The journey from the future to the present

Two things:

1.  Spend more time exercising.  I've been swimming at least 3x per week lately, and it's *great* and I can feel it doing awesome things, mostly to my brain (because exercise is SO good for mental health; can't overstate how much).  I know that more would be better, and furthermore, it's been too damn long since I was in formal kungfu training.  I know of a great-seeming school near my house that would net me another 1-3 exercise sessions (plus valuable training) per week.

I've known about it for like, six months.  "Call the school and set up a first class to go to" has been on my to-do list that whole time. 

The second thing:

2.  Learn javascript.  I need an updated tech skill — I've been in management a while, and my hobbies aren't honing skills that will help me professionally (so I can triple-boot weird OSs on old computers, big deal :D) — and my current job is quite possibly a *perfect* environment for learning useful stuff like node.JS and React, complete with company funding and killer engineers eager to help me learn.

I've signed up for a short class in the basics — I understand code quite well conceptually, but syntax that isn't english grammar trips me up so hard! — and I have an intermediate book that looks good that was in our company library.  But I've only read one chapter and made a few notes, and haven't touched the course yet, even though I stated my intention to move forward with this goal about 2 months ago.

So what's going on?

I'm realizing that I have a lot of difficulty collapsing good ideas from "future" to "present".  As long as they're "future" ideas, they're full of possibility and promise, but the present is hard to do and frought with potential failure.  You could definitely add a third item to that list — though it would almost certainly belong in slot #1 — where I imagine and plot and poke at these wonderful stories, but I run out of steam for working on them as soon as they become too real.  Usually that's right about the point where I have a draft in hand and am trying to edit it.  Suddenly everything feels claustrophobic and I'm sure I'm going to fail. 

I realized today that this is because my focus is staying in the future, even when my activities have moved past the planning phase and into the Doing Stuff Now phase.  I can't let go of thinking about what this will become, and so the deeper I get into the reality of what it IS, the harder it is to make any progress, or even to make myself think about it.  I very quickly abandon things I'm Actually Doing and retreat into the much-easier-to-contemplate futures of other things I Might Do.

There's a mindset one has when doing something now that has to let go of the future of it, to do it for its own sake, to quiet the mind and just make those motions that you gotta make now.  Is calling the kungfu school and going to the first classes terrifying?  Okay; that's what you gotta do.  Does that sentence need rewriting again?  Ok, then you gotta rewrite it — and if you're tangled up in What This Will Become or Whether I'm Going To Fail, it's just about impossible. You're trying to walk uphill anyway; you can't do it if you're dragging every potential future and its consequences with you.

I don't have answers for this lil' conundrum, if you couldn't tell; but I do have a strong suspicion that being more aware of it will be helpful.  Next time I notice myself feeling like it's insurmountable to make that call or open that file or sit down with that study-guide, I'm going to check my brain and see if it's all tangled up in futures.  It probably will be, and then I can try cutting it loose, letting them all go and just focusing on this step I need to take right now.

I'll let you know how it goes!


About puredoxyk

Word addict, kungfu/taiji nut, and life-partner to polyphasic sleep. Rabid fan of as many hobbies as the world will let me pry into its piddly fourth dimension (it helps to have knocked out the wall).
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2 Responses to The journey from the future to the present

  1. ze says:

    damn, i have this so hard… with art, writing, music… people! :(

    some stuff i find gets done more, maybe, are things like exercises, drafts, sketches, prototypes… it's easier to let it be what it is when you're not expecting it to become what you're ultimately after anyway.

    and who knows, it can sometimes turn out to be what you didn't know you wanted. or something good enough to hold you over for a better draft, at least.

    • ze says:

      oh, the other somewhat relevant thought i had:

      i've heard phrases regarding music production like "leave room for god(/serendipity/whatever) in the studio", speaking to the merit of relinquishing a degree of control and the attachment to the idea of something, and allowing for the parts played by the unexpected, circumstantial influences, and something's natural course of evolution in how it ends up.

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