Start writing as soon as you think of it, and get started doing something. For 10 years I have sat and watched others do the things I burned to do: design, install, remediate, support, research, plant, herd, heal, restore.
The power of doing nothing is that it feeds back on itself. After so long doing nothing, the smallest steps seem like too little to bother, and yet the ‘big enough’ step seems insurmountable. So we remain frozen, bound in our own yearning to do something, and so forever ineffective.
Do we need to remind ourselves sometimes that others had an opportunity, an open door, or an inspiration that we didn’t? That some spark got thrown onto their pile of personal kindling, that didn’t light upon ours? It’s not about hardship or lack of resources but simply, sometimes, lack of the foundation of leadership: the knowledge of how to mobilize from an initial motivation. The support or leadership around to make something happen. The pushback from someone who knows us better than our excuses and insecurities, our fears and hangups and limiting beliefs.
Don’t end up on the slag heap of dreams, clutching to the empty, soggy shirts of the people you didn’t reach out to, the connections missed, the opportunities overlooked. Go back and review and learn from them (as I look up at my shelves filled with journals reaching back into the past nearly 20 years).
Grab joy where you find it, and if you can’t find it, then plant it. Be ruthless about guarding those small things that bring it for you, because left unguarded, they will be superseded by someone else’s expectations, needs, desires, and plans. When the little voice tells to take the leap, then take it, come what may. (When the big voice tells you to stay put, that you’re only acting out of fear of missing out, then listen to that instead). There are an awful lot of things to do in life. It may be unlikely that we get to do for a living The One Big Thing That Brings Us Joy, but damn – we can fit it into the spaces until it fills us up, and we can always make more space.
Like this: I thought about today how I could fit better into this whole suburban landscape retrofitting thing, through composting, small-scale livestock, and water use, even though in my heart of hearts I am riding big country with my horse and my dog and we are moving animals, tending landscape. Sometimes we’re just too far from our dream to make it something that we do only that or nothing else; there needs to be a bridge; so then find it, make it, build it, and either you’ll find a whole new country of opportunity or you’ll find a way to get where you wanted to go.
But don’t do nothing. Mobilize, or die. The world is too big, diverse, busy, full of life and noise and opportunity to stay immobilized where you are.