There was a moment when I met my future in-laws for the first time where I was struck with how little I knew about anything.
I’d never met a family that played Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit for fun and could carry on a conversation, intelligently, on any topic. And there I was, with even less to say than usual. They seemed to like me anyway, so it didn’t bother me much, but when I thought about one day having my own family, the thoughts came back. Someone would be depending on me. Looking for knowledge/advice from me and unless my kid wanted to know how many Green Goblins there were, I had nothing to offer.
Rather than be depressed about it, I was motivated to make myself smarter. (This was a milestone for me because my life before consisted of getting by. I honed the skill of being as smart as I had to be well in school. So well, I ranked square in the middle of my graduating class) I read a lot more and took an interest in things I never bothered to care about. Stuff I think most would consider common knowledge. I guess this is what they call maturing.
So, recently, I’ve been thinking about this whole writing career and the same feeling from meeting my in-laws resurfaced. But instead of not feeling smart, I was thinking, “Andrew, you’re just a big mess.”
Just getting by was not limited to school, it’s basically been my mantra for my whole life.
Well, there are lots of people writing and the ones breaking through to success are not just getting by. I’ve read about what these people are doing. How they manage it all. But when I give it a try my successes were very short-term. And on top of all that, normal, everyday stuff around the house was falling to the wayside. I was doing tons of stuff and getting nothing accomplished at the same time.
The frustration lead me to an experiment.
All signs (Kait Nolan leading the charge) pointed to lists as the way to get my stuff done. And since I was failing at lists my personal life I decided to try one for an established routine at work. I checked my assignments, wrote them all down and went to work. I got my work done (no surprise) but with a list in front of me, I got it done a bit faster.
With that little success motivating me, I made a very small after work to-do list. First thing I noticed was I’d forgotten half the tasks I’d written down, but once I saw them, I immediately got to work on them.
Just like work work.
It may not seem like much, but remembering to vacuum the A/C filter, getting the dirty laundry together and making a sandwich for my lunch at work was a big deal to me.
Then it hit me.
All the goals that I thought were small and manageable, weren’t. I was telling my brain to go from one lifelong behavior, to a drastically different one overnight. No wonder I crashed and burned. How could I have the schedule of a highly organized person, when I can’t even remember to vacuum a filter?
Guess I’m a slow learner.
I’m pretty much starting from scratch. For me, having a writing career (Or pretty much any life goal) won’t happen if there’s still chaos all around me, so organizing my life is a must. It won’t be easy to unlearn how I’ve lived, but if I can increase my knowledge in my twenties, then I can get organized in my thirties.