I’m playing a very dangerous game with myself right now. The “It will be better when (random thing) happens” game. It’s a game I’ve played too much in my adult life, one that I’m desperately trying to get away from. It’s a habit I picked up as a child. I was so unhappy and so powerless, I just knew if this one thing were different, if this one thing would change, the situation would be better and I would be happier. Back then it was “it will be better if I get straight A’s” or “it would be better if my father was around” or “it will be better when I’m a grown-up”. All untrue, of course, but they gave me hope, and the will to keep moving.
I turn thirty-one next week, and I’m still lying to myself. “It will be better when I get this job.” “It will be better when I publish my book.” “It will be better when I get out of here.” “It will be better in another city.”
“I’ll be happier when…”
But it’s all a lie. It will never be better than it is right now, and I either have to get used to it or fight it. Sitting on my rear complaining about it isn’t doing anyone any good.
I gripe at myself for not getting in gear with my marathon training until two weeks ago when the date of the 5K finally got close enough to frighten me. I’m doing the same thing with my work. I have no deadlines looming over me to motivate me into action.
“If I win this contest, things will be better.”
Sure they will, but I won’t win if I don’t put in the work. The story is not going to write itself, and I will not come up with something completely brilliant on the day in a last-minute fit of panic. If I want to win, I have to write.
If I want things to get better, I have to do the work. I have to write even when everything I write is terrible, even when none of it makes sense. Even when it’s a rambling mess I know I’ll regret posting.