores, and work life we need to strike a balance. First and foremost we need to start affording ourselves the time to site back and relax. Second, we need only focus on one thing at a time and give that our undivided attention.
Sometimes you just have to make crap
Everyonce in a while I get inspired. It’s going to be the next “big thing”. 5 minutes later, I’m sitting on the couch wishing how that next “big thing” could have worked out? Why didn’t that next “big thing” work out, you ask? Because the first 5 minutes didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to.
Growing up we are given conflicting messages. At school we hear “if at first you don’t succeed, try again.” In sports we hear “practice makes perfect.” But in every other walk of life we hear “If you’re not going to do it right, why try.” This gets stuck with you. It eats away at your work, and the more you hear the more you believe it. It take over your own workflow until you can only spend 5 minutes on a project before you throw your hands up in frustration.
The point is… you have to make crap. Not only do you have to make crap before you can make something beautiful, but you have to set out to make crap. You actually have to say to yourself “SELF!!! Today, I’m going to make crap. It’ll be a horrendous pile of dung I would not server to my own mother on her deathbed, but it will be made by me. I will labor, sweat, toil, and fret about this crap, but I am going to make it, and it will make me proud to have done so. For I will not know what I am capable of unless I can fling the poo of my own brain dripping onto the canvas of awesomeness, thereby validating my own existence.”
Sometimes you just gotta make crap.
Time to start the verbin’, and end the nounin’
I found a piece that I started a few years ago when eldest was 3. Too be honest, it was one of the happiest times of my life. I had my share of problems, but I was really starting to get into what it meant to be a dad. I started to see my life through his eyes. It was one of those times that you just wish you could screw the cap on the jar and keep it just the way it is. Continue reading “Time to start the verbin’, and end the nounin’” »