That moment when you shift from “I don’t wanna” to “oh, hell yeah, let’s finish this” goes by a variety of colloquialisms. “Shitshift” is my favorite of these terms, but that’s because I’m impolite and unladylike.
Don’t think you know what I’m talking about? Oh, yes you do, silly. You know. You do know.
You know what it’s like to reach page 251 of a 498 page book.
You know what it’s like, maybe, to see the clock hit 9:01 when you’re sitting in a room (detention? jury duty?) for a two-hour block, from 8:00-10:00.
You might know, if you’ve ever run a race or taken a recorded exercise class, the moment when a spectator or instructor or coach screams, “YOU’RE HALFWAY THROUGH! DON’T FUCKING QUIT NOW!!!”
Once you pass this magic mark, you’re likely to finish the race, the book, the detention hall, the slog of whatever it is you might have had mixed feelings about in the beginning.
To be clear here: Halfway and half…hearted (I am trying to be more polite…) are not the same thing. The halfway mark is a sign of commitment. Doing something with only half of one’s full, dedicated heart is a waste.
The rest of this stream of consciousness will be even more messy and disjointed, but I think it will come together in the end.
All of this is on my mind today for two reasons. One, I’ve made it almost to the halfway mark of my self-imposed daily writing challenge (56 days of daily writing/posting). Today’s post (OK, tonight’s post) is number 25 of 56. I’m almost halfway finished, and I think I might actually accomplish what I started here.
If you’re curious, even a little bit, about why I would decide to add this daily writing burden to an already-full plate, then I’ll remind you that I wondered what might happen if I committed as much time to writing (even bad, uninteresting writing, just to keep practicing) as I have devoted to other things I do daily. The only way to answer that question was to give daily writing a try over a long period – and to do it without the convention of a serial story like the ones I’ve written in recent summers.
And then there’s the million tennis balls story, which you might remember from sometime in the past (who knows when that was, because all of the past 19 months has just been one big blur…). The short version: a tennis coach told me the only difference between me and Chris Evert was that she’d hit a million more tennis balls than I had. Time logged in training, putting the work in, etc.
I was telling that story (the million tennis balls bit) today to my friend and colleague Jeremy Park, who was interviewing me about my work-work for his show. (Want to see our conversation? It’s here. We had fun talking about parenting and life, because Jeremy is a true delight of a human.) In the middle of the story, I remembered, too late, that Jeremy was, in a past life, a tennis professional at the Beverly Hills Country Club. He listened kindly and patiently and then said: “The thing is, you can’t just hit a million balls. You have to try to hit them well, you have to put some effort into the hitting. Otherwise you’re just kind of wasting time.”
So, I’m almost halfway through, and the fatigue is real, and I’m not quite to the shitshift yet, but I’m not giving up. And even if this wandering ramble is no prize-winner, I did try to give it a little thought. And I even checked for typos.
And I’m coming back tomorrow.
Hey, tomorrow’s Saturday. Ferb, I know what we’re going to do tomorrow….
Since you’ll probably be reading this in the morning, given the late hour of the publishing point, you might be thinking more about breakfast than dinner. Here’s a repeat of my favorite egg preparation. Yes, I really do make one of these almost every day.
This post is 25/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.
I love learning new words. I’ll never be halfway through anything ever again without thinking ShitShift, which sort of sounds like a Stephen King novel to me. Why 56 days?
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For my 56th birthday (damn I’m old!) – though, also: 8 weeks is the sweet spot amount of time for trying to form a habit….
Ah, I see. You’re not so old-I’m older. May it make you feel young for a little while
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