Okay is Great
To Thrive is Good, Survive First
This week I was split between a drive to do so much better in some sense of optimal productivity and a need to feel better, because things have been hard. And that hard isn't predictable. It can be in hindsight, or outside of my own head. Often though, I really don't see it coming and this past year has really scattered my roadwork with black ice. Slip ups are unavoidable.
I try to remember things I've researched, ways I can get back into the best daily routines, whatever might pull me into the best state of flow. I had a month where I powered through but then the power slipped from under me. Now I'm doing what I can to piece together a map to find it again without losing my footing along the way. Whether this is optimism or grasping, I seem to forget where I've been and where I often end up. When sometimes being alright is hard enough, trying to hustle can be the opposite of helpful.
I think — even in the best of times — it's important to remember that being okay is great. Good enough is great. Not bad is great. Just fine is great. A lot of statements that often seem like signals of something gone amiss are still lovely in their own light. There can be something spectacular about unspectacular. To notice, to listen, or even to do neither and just exist with a wandering mind — that can be quite the treat. If whatever work you do best is sitting by the wayside, it can. Life isn't just about what you leave. You don't live that bit anyway, other's do.
You Can Still Do Great Things
Even if you can't manage much, you can still do things that are great. Whatever book is being talked about most by big names and big talkers, it probably is worth the read. I won't tell you that it isn't. You don't have to follow in the steps of giants though. You don't have to read long books that bore you like some perpetual boredom machine. You don't have to work obscene hours or whatever is deemed optimal. Maybe that's six hours, or four hours of this and four hours of that. Maybe it involves some tirelessly algorithmic routine to dial into an ethereal state of flow. Forget that if you'd like to.
None of it is easy. Even the luckiest and most privileged go through heavy bouts of hard. But life can lay down its cards in ways where everything is a bit harder than average. If that's the case, survive first and then thrive later. Don't worry about thriving like some do. If you need permission to let go and watch the hustle from a passing window instead of being chained to a train that sometimes goes too fast, you've got mine. Hop on and feel the wind when the fancy strikes you, but when it doesn't, just show up.
Great things happen when you show up to life. Not always quickly, but they do. Show up to where you are, who you're sometimes with, what you do. Sketch, write, listen, talk, get up and get dressed and go where you're going and you'll end up somewhere. It can be great to suck the marrow out of life, but not always necessary. Just show up to the table. Have a bite. And keep coming back.