Everyone loves my father’s cooking. Whenever anyone stops by, they ask if there’s anything left over. If he happens to be away at the store, they’ll casually and politely wait (even if their visit had nothing to do with food).
Because it was always good, it was always gone too quickly. When we were little, my sister would always hide some in the fridge. She always wanted a little extra to savor when she was all alone.
I was the fat kid in my house growing up and later in elementary and middle school. I bit off more than I could chew, and I ate with relish.
Her strategy annoyed me to no end.
After I left my last job, I started keeping track of all the things I’d left behind. All the projects, classes, and lessons I’d started and stopped. I started putting dates on things, giving things away, and throwing things away.
Mostly it was an effort to purge the energy and the weight, but truthfully I just needed to know how much time I had wasted.
It wasn’t something that came naturally. It was a lesson given by a very dear friend. Before I left, she asked a very pointed question: “What did you learn in your time here?”
I started learning how to sew.
And how to crochet.
And how to make vegan-friendly tacos.
And how to swim.
And how to draw and paint.
And how to use InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
And how to build things out of wood.
And how to cut other people’s hair.
And how to change my own oil.
And how to read a map.
And I started making a coloring book.
And writing a children’s book.
And writing a book for my niece about growing up.
I already have a title, and I’ve outlined all the chapters.
I know what I’ll include and what I’ll omit.
I know which friends I hope to seek out as editors.
I started but then stopped. I
couldn’t didn’t commit.
For sewing and crochet, I needed a teacher.
For vegan tacos, I just needed some real frickin’ cheese.
For swimming, I needed to learn how to manage the anxiety of holding my breath underwater. I needed to learn HOW to hold my breath underwater. It’s a long-held fear born from asthma attacks and inhalers.
For almost everything else, I needed patience and discipline. Mental fortitude. Steadfastness. Attention to detail. Grit.
I needed thicker skin. Silence. A separate peace. I needed to MAKE time.
What do you need?
What do you have?
What’s in the way?
Edit it later.
Get a mentor. Get a tutor. Get a babysitter.
Ask your momma.
Make a plan, a blueprint, or a diagram.
Just finish it.