0655 – cross one threshold at a time

Do I have time for another? I established earlier that if I wrote 2 vomits a day, I could be done in September. If I do 3 vomits in a day, I’d be done in July. Shortly after I turn 27. Now that would be even cooler. The more I do, the faster I can go, the faster I can be done. And it’s not like these things take a ton of my time. I spend more time doing random nonsense every day than I spend writing. I can definitely do much better than this. I just need to change the way I think about these things. I still have an overly perfectionist and overly completionist attitude towards these things – the whole “oh, I’m not going to be able to do a good one today so let’s just not even start” attitude. When I sit down and write about it and Ithink about it, it’s obviously bullshit. But when I’m going about my day, and the thought “hey I should write a word vomit tonight” enters my mind, my followup thought is usually “sorry, no time”, or “let’s have a bit of fun first”. I need to dismantle both of those things in order to get to where I really want to go, to become who I really want to become.

“Sorry, no time” is a cop out. If my goal in life is to be a writer, then I need to be writing. I have to make it a priority. Nobody can disturb me. Surely I can have 20 minutes a day where there’s time to sit down and write something. I’m a pretty fast typist – I can definitely publish a word vomit within half an hour, sometimes less. I just need to riff more, and be okay with starting without knowing where a particular thing is going. I also need to turn my thoughts and feelings about general things (usually things that I encounter on social media) into writing exercises. Why argue with a stranger online, when they won’t appreciate it? Why not instead focus on articulating your own position in life, your own challenges, your own goals and so on?

Clearly there’s still something a little missing from my self-concept, from my identity. I still think of myself as a naughty irresponsible boy. I wonder if it’ll ever be possible to change my perspective on that. I mean, I’ll probably always be mischievous and always get into trouble. I want to be. I feel like I’ve been living my life a little too safe these past couple of years, and I’m done for more volatility, more surprises.

I’m terrified of the prospect of becoming a boring old man who sits around commenting on things, and other people are obliged to play “humour the baby” with him. Humour the middle-aged old man who never really accomplished much, but has an opinion on everything.

I do have an opinion on everything – well maybe now less of everything than before – but the point is that I want to be more than just a talking head. I want to achieve something that I can be personally proud of. What would those achievements be? I need to have an honest conversation with myself about what respectable looks like, what honourable looks like, what goodness looks like and so on. I think it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to do what other people are doing, you have to relate with them on their terms. I’ve already been spared some of this by getting married early, by working at a startup, by not going to University, and so on. But those things are all in the distant past now. They are fragments of memories from a dream that I once had a long time ago. I inhabit a different reality now. I am a different person now. All of the physical cells that made up who I was are all gone. What remains are patterns, what Hulse would call neurotic holding patterns. And I need to shake that shit out of me so that I can reorient myself to be receptive to what’s next.

So what IS next? A stronger, better version of myself. Someone who meets more people. Someone who writes more. Someone who prioritizes, who does what is best for himself and the people he cares about. Someone who is able to let things slide. Someone who has self-control, self-discipline, a great sense of humour. I want to grow old and become someone like Daniel Dennett or Oliver Sacks or James Mattis. Is it possible? I guess that’s the question that I’ve been grappling with the past year or so. Is it actually possible for me to drink from the nectar of the gods, to grasp real greatness? To get into the bigger arenas? There’s no point obsessing over those questions because the obsession doesn’t help – what helps is to get out of your current arena and get into the slightly more difficult one, slightly bigger one. You know what I mean? Progress is incremental. If you’re a Division 3 football player, and you want to play at the Premier League level, you likely need to get to Division 2 first. Sure, some folks might be able to jump straight to the end, but it makes a lot of sense to progress step by step. I’m thinking now about a Facebook note that Boz wrote and Zuck replied to – something about how the path is something that’s necessarily a little winding, necessarily progressed through incrementally. You have to lift 50kg before you can lift 100kg. That’s just… physics, goddamnit. And there’s a similar sort of logic about how the world works in general. You can’t hope and pray for some runaway hit. You have to put in the hours, put in the work, cross one threshold at a time.

Today, that means writing and publishing my 3rd word vomit in a row, and then likely going to bed (maybe I’ll attempt #4). Tomorrow, it’ll mean doing a review and cleaning out my tasks and figuring out next steps to make my dream(s) a reality.

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