“Ice is forming on the tips of my wings. Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything. No navigator to guide my way home. Unladened, empty and turned to stone. A soul in tension that’s learning to fly. Condition grounded but determined to try. Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies. Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I.” Pink Floyd
I’ve forced myself to rest for a spell and have decided to take a break. It won’t be a long break. It never really is. In fact, I’ve been on said break for awhile now, and should be ending the hiatus soon. When I’m idle, I drive myself crazy.
The funny thing about participating in what we love, is the intent to fully immerse ourselves; regardless of how good we are at the activity. Regardless if we’re merely starting out and learning, or locked somewhere in between. If we enjoy it, we engage in it. We’ll never reach a certain level or attain our goals, unless we do it consistently. Practice, commitment, time management, unwavering focus. Allowing it to partially consume us. Doesn’t matter what it is. If we love it, we’ll do it.
I can say with a fair amount of confidence, I’m not truly “good” at anything, or any one thing, or excel at any skill. And I love that about myself. I’ve tried the higher education route, and was fairly adept during those times in attendance. Decent grades. Areas and topics I wished to pursue and subject matter that caught my interests. But was never able to take it to completion (for reasons I can’t discuss here). I found niches I could slide into over the years where I climbed employment ladders and considered myself accomplished at a jobby job and praised for my labor, but outside the work arena, I’ve never considered myself “good” at anything.
I was also never inclined to try during those days of the Old Life. Too many obstacles. Too many walls to break down. Too many distractions. Too much bullshit.
I can say I’m good at specifics. I can navigate a computer fairly easy. I have an immaculate driving record. I listen well to those I consider important to my life and pay attention to those with greater wisdom, knowledge or experience.
I classify myself as a good parent, a decent friend and a loving partner. I have a preparation and survivalist way about me. But as far as skills are concerned… yeah… no.
Quite possibly the greatest thing I have going for me, is knowing I have no skills. Such a freeing mentality. Never locked into a concrete mindset. The focus can branch off, fly and explore without boundaries.
I made a decision, once upon a time, to try and follow in the footsteps of others. I wanted what “they” had. I had radically changed and adapted my thinking to try and transform into someone else, so I too could feel the same way as them. A sense of accomplishment. A sense of completion. Hands reaching for the sky as the finish line is finally crossed.
But the more I paid attention and the more I saw… the less I wanted. It’s one thing to profess accomplishment, smile and take pride in it, but to witness and experience the negativity, sadness, and gloom that’s accompanied with that accomplishment, turned me right off. If we love something, sadness should never be a dominant factor. Ever.
I then decided I will never allow sadness to interfere with what I love doing. I’ve discarded all the jealousy and coveting. I no longer want what others have.
My mind’s eye allowed me to understand one core basic concept. And I only speak for myself. The moment I try to be something I’m not, is the moment I become something that contradicts who I am.
I love who I am. I love what I do.
I can never be like someone else, or other people, because it will change who I am as a person. Unacceptable. All I can do is learn from others and try and make it applicable to my own life, in my own way.
Having a conversation with a close friend last night I made it a point to say, “I was this close to giving up. I almost quit. The weight was too heavy to carry.”
“But I didn’t. If I had quit, I wouldn’t be where I am at this exact moment. And life is about moments. The moments are what we should live for.”
The difference between failure and quitting is permanence. If we fail during our challenges, or experience failure in some fashion we can pick ourselves up, dust off the debris, learn from the experience and move forward hoping to do better. Quitting is permanent. Can’t experience failure once quitting.
They say, “It’s not work if you love what you do.”
I say, “What a load of malarkey.” It’s work. Lots and lots and lots of work.
Busy work. Work that challenges confidence. Demanding and time consuming work. Mind numbing at times.
Because I can’t quit what I love, I’m forced to take breaks. Not as a result of failure, but because my mind requires another reboot. I need to re-change my thinking again. I have more clutter to clear up and more dust to sweep away. Suggestions by others that demand integration. Some breakage in the structure, and cracks discovered in the foundation, that’s now in desperate need of repair and attention.
Can’t make a decent apple pie without a solid crust.
I learned that the hard way.
There it was. My first attempt to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. What a disaster. An epic embarrassment. I was so glad I was alone in the house at the time. I wanted a baked pie, and got exactly what I asked for. Baked beyond recognition. The dream led me to the store, I followed the instructions to the letter, complied all the ingredients needed, and created a monster.
The smoke alarm was the first clue. I dashed into the kitchen and smoke poured from the stove. I ripped open the oven door, yanked the plate from within with two pot holders, and tossed my creation onto the counter top.
A steaming, blackened, bubbling pile of burnt mess. I wouldn’t have fed it to Shelby and that mutt eats anything. The stink was overwhelming, an assault on the senses, and it was a good guess I’d be scrubbing the pie plate for at least an hour with a Brillo Pad to remove the burned edges.
Once it was cooled off and the mess cleaned up, I threw the pie in the trash. No one was seeing that awful concoction. I wouldn’t even venture a taste. I couldn’t in good conscious subject anyone else to it. It had to disappear.
Where did I go wrong? I followed the rules to a tee. It should have appeared just like the pictures.
What variable did I miss?
The tragic part of being lost in life, is having the inability to see variables. It’s easy to follow a compass or a bright star home, but if the compass leads to the edge of a ravine, or a mighty raging chaotic river, the variables change. Unforeseen anomalies that just create another obstacle. We’re always fighting to tear down the walls, and dodge the overwhelming anomalies, but without the right tools and the correct mindset, the walls never move. The obstacles will always remain.
Luckily the next visit to the refuge with Joseph, provided me with one singular tool. I didn’t want it at first, but it was handed to me with a solemn promise that it would make everything better.
I wish I had believed him right away.
“I drag a heavy hammer. An instrument to break down walls. A weapon to destroy barriers that stretch up to the heavens and to either side as far as the eyes can wander. It’s a burdensome weight to be sure. Calloused and bloodied hands. Sore muscles. Endless fatigue. Yet, without that hammer, those walls would never fall.” JSM
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