Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Before I Begin..."

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I often listen to CBC Radio. I like CBC. It makes me feel grown up, for one. It's mature conversation, on the most part, and there's no teenie-bopper music on it. I mostly listen to Radio One, which is the talk side (vs. Radio Two, which is mostly music). There's no ads on Radio One, except at election time. 

Which would be right now. 

They are mandated to provide air time to all political parties at designated times of day. I find them fascinating. I like Elizabeth May of the Green Party. I can't stand any of the mainstream parties (the Blue Ones, the Red Ones and the Orange Ones). The Communist Party's ad sounds like it's right out of Soviet Russia and would be downright hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that they were so gosh darn sincere. And honestly, if the Pirate Party was running a candidate in my riding, I would actually consider voting for them. 

But I digress. 
Anyone for a ride on a pirateship?
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I was listening to their tech show, Spark, one afternoon this week while cleaning up after lunch. I only caught the last few minutes of the last article of the show. They were talking about creativity, and I think specifically the guest was talking about the process of writing a novel for some odd reason. There was something he said, however, that really struck me. In fact, it struck me so much I had to get a pencil and paper and jot it down. 

He said, "The three most destructive words in the English language are, 'Before I begin... ' ". 

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I think what he meant was that the creativity process is often killed before it even gets off the ground because we want to accomplish certain things before starting into that novel we've always wanted to write. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was more than that. How many things in our life do we not do because we're waiting for something?

We don't start our "ideal careers" until we're done school.

We don't get married until we've established our careers. 

We don't have kids until we can afford them. 

But with what result? We "do" school only to discover maybe that wasn't the career that we wanted, or we're so saddled with debt we're virtually paralyzed anyway. We marry later and later, get divorced more and more, and leave having our kids so late that we have trouble getting pregnant, or we're old when we have them and can barely keep up. 

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But there's a flip side to that. 

We are unwilling to wait for things. We want to wait until things are ideal before getting married, but want a domestic partner right now, so we live together instead. We want to buy a house, but bemoan the fact that we can't afford an all-done house instead of buying that beater of a house and putting in the sweat equity. We need to have the latest TV's and iWhatevers, and then bemoan the fact that we never have time for the things that are "important" to us. 

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But it still becomes, "Before I Begin...", doesn't it? We feel the need to take these steps prior to, or even in lieu of, making these big commitments. Maybe it's a symptom of our inability to wait for delayed gratification?

We can't begin while we're busy amassing the "right nows". Amassing education that we may or may not use, collecting domestic and sexual partners that suits us for the moment instead of waiting for the one we're going to commit to permanently, reaping electronics like they grow on trees. We can't wait for any of it. 

And as a result, so many of us fail to begin.

But it's not only the big things this failure affects. It's the little moments too.

I was ruminating this blog post earlier this afternoon when Joseph came up to me and said, "Mommy, let's play a game."

What was my answer? 

"Just let me do the dishes first."

It wasn't until he walked away that I realized what just happened. And I wonder how much of the little things in life I miss out on, or how the relationships around me are impacted, all because of "Before I begin..."

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