Navigating the Current
My man Bob over the last few days has been visiting family in Maryland. It was a perfect time for me to be productive. But instead of organizing my home and working on my on-line degree, I spent the bulk of my home-alone vacation watching reruns of the different Law and Order series. I wasn't very productive. However, I am finding flickers of fire for my future as I start to feel suffocated in the gritty-yet-formulaic construct of the TV series.
I feel I've been drifting toward my future. Having left my past lifestyle as a concert dancer and plunged this past year headlong into my corporate future, I have not had the direction and the certainty that has steered me in the past. I've definitely felt adrift. The malaise makes watching reruns comforting, and those lost hours blanket me like a warm bubble bath. But then I look around and my house is still in piles, my school deadlines bark like pitbulls and I've done nothing.
Here's part of my fear. All my life I've envisioned that after my artistic endeavors, I'd turn my "talent" toward a business career and, of course, making money. Stacks of it. Come to find out several things:
1. I'm pretty old now and I'm at the bottom of any corporate ladder ahead of me.
2. As I move through my on-line MBA, these Business 101 lessons frighten me. They're confusing and overwhelming. In a single week I encounter debt-to-equity ratios, net present value calculations and capital-financing strategies. Electronic simulations put me in the role of CFO, which, as I look into the future, I just don't know if I can handle.
Then I think about the lessons I've learned as an artist. Mastery of detail takes time, repetition and patience. That's a huge lesson for me because I sometimes lack the patience to practice. Having said that, the other big ingredient is a fire for what I'm doing.
This week on the sofa has taught me a lot. I'm finding the fire to face my challenges by looking at the alternative. A flabby life of Law and Order reruns. I'm floating down a mental river, passively allowing the fake dramas on TV to stimulate me. Neither my body nor my mind are doing a thing.
By day three as a rerun zombie, I began feeling confined and bound by the cotton candy I had wrapped myself in. In my imaginary canoe, I suddenly saw myself standing, taking a long, wooden staff and stabbing it down into the water. The currents are strong, but as the staff hits muddy bottom, the boat shifts direction slightly. I worry, but my option otherwise is life in a fat suit.
One of my biggest fears is failure, and not meeting the expectations I had of myself as an intellectual, a leader and a provider. This fear is one of the things I escape from when watching Lenny Brisco interrogate a perp. But I found the strength to truly pick up that wooden staff. And as I get back to my e-books I uncover a relevant nugget of wisdom. It's a quote from the highly esteemed investor, Warren Buffett.
"It is better to be approximately right, than precisely wrong."
The fear of perfection can often stifle the active attempt to try. I see now that my options are to die in a wrapped cocoon or burst out and die trying to do something, anything. Reading this phrase today pacifies my fear of failure, at least temporarily, and gives me the strength to raise that staff out of the water and shove it back down into the riverbed.