The Great Time War

I want to defeat time.

Even though I know I can’t help but improve myself in a linear fashion, I get really frustrated sometimes by the rearview mirror.

Hind sight is 20/20 they say. Which isn’t entirely true. Sometimes even having gained information and insight about a particular situation you would still choose the same course of action. Not because you don’t see how the outcome will be bad, but because you lack the strength to be a better person and choose the more difficult choice. It’s hard to face yourself and knowingly choose discomfort.

Sometimes though, hindsight would change things. For example, as I mentioned before, I’m a teacher. There are moments where I realize there is something, be it a strategy or a new skill, that I could have taught my students to exponentially increase their chances of success. Looking back and realizing I could have done better by them really tends to lay on the guilt. On the one hand, what can I do? I can’t change the fact that I’m a person who is learning along with them. But on the other hand, the nature of the job of teaching is a really sticky one, because you quite literally affect the futures of many people. My ineptitude in teaching a certain academic or life skill could lead to someone dropping out of school somewhere down the line and having a crappy life thereafter. (Not that all dropouts become unsuccessful. A few end up doing well.)

So I’m often bombarded by this rivalry with time. Can I beat myself and be better faster so that I can wreak the least havoc possible on this Earth? Can I make as few mistakes as possible by making calculations and budgeting time for specific personal and professional growth goals?

The thing is, I know the answer is no, but I’ve always been a very stubborn person. I’m still going to try my best to at least lose as little as possible.

On my good days I go through life shouting “Zettai ni makenai! (I definitely won’t lose!).” But on my bad days the reality of losing catches up to me and I want to throw in the towel. Shameful, I know. I guess I have to learn to be a little more satisfied with turning hindsight into foresight, rather than grumbling about the battles I’ve lost.

In the end, I’m destined to lose the war. But I want to go out with a kick butt war cry, not a defeated whimper. I guess I better get my ish together then, huh?

~LDA

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Driving Your Destiny

This one time…

I stopped writing for a really long time just to see what it would do to me. (And I mean a REALLY long time. An entire year and change.) I did it to see if maybe I didn’t love writing as much as I thought I did.  I wanted to see whether I was worthy of picking up a pen (or tapping away at a keyboard).

If it wasn’t my calling, I felt I had no business dabbling in it.

Out of a sort of respect for the craft I vowed that if I didn’t feel a sort of supernatural push to write, if I didn’t feel compelled beyond reason at some point, if I didn’t have a defining moment where I felt the very flesh from my bones would peel away and leave me a broken corpse if I didn’t write, then I wouldn’t ever seriously pick up a pen ever again. 

That was one of the worst decisions I ever made in my life.

All it proved was that just like anyone else, my motivation and inspiration wells were capable of being dried up and I could become a boring old worse than average Joe who was wasting potential.  Too much of the world is.

It made me bitter and insecure that I wasn’t feeling some supernatural urge to vomit out an entire novel in one night.

Why weren’t the clouds parting?

Why wasn’t a great booming voice from the sky resounding, “My child, it is time to return to your notebook and recommence the penning of history’s greatest literature! You have arrived at a critical creative state at long last!”

Where was the convictive divine splendor?

If I waited long enough surely it would show up. Thunderclouds, writing in the sky and all, right?

Wrong.

I felt pulls and little nudges of inklings that I ought to get back to my craft. I still jotted down the little spontaneous spurts of inspiration I had while passively riding the bus home in the evening or in the dead of night.

But I was being stubborn.

If God wanted me to write, he would tell me so. And he would tell me my way too.

Well, lemme tell you something.

God’s got all day. In fact, he’s got all eternity. That’s an awful long time to wait for writing on the wall and if you’re smart you’ll realize you can’t out-stubborn the guy who made mules and Steve Jobs. (They get that impressive head strength from somewhere.)

Eventually I realized I had to stop waiting and take action. Benjamin Franklin didn’t harness the power of electricity by twiddling his thumbs. He took his ‘lil kite and strut outside.

I’ve recently bounced back and started grabbing my destiny by the horns for myself as I’ve learned that things don’t happen to you, you make them happen.  I’m re-realizing that one’s creative flow needs to be nurtured. That river of ideas needs to be coaxed into flowing freely and powerfully before it can regularly break down a few dams of setbacks on its own.

Because of my foolishness, my creative river has trickled down to a stream and I’m paying for all the debris that’s gotten in the way.

Everybody has their calling and sometimes we let tiny nagging doubts get in the way of us reaching out and capturing them. Don’t be stupid like me and stunt your growth. Push forward and bust those conscientious “boo hoos” in the balls.

Whatever your destiny may be. Be it computer programming or cartooning, or writing or football..

It’s called your calling because YOU call the shots, not because you’re sitting there waiting to be called on.

Regrettably Delayed,

~LDA