Next week will be less busy

I’ve been meaning to start writing again for a while now, but I felt like I never had the time. In a sense, that’s the truth: I never felt like it was the right moment, so I kept waiting and postponing.

There is a joke that says: adulthood is thinking “next week will be less busy” until you die. It’s funny because it’s true — but it’s also quite sad. And it’s not only about work, because life gets in the way in many other ways.

I’m not going to go into details, but the last few months have been a rollercoaster as a close family member has been dealing with a medical situation. It involved a lot of driving, seeing multiple doctors, a one-week stay away from home while a complicated surgery was performed; and amidst all that, all the practicalities of day-to-day life with the constant background of the pain and issues that comes from them. I even stopped posting on social media, something that (perhaps not surprisingly, but that’s another story) most people didn’t even notice.

At every step along the way, I kept telling myself: I’ll start writing again when this next milestone is reached and I can breathe. Yet no milestone ever coincided with being done, quite the opposite. Suffice it to say that the surgery solved one problem, but opened up a whole new Pandora’s box. We’re now looking at weeks, or likely months, of more appointments with doctors, therapies, and whatnot. And of course, other things in life don’t stop. I still have to work, buy groceries, walk the dog, and handle everything else as it comes along.

As I bookmarked the millionth webpage I will never have time to properly read through, I realized one thing that should have been obvious all along: the perfect conditions may just never come together. Let’s be realistic: all these family issues aside, it’s extremely unlikely that every single piece of the puzzle of life will fall into place at the same time. And even if it did, it probably wouldn’t last long enough for me to be able to write all I have in my mind, or take all the photos I have planned, or whatever it is that I eventually want to do.

It seems clear in hindsight, even trivial. But it’s one of those things that’s easy to lose track of. Chalk it up to my being a perfectionist, maybe, or to an innate (and pointless) sense of guilt whenever I do something I enjoy. Even then, though, I know that I’m not ignoring what ought to be done for others, nor am I putting pleasure before duty. So if I do enjoy myself in a rare moment of downtime, where’s the harm? Besides, who knows how things will be in the future? We tell ourselves that next week will be less busy, but it never is. By extension, I may only have a little time for myself now, but at least I do have that little time. Why postpone enjoyable things indefinitely, if it doesn’t harm anyone and doesn’t distract me from what I’m supposed to be doing?

Furthermore, and I’m perfectly aware that this is a little morbid and fatalistic but bear with me here, who knows what the future will bring. These last few months have really gotten me thinking about how little time we have in general. It’s another cliché, of course it is. But the thing about clichés is that they are true, and sometimes you need to figure them out for yourself.

I’ve always been one who saves up, be it money in the bank, ammo in a video game, or projects to work on. Saving up, at every turn, because it’s better to have it for later if you don’t need it now. It’s a good approach and it’s served me well in times of emergency. But I’ve also denied myself many things and experiences in the name of “this is not the right time”. Yet, how do I know when the right time is? There’s no discrete amount of rightness, rather an infinite spectrum. And you get used to it, so it’s harder and harder to let go and loosen up.

I sometimes joke that “at any rate I have to die” when I do something somewhat hedonistic, whether that’s eating another chocolate croissant or buying a drone. It’s a joke, but lately I’ve been giving it some serious thought. I don’t mean this to be creepy, but then again it’s my stream of consciousness, so who cares? The point is: it’s exactly like that, at any rate I have to die. Again, it’s a cliché, but it’s a whole different experience when you reach that conclusion independently, instead of just reading it on a motivational poster.

I do have a finite number of days left in my life. I did start dying the moment I was born. Those are facts, and they apply to everyone, like it or not. Now I do not dwell in the delusion that I’ll accomplish something great that will change the course of humanity, nor that my own life is special to others in any way. But it is true that I only have so many moments to do something I enjoy, or something good, ideally both. It’s not even a matter of “I just wanna live while I’m alive” (Bon Jovi), because “there [are] worse things than dying” (Eric Bogle).

I’ve wasted many useful moments so far, and have no doubt, I will be wasting many more. Dealing for many years with certain things I don’t want to talk about is part of the reason, and I’m working on that. But my congenital sense of guilt? Well, I’m working on getting rid of it entirely. I may not be popular with others, and that’s fine. I just need to be popular with myself. I’m the one who’s always with myself (Max Pezzali), and I’m the one who needs to take care of myself. That means also taking the time to do something for myself, whether it’s writing, or taking photos, or recording a podcast. Even if time is limited, even if I can’t do it as well as I wish. A little is a slightly better than nothing, better than waiting for the perfect time, and much better than regretting the wait.

I look back at the things I was doing a few years ago, and I feel like I slowly lost track of those creative endeavors. Life got in the way, that’s for sure, but I also progressively distanced myself from them, as if growing up — or perhaps growing old — meant sacrificing myself in the name of some greater good. “I’ll do them when things get better” is a honest-to-god approach, but it also ultimately leads to nothing. And I can’t afford to lose myself even more.

I want to write, take pictures, record podcasts, try painting, make a movie, hack machines, create things. Not to be popular or famous, or god forbid rich; rather, just because I enjoy doing those things. And that’s all the reason I need, really, especially as I become more and more aware that time may be infinite in the universe, but is extremely scarce for a person.

So here’s the plan. I’m making no commitments, because life can and will get in the way. I’m not even giving myself a tentative schedule. But I’ll try to at least start writing more often, and hopefully post whatever I write on here. They may my thoughts and streams of consciousness, rather than “articles” or something useful. They may be rants. They may be politically incorrect and extremely biased. I don’t know and, to be completely honest, I don’t even care. Nor do I care whether one or a million people will read them, or even nobody. That’s not the reason I’m doing it. I also want to start picking up my photography again and doing a million other things I’ve put on hold until now, but that’s a whole different story.

And if the end result is not perfect, then who cares? I’ll try again and fail better: “I know the streets are cruel, but I’ll enjoy the ride today.” (Dream Theater)