Like Your Life Depends on It
" The only way you you ever get where you want to go is that you have to take a path. It's a dangerous path and most people want to take the safe path. The safe path leaves you stuck in quiet desperation almost every time. It's hell.
You have to plan [your way] out. The way you can change is you have to put aside enough money to give yourself a window. And then you have to have a plan. And you have to spend all your waking hours outside of whatever shit job you do planning your escape. You have to come to the realization very clearly that you fucked up you got yourself stuck so whatever you're doing, you have to do it like your life depends on it.
Whatever time that you have, you have to attack like you're trying to save the world. You're trying to save your life. You don't want to drown. In that one and a half hours a day that you have to [create] - goddamn - you better be caffeinated and motivated. You got to go. You got to get after it. And you got to have discipline that's most people don't have those things.
Most people don't understand what it's like to really go for something and to know that the consequences of not doing that are horrific."
- JOE ROGAN Episode 1299 ~ 1 hr 4 min
The quote above is from a clip of Joe Rogan’s interview with Annie Jacobsen. It’s episode 1299 and began a little before 1 hour and 4 minutes. It’s a sidebar, not at all the meat of their 3 hour conversation. He’s talking about whatever it is that you want in life. That thing gets you going. It is inherently creative work for most people, something that engages their brain, challenges them, and follows their interest. For most people reading this, it is literal creating. Specifically, art.
This quote has ben in my mind on repeat for weeks. Especially as I obsessively use all of my otherwise free time to work. I added “create” and I took some of what I consider to be extras in the transcript out.
I wish I had stayed on my art with this intensity from the beginning. Through my very first consulting gig after college, through working at a gallery, through the corporate job, through home renovations, and busy times selling real estate. I have no regrets about having done these things. They’ve all brought valuable insight and experience. All those little steps I took with my art added up but there were gaps of years in there where I didn’t paint at all. If creativity is something foreign to you, it’s hard to understand. When coming back to it after a break, it’s like a hazy veil has been lifted and everything in life is more clear. It’s hard to believe how I could take so much time away once I’m in it.
Most importantly, I don’t want to look back in a year, or five, or ten and think “I wish I had stayed on it with more intensity” again. That’s why I’m back at it, sometimes with more time than others but now I am always finding ways to chip away at it. That’s why, despite how much I love my single-sitting paintings, I’ve moved to slower creation and oil paintings. They allow me to chip away with greater ease and realistic timelines.
I’m a believer that there’s a season for it all. I’m also a believer in slow, incremental progress snowballing. Progress is slow and then sudden. “Just keep on, Kait. Just keep on.” I whisper to myself.
My “job” at the moment is Mom. My plan has always ben to take a year or two to mostly just be with my baby. It’s not the shit job Joe is talking about. It comes with literal shit though. Pretty soon here, it’ll be time to start generating regular income again. (If you know anyone in the Dallas area looking to buy or sell a house, that’s a big part of my “regular income” and I’d love to help Merchantdavison.com.)
Even now, I’m laying in bed with my son. It’s late, and my mind is churning. So, I’m getting this down on my phone while his hand reaches over, checking that I’m still here. Squeezing it in every moment I can. Attacking it. Saving the world. All for my art. In the time I’m not snuggling and giggling, I’m putting on blinders. I’m creating. I’m getting this vision and beauty that is begging to come out of me into the world for others to enjoy. All so I don’t have to go get that job that makes you feel like you’re downing, and show my kiddo there’s this other beautiful, brave way to live.
The time I spend with him is precious. Watching the wheels turn as his little brain grasps new things, watching his little eyes sparkle with charm, hearing that infectious giggle. It’s the best. I want him to know he can create a life filled with whatever it is he is driven to do. This path we’ve chosen, it’s scary at times. It’s often unstable. It is worth it.
My message to myself 10 years ago, and I guess my message to him: if you have dreams of working for yourself, starting a business, or living off the creativity that comes from you, start attacking now. That incremental progress will add up. A little step here, a bigger one there, a few over this way. Before you know it, you’ll look up and you will be so much farther along than if you had let that fear and those excuses stand in your way of taking the first steps. And the more you can get in before kids arrive, the easier it will be! I never realized how much available time I had until it became full with all these new wonderful responsibilities.
So here I go to attack it like my life depends on it! Because the life I want does.