I, like everyone else in the world (it seems), have been so tired lately.
I get up too early, work all day, stay up too late in an effort to trick a 24-hour-day into producing the ROI of a 30-hour one. And, as you all know if you’ve read any of my other posts, I like to reinterpret math/science/the laws of physics any time doing so is to my benefit, and so here we are.
I know the reason why most of us are so tired. It’s because we’re driven. It’s because, despite how dope we already are, we know we can be that much doper. It’s not about not appreciating where we’re at, but it’s knowing that we got to where we’re at by being who we are, and being who we are requires semi-regular game-planning/goal-setting/life reevaluation, so why would we stop? We’re hustlers, baby, and just want you to know.
And, therefore, in our efforts to keep improving ourselves, our lives, everyone else’s lives (shout out to Langston), we get tired.
So, per usual, I have a story.
Not too long ago at work, a friend of mine put time on my calendar to chat. Like, formally. She wanted my advice on being a writer. She told me stuff I never knew, about how she used to write sci-fi stories growing up, how she’s always loved writing, how she’s always really wanted to do more of it, but she wasn’t sure how. So, she wanted to know my thoughts on how.
I told her things that we all know, but that I still believe are true: that getting started is always the hardest part; that the fear of rejection is a very real and paralyzing condition. I told her things that maybe we don’t all know, about strategies for submitting to journals and publications, the pros and cons, why sometimes you would but maybe sometimes you wouldn’t. And then I told her something that felt trivial at the time and now has wrapped all the way around to being the motivational little nugget for this post: to just take a step.
I have realized/accepted/maybe should talk to a shrink about the fact I – primarily – like to take BIG steps. Like, giant, huge, leaping over rivers kind of steps. I want to get where I’m going faster than people say it should take me, and anyone who has ever driven/walked/spoken with me can account for that. And, if you’re like me, sometimes when your steps don’t feel big enough to be measurable – when you’re in stop-and-go traffic instead of flying down the freeway with the wind in your hair like you deserve to be in the closing/opening credits of some 80’s movie – they don’t feel like they matter as much.
The idiom is baby steps. However, I like to revise English colloquialisms to best fit my linguistic needs, so I’m gonna call them toddler steps. Because when I think about babies, they spend about .5 seconds stepping, and the rest of that adventure toppled on their asses. I have more faith in your stepping ability, and in mine, too. So I say we’re toddlers – zooming, maybe clumsily, through the house in our Pampers, fully capable of hitting a real nice stride, also fully capable of running into the refrigerator door and falling ass-backwards and crying about it for longer than we wish we would.
I think, when we’re slamming into refrigerators instead of running past all those babies victoriously on the playground, it can be hard to keep taking steps. Especially when they feel small. Especially when we’re tired. But we are all running into refrigerators, at some point. We are all tired, at some point. And whether it’s writing, or hockey-playing, or reality-TV-show auditioning, every day you do anything at all is a step. And all those steps add up. They move you places. They get you places. And, just like you wouldn’t pull over and pout in the middle of stop-and-go traffic, or cancel your whole road trip and turn around because I-95 sucks, yet again, you can’t do it now. Because all this time I’ve spent toddler-stepping, zooming past wobbly babies and slamming into refrigerators, has always – eventually – gotten me to the right places. Places I’m really proud to be.
So I know you’re tired, and I know it sucks. I know you want to see more progress than what you might see right now, and that maybe it feels like you’ve been toddler-stepping in circles forever. You haven’t been. You’re getting somewhere.
You’re getting somewhere.
YOU. Are getting somewhere.
Somewhere you might not even be able to imagine, but the scraped knees and bruises are gonna be so, so worth it. I promise.
So, keep toddler stepping. And get there, already.