Better

The enemy of good.

shutterstock_420236590Sometimes I want what I don’t have. I think it’s part of the human condition, but my only expertise on this theory is the fact that I’m human. I see it a lot, hear it a lot. Bigger house, faster car, cooler bike, newer toy. I see it in Kids a lot, which I expect. What I find disturbing is seeing it in adults.

What’s the point of wanting more? What you have isn’t enough? I’m not talking about bare necessities here. I’m talking about a car you can’t afford but you buy because you want it. Now, it has become a velvet rope around your neck. Maybe you wanted it because you hate your job and a new, cool car will make you feel better. Guess what, you can’t afford the car, now you have to go to the job you hate because you need to make the payment. The rope is tightening, but at least it’s velvet. All cars, unless you pony up about a quarter of a million dollars for a super car, are the same, roughly. Trucks are trucks, they can’t be improved upon, you might think they can be, but it’s not true. Cars, they get faster, but fuel efficiency is done, that’s it, they can’t get more efficient unless a battery and serious aerodynamic are involved, and lets not forget the amount of Coltan that goes into a car battery — no one is driving around karma free. Yeah, but a Mercedes can’t compare to a Hyundai. Well, the lead designer from Hyundai went to Mercedes. It’s in your head. You make the car cool, not the other way around. I can make a 2008 Toyota Tacoma look awesome, same with a Honda Pilot. I’m not immune to this — I refuse to drive a minivan. Human condition, right?shutterstock_344843282

So, what’s better than good? I think that having my novel published would be better than not having it published. Again, a state of mind. A little bit of sun on a more regular basis in the Pacific Northwest would be better than the relentless rain we are currently experiencing. A state of mind, yes, but Vitamin D is important and that’s science. Some food is better than other food. I guess, what I’m saying is that when I think I could have better stuff, a better place to live, a happier time, a nicer car, a better bike or a new surfboard, I need to settle down and think about what it means to want the things I don’t have and why I want them. I’m not a child. I should know better, right?

A persistent villain.

shutterstock_337825361When it comes to writing, I’ve been called a grinder. Talent lurks in the shadows, but mainly I work my ass off. I’m persistent, I take criticism on the chin and push forward. I’m teachable and determined to succeed. This hasn’t come easy. I’m not known for self-discipline.

I learned late in life that I can’t just snowboard, surf, party, go to work and all will be right with the world. I didn’t party so much, but man did I get good at surfing and snowboarding. To this day I stave off the adolescent who wants to stay up late, eat cheesecake, binge watch an awesome show, leave my dishes in the sink and still have life be awesome. It’s sad but true. Now, I self-parent.

I work from home. No one is putting me on a deadline, telling me what to do or checking in on my progress. It’s all me. I’m getting better at it, but I know I can get good at it. When I keep that in mind, I persist. Small accompliments, like publishing a short story, are victories — a positive feedback loop telling my subconscious that the discipline I have self inflicted is working.

Waking up every day to grind out a story, not knowing where it will lead, is Sisyphean. Although Sisyphus’s chore was a punishment from The Gods, it fits in the metaphor of what I do every day. Wake up, feed kids, get kids to school, come home, write, exercise (sometimes), pick up from school, make dinner, go to bed, repeat. At the end of the day I can say that life is pretty good, discipline is just a part of it.

 

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