Monday, January 4, 2016

Not Waiting “Until”

“Until” is a very slippery, almost impossible place to reach.

It IS an impossible place in which to live.

If you wait until everything is perfect to do the thing you’ve been wanting to do, then nothing will ever get done, because (as many wiser people have said before me) the time is never perfect to do anything.

So I’ve decided I’m not going to wait until I feel the timing is just right to try to do things I would like to do any more.

Case in point: cutting my hair.

Realllllly short. Like I wore it a long time ago.

Some would say that I should wait until I lose weight (which is probably not going to happen; my bad health prevents working out and the Bipolar meds are the reason for the extra weight, not my diet) to wear a really cute short, cropped haircut.

But let’s face facts. My glasses aren’t going to get any thinner, my face isn’t going to go back to being oval (it is rounder than it’s ever been) and I’m going to look how I look.

So why should I also have hair that I dislike? To try to hide behind it? That’s funny, because it would kind of be like an elephant trying to hide behind a palm tree. Everyone can still see me, no matter how invisible I feel at times. I look how I look, it is what it is.

I was young and cute once though I didn’t realize it at the time (and THANK YOU to Carrie Fisher for her brave stand and tweets about aging this week: if you haven’t heard about it, look it up. She said what we all needed to hear/read. But I digress.) I may not be either now, but I’m still me.

Why should I wait to wear the cute top and hat or the high tops I love or the new dress I bought for an occasion I didn’t end up going to or… whatever.

I’m glad I decided not to wait on the hair. Now, after a session with an expert, gifted stylist, I feel free.

I’m taking this a step further, as well. I listened to a bunch of TED talks last night so maybe I’m especially inspired (that and picking up a Real Simple magazine today that declares on the cover “THIS YEAR IS FOR YOU” that I can’t wait to start reading.) Maybe I’m just a little more revved up today than usual but I am thinking that I am going to apply this “not waiting UNTIL” thing to other parts of my life, especially creatively.

I’m not going to wait until I feel like I can write another novel to write anything at all. I’m going to write what comes to me, as it comes to me. Lots of flash and poetry in my future.

I’m not going to wait to paint until I have an idea what the painting is going to become. I’m going to get out the colors, the brushes, and the canvas, and I am going to play.

I’m not going to wait until I know where my weird little crocheted mini-blankets will go to keep making them. I worry a little that no one will want them (I make them in a simple square pattern of necessity or I can’t crochet much at all, and it’s one that even the animal shelters are reluctant to take because there are spaces between the stitches) but I’m going to go on with them anyway. I like this size because it’s a good one for toddlers to carry around for comfort (it’s not meant to be a blanket for warmth, really) and once upon a life gone by, they were well received by some pretty cool charities. So I’m hoping maybe they can be, again.

I’m not going to wait until I can finish a whole book to start reading a new one. I’m not going to force myself to finish a new one before I can go back to an old one for comfort if my mood calls for it.

I’m not going to wait until there’s an occasion to drink my favorite tea.

TODAY is an occasion.

Being alive is an occasion.

Being aware, definitely an occasion.

We have no promise of a future, tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. So why wait UNTIL when UNTIL may be somewhere you never get to—or that you waste a lot of valuable time you could have enjoyed DOING THINGS on the way as you make your way there? If you get there, great! If not, what might you have missed along the way if you hadn’t just gotten on with things in the meantime?

If my father’s recent passing has done anything for me, (it’s done a lot TO me, but now I’m talking about FOR me) it has once again reinforced something that I hadn’t really wanted to think about for a long while; the permanence of death. Whatever you may or may not believe about an afterlife no one can deny that our days on this earth are limited (no religious debates, those are off-limits here in my safe-space. Please and thank you) so we need to make the most of them.

Especially for someone who grapples often with trying to see the value of their own life through the skewed lens of Bipolar Disorder, this is something significant. It’s not just words. It’s action.

For me, renewing my commitment to making the most of today and not waiting UNTIL began with shedding several inches of hair and what feels like a huge weight from my shoulders.

What are you waiting UNTIL to do?

Please, don’t wait. Start today. Right now. Even if all you do it grab the nearest scrap of paper and write down the thing you’ve been waiting to do, do that. Think about something you’ve been putting off; as small as trying a new shade of lipstick or as huge as undertaking a creative project or moving or… you fill in the blank.

Then ask yourself if there isn’t some small way that you can move forward toward that goal today, right now. This hour, this minute, this second. Can you start doing research? Can you order a book on the subject? Can you sign up for a class? Can you ask someone for guidance?

What would you do if you weren’t waiting UNTIL?

If you think about it, you might be surprised just how much you’re putting off because you don’t think you’re perfect enough yet to go after it. Now I’ve got to tell you something you might not want to hear; none of us will ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try, because we are human. Humans come in a wide array of beautifully flawed variations.

Celebrate the differences, don’t be paralyzed by the imperfections. They’re what make us real.

And if I’ve learned anything as I approach my 45th birthday later this year, it is that I want to become as real as I can be.

Don’t wait UNTIL.

Do it today.

Next thing I’m not going to wait to do is have that cup of tea I mentioned earlier.

I wish we could share a pot of it together.