Every now and then I have a bad day at work, or a bad week or a bad month, and I find myself sitting at my computer at 9:00 p.m. working on something that, if I’m being honest, isn’t really that important, while my wife reads Harry Potter to my 9 year old in the other room, but I’m stuck at this computer because I promised I would finish this thing that really isn’t that important by tomorrow, and I don’t like to NOT do what I promise, so I’m just going to work here until it gets done.
There’s a part of me that just listens to my wife reading in the background and thinks I may have my priorities mixed-up, plus Harry Potter is kind of freaking cool, and this house addition that I’m trying to finish is…. well, it’s kind of freaking cool too, but let’s face it, it isn’t Goblet of Fire freaking cool or anything, I mean, it has a hot tub, but that’s… actually a little creepy and, wait…. what year is this?
So, then I find myself, wondering, as I pull together last minute finish details, and door schedules, and material specifications, for someone who probably has no real idea idea how long all this is actually taking me, if this, this behavior, is just a “temporary” state, or is it the “normal” state? Is this just a deadline that I need to get through, to get back to my “normal” routine? Or has this constant state of over promising and over delivering become my true “normal” routine?
I can remember working on designs until the middle of the night when I was younger, flush with the promise of finding truth in the process. Flush with the ideas, and ideals, and the concepts, and expectations for possible greatness. Like it was just there, just outside the tips of my fingers. Just there…. almost…. there…
And I would bend over the work and search until my eyes blurred and I couldn’t work anymore, and then I’d sleep and get up and do it again, and again.
But, at some point, I guess I aged, or matured, or just got tired, or maybe shit just starting getting real, and life changed from an ideal state that I could imagine into a cold hard reality that I could hold in my hand, and turn it around and look at as long as I want to, and then put it back in my pocket and take it out tomorrow to look at it again. At some point my life changed from a hope of what could be into what it is, or what will be.
And, I don’t know how you keep your head down and continue to do the work after you realize that, while your life reads to your kids in the next room… But, you can’t just stop the work. And it’s not just because you promised you’d finished, and you need to do what you promise, and it’s not just because the work you do pays the bills and puts the roof over the heads of you and your kids listening to your wife read, and it’s not just because you care about your work, and you’re a professional, and you’re doing what you’re trained for and paid for and capable of or made for….
At some point it isn’t about the work at all anymore. It doesn’t have to do with the craft of design and the shear, brilliance of discovering what could be, and giving it a form, and a vocabulary, and light….
At some point it changes. And it just becomes the thing that you do. It just becomes a part of who you are… a habit… your way of being.
I think you just do the work… because that’s what you do.
At some point it just becomes … you
The direction you started moving towards a long time ago, becomes the way you find yourself moving now.
It’s called inertia.
Which, I’m pretty sure, is some form of dark magic…
the moment of inertia hoop image has been used under the creative commons license – HERE