Say Yes…but not to everything and everyone!
I was always one of those kids who was never quite satisfied. I wasn’t much of a watcher and always wanted to be doing the things that looked interesting to me – music, travel, drawing. Then, as I got older, the list just grew longer and wider – learning to play the violin, scuba diving, mountain climbing, cooking, on and on and on.
I’d see a show on underwater sea excavation and I’d think “man, what would that be like – I wish I could try it” and then read about someone who overcame a major adversity and think “what is my purpose in life? I need to learn to speak Spanish way better.”
I am restless by nature and every time I would have one of these epiphanies, my wife would say “I’ll add it to the list”. Who can really blame her, I guess. It’s hard to be around someone who seems so unfocused.
Truth is that I am very focused which is where the restlessness comes in. I don’t just want to try new things but learn to master them. It’s just not possible.
The two things I have always done – writing and music – took a back seat during my marriage, and for the most part, for a good reason – my kids were young and between being a husband, father, employee, homeowner and at one point, returning student – it just wasn’t feasible. But there were other reasons, too, and as my marriage was, shall we say, “expiring it’s contract”, I started to more passionately return to those things that made me not only feel good about myself but were inherently a part of who I am. I took it to another level when I convinced myself to open up to new experiences and start by saying “yes” rather than finding reasons why it might not be a good idea.
I still do that today and if it were not for that, I would not have had some of the amazing experiences and friends that I do today. For that, I am eternally grateful. However, and in my comedy world, in particular, I have said “yes” perhaps to too many things. The truth is when you say “yes” to something, you are usually saying “yes” to someone (at least one person) and that is not to be taken lightly because, at some point, you will be dependent on that person or vice versa.
With limited time, limited energy and unlimited ambition, it has occurred to me that I have to find the balance between who I became as married person – just a reflection of who I was – and being a “renaissance man” of sorts who can dabble in may different endeavors at once.
It’s a difficult thing to do for someone like me because, if I am going to be honest, I always had this fear of “missing out”. This is crazy making. If you’re living – really living and not always planning – you are not missing out. Good or bad, you are experiencing life in all its messiness. These past two years have been messy, too. They have also been transformational – or are in the process of being transformational. But, to be valuable, I have to start to really identify not only who I want to be but also what I am willing to put my efforts behind because being all things to all people and putting your all into everything – it’s both not possible and it is also a shortchanging to you and others.
Some people have the opposite problem – committing. I try to keep my word when I say something. However, given time constraints and just life in general, there is only so much that one can expect to squeeze in to a day without succumbing to the inevitable letdown.
There’s probably a reason the famous Nike phrase is “Just Do It” and not “Just Do Them”.
Until next time,
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