just do it.

7.21.2018


Curled up in a chair at the library, I’m forcing myself to write this blog post. It isn't going to be well-planned or well-thought-out, but what matters is that I'm writing it. I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about doing things, but not actually doing anything at all. If there were an award for obsessing over every detail of your life to the point of insanity, I'd have a shiny plaque hanging on my bedroom wall (or maybe I'd keep it in my closet--that's not something I imagine I'd be too keen on bragging up). But here's the kicker--I don't do much of anything to work toward this ideal life I've carefully crafted in my mind. I mean, you'd think if I were going to go through the mental effort of perfecting every nook and cranny of the person I want to be, I could be bothered to maybe—hear me out—try to work toward becoming that person. But, alas, here we are.

Blame it on how we've grown accustomed to immediate gratification, social media's unrealistic depiction of life, or maybe just my lazy tendencies, but making a change seems...tough, especially because it's not only myself I'd like to improve--I'm also trying to figure out where I fit into this puzzle of a world around me, and what I can do to improve it...

I'll be the first to admit that there have been a fair number of things that came somewhat easily to me, and I'd be lying if I said that those weren't the things that I stuck with, because why wouldn't you keep doing something that doesn't require a terrible amount of effort to be moderately decent at? But it's hard not to notice the people who are absurdly skilled and talented--and look, I know I shouldn't, but I can't help but compare myself to them.

Be it art, writing, music, comedy, photography, honestly anything (even things I'm not even remotely interested in pursuing myself), I always find myself a bit envious of the people who can do cool stuff and do it well. Don’t get me wrong--I want to celebrate your craft and what you've accomplished. Kudos to you, dude—you rock. I love seeing your watercolor paintings show up on my Instagram feed, and I'll gladly like your band's page on Facebook. Nonetheless, the tiny, jealous person in my head (that I try my darnedest to subdue) persists, screaming with outrage because she feels like she will never measure up. Here's the problem (one that is exponentially magnified by social media): we see the result, but we don't see the progress. We see the whole pie, but we don't see a slice. I see you playing Chopin at Carnegie Hall, but I don't see the hours upon hours upon hours that you've spent practicing each day since you were 5 years old. I see the portrait photograph you took of your friend, but I don't see the photos you snapped when you bought your first camera. (Wait, that's a drawing you did with colored pencils?? Are you sure that isn't a photograph??? You're kidding me.) We wind up comparing our first or second attempts with somebody’s thousandth--no wonder we feel less than. The plain and simple truth is that being good at something takes time and effort, and most often, dare I say always, we utterly underestimate this process.

So, problem solved, right? Acknowledge how much time people have put into the things that they're good at and start putting time into something you care about so you can be good at something, too! Seems easy enough. But, queue sad trombone "wah wah wah" noise, I'm still at square one. Introducing a new problem: how do I choose what I want to devote that much time to??! Ah, the beauty and the horror of a blank canvas. There are so many things I want to do and work toward, but, in a tale of epic irony, I end up working toward...nothing, because I spend so much time internally debating about on what I should spend my time. Aaaaand, what do you know, we have come full circle: too much thinking; not enough doing.

In honor of this revelation I have made about my inclination to stare at a wall and dream about the person I want to be and the things I want to do, but then make no tangible efforts to accomplish these goals, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to the motto that everyone's favorite enigma, Shia LaBeouf, so graciously reminded us of (and also Nike's slogan, but if we talk about Nike, we have to also talk about their unethical business practices, and I don't have that in me right now): “just do it.” Just freakin' do it. Start somewhere. Something is better than nothing. A baby step is better than standing still. While you're at it, share the process, because that's neat and worth celebrating, too. And with that, I just did it. I wrote this post. That doesn't mean I am now a phenomenal writer, but perhaps I'm the teeniest, tiniest bit better than I was when I was staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page. Cheers to improvement, no matter how small.

(Pictured is the Apricot Almond Tart from Tatte Bakery. Yes, I'm still swooning.)
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