I recall the time I had decided to go the furthest out of my comfort zone, mentally & geographically. I had traveled before, and although places looked a bit different, they shared so many similarities with the place I called home. Maybe an accent would change, or the style of food, but beyond that, not much of a culture shock.
It wasn’t until I had booked a trip to Thailand in 2014. I had considered, researched, and purchased the ticket in a matter of moments, and off to a foreign land I was. Signs full of unfamiliar script, a currency that was traded at a rate I hadn’t enough smarts to question, and a search for anyone who spoke enough English to lead me down Khao San Roads in Bangkok to any available guesthouse I may be able to put my stuff down in. It was a lesson, right then & there.
Yes, it was also a lesson in “maybe next time, book at least the first night’s hotel to rest”, which I have done with each trip that has followed. But, that’s not the lesson I refer to here. The one that remains loud & clear, and at times haunts me on occasional considerations to start a project or possible career venture, is one that I learn from each time it surfaces. “When is the right time?”
Well, I must confess. Possibly, on more than one occasion, the “right time’ was simply code for “later, just not now”. It was pointed out to me in a recent talk that so many things I have done in my life, I have figured it out as I went. The methods in which I have learned come along in the process, providing me with the tools & experience to reach the final destination, or progress on a given chapter. I mean, I didn’t have to learn the English language before I wandered into the world to speak. Yet, I feel like so many of my projects need to be conceived, developed, edited, and perfected before even considering talking to anyone about it. I often feel like if I had waited for the right time to click “Buy” on that ticket to Thailand, I might still be waiting today.
Another concern that I have witnessed in my own process is the realization that if I continue to wait on the ideas that I’ve dreamt today, by the time that my, and the rest of the world’s, circumstances are ready for my grandiose idea, we may all be at a different place. The relevance or desire may have dissipated quicker than the motivation.
I’ve mentioned before many, many times my unfortunate long term relationship with procrastination. And gaining more and more understanding of its various faces allows me to spend less time spinning my wheels. But, I know it will never go away completely. Especially, in the crazy time we are experiencing in the world right now, it’s been easier than ever to sometimes think, “Why? Why would this extra work even matter?”
Here I go again. Thinking that what I do, the art I create, the words that I write, the dishes that I conjure up in the kitchen, etc., are in any way more or less important depending what happens after I send it off into the world. If only it were that easy, or even that complicated. I mean, what I do from my creative self fulfills me, as a human being. Quick reminder, I am not a man of wealth. I haven’t sacrificed years of my happiness in a mundane job to be financially secure, emotionally unwell, & void of spiritual self. Not that any of these things are mutually exclusive to one another. And not to say that this doesn’t work for some people, to each their own. The only point I’m trying to make here is that I’ve had experiences on different ends of the spectrum. Times where I have chosen what some may deem the “responsible” path. The one in which I step into the hamster wheel, my bills are handled with auto pay, and I start to flip calendar months at a pace where last month’s paper cut is barely healed before I flip another month. I become just another greyhound working to live, and living to work, miserably. Skip ahead to the enlightening & more enjoyable side of the coin, and I now can see that there is a way I can be rewarded beyond a monetary value, while also making a few bucks doing what keeps me challenged, excited, and passionate. Resulting in the best version of myself, I also keep myself available for opportunities, brainstorms, and maybe even a total change of course, if that’s what presents itself.
I may have gotten a bit off track, and that’s ok. The message that I am not so simply trying to convey is: if there is something I am eager to look further into, a topic or challenge that slips into my daydreams throughout the week, maybe it’s worth stopping to take a look at.
Finding new avenues altogether, or even just more complex ideas to stretch the knowledge I already possess are just a couple ways I can maintain some fulfillment, some purpose. As a byproduct, maybe there’s someone out there that will relate to the words I share, be inspired by a dish I create, or hear the story that an image I had posted was intended to tell.
The only way I will ever find out is to remove the self instilled limitations, acknowledge & thank the fear for attempting to protect me, and eagerly follow whatever calling seems the loudest.
I used to worry about failing. Now I get caught up in the realm of “but, what if it works?” Oh, what a problem I seem more & more ok with possibly having to answer. Someday. When is the right time? What’s wrong with now?