Too Late/Too Soon: The Wandering.


When do you know that it’s time? The fifth in a month of posts about how I learned to stop worrying, buck up and do the work.

After I left Mississippi, I went through a long period of… well, nothing. I wanted to belong to something. I wanted to be part of something. I wanted identity.

Instead, I had these stories from Mississippi, and some business cards, and that was it.

What came next was this period where I couldn’t really tell people what I was doing, because I wasn’t doing anything. I could tell them what I’d done. Or what I wanted to do in the future.

But in the present? I had nothing. I was lost.

Part of the problem with doing the work is that you’re never really sure that the time is right for your work. And you use that as an excuse to avoid doing the work right now.

I know I did, sometimes.

But this period of wandering — and it lasted a few months — was really good for me. It showed me all the things I needed to do. It showed me what happened when I didn’t put in the hours.

It showed me that the difference between failure and success hinged entirely on my commitment to this work.

Without the wandering, I didn’t have anything to compare my successes to. I didn’t know how low I could go, and how quickly I could get there.

I’m not glad I went to that point. I’m mad I lost so much time there.

But because of it, I understand now. The time I had was the time I had. The work had to happen, now, and it had to be done, now, and if I didn’t do it, now, I was going to have to get myself a job at Arby’s or something — soon.

The time had come to stop wandering, and to start working harder than I’d ever done before.

Of course, I still needed a sign that the work was worthy.

Then came the break.

That photo of being lost in the trees comes via Yulen Zoom.