1% Better. A Starting Point. 11/02/21.
I am on the ground. Metaphorically, not physically. Lying down with my hands on my face. My mojo is gone.
This reminds me of a moment in high school for which I have this semi-vivid memory. After Saturday swim practice, our team would head over to Bob Evans. For those unfamiliar, Bob Evans is a white-collar dinner and — as you might have guessed — the median age of a B/E at any given time is well into the 60s. At Bob Evans, one could order what their wait-staff determined to be a Carmel ‘latte’ which was just coffee, milk, and a ton of carmel syrup over whipped cream. In 2021 this would both send me into a state of panic and, more likely than not, diabetic shock. But, as my aged 16 pallet was not well developed outside of [insert chain restaurant] I thought these lattes were pretty friggin’ good. So good, in fact, that I one time drank 4 of them in a one-hour sitting. I distinctly remember needing to study for my chemistry midterm that particular Saturday, which was my particular academic Achilles heel.
Shortly after arriving home — with copious amounts of caffeine and sugar coursing thru my veins — I attempted to study. And, quickly, I found out that I could not study. The material was hard, and I was purely unable to focus. I could read a line or try to study a concept over & over & over & over again, but nothing would stick. And, like a tea kettle, I felt the pressure start to build. Unit analysis was Greek to me, and the pressure built. Significant figures were foreign, and the pressure built. Stoichiometry faced me, and the pressure was too much. I was ready to explode. I spiraled out of control, physically overheating, and re-focused my efforts on cleaning my room as a temporary distraction. In that moment, pretty basic chemistry principles seemed like a 40-foot wall; not only did I not know how to climb this wall, I didn’t even know where to start. And it was infuriating.
So what? Get to the point, Adams.
That’s how I feel now. Like I’m staring down a 40 foot wall that I have no clue how to climb, or even remotely know where to start. It’s so intimating, so daunting to look at that I just want to scream. Scream, and do anything but climb the wall. Because I’m at the base, chalk on my hands, pacing back and forth waiting for a Dues Ex Machina to bail me out. I don’t feel this way all the time, and I don’t even feel it most of the time; but I do feel it some of the time, and this makes it feel like it’s nonstop.
My wall is greatness, and the base of my wall is mediocrity. And I’ve spent too long at the base looking upward these past few months. And the longer I wait, the (seemingly) higher that wall gets. My wall is being better tomorrow than I am today, and for all too long I haven’t been able to say that I’m accomplishing this climb day-in and day-out. I am simply being, filled with complacency and relying on external motives acting as facades proving my worth. But, no matter how much I may argue otherwise, I know that my worth is not determined by a job. I am more than my career.
I’m not sure if my intent while writing this was to puke out my thoughts, to simply bitch about the situation, or to motivate myself for a call-to-action. In truth, it’s probably a little bit of the lot. And that’s ok. But eventually, I need to stop looking up and start that climb. Because, no matter how intimidating that wall looks, nothing is going to change from the bottom.
So here’s my call-to-action: be 1% better tomorrow. At what? At anything. Something big, something small — it doesn’t matter — but it needs to be measurable.
*This was, mostly, a spitting out of words. But I haven’t written a while, and I value progress over perfection. This is the start to my getting 1% better.