“Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein
I wish momentum and motivation flowed as freely as wine used to around here. That we could top up our reserves to brimming fullness and just keep going as easily as the desire to begin possessed us.
Starting is easy, persistence is an art.
Me starting anything is basically like driving off the lot on New Car Day. Intoxicated by that leathery new car smell and the spotlessness of it all, I pull out of the dealership pretty sure I’m driving the Brad Pitt of cars even if it looks like Willem Dafoe hungover on a Monday morning.
It’s shiny, it’s new, and I am Angelina Jolie.
I’ll look for reasons to drive it and excuses to use it. I’ll go to places I never wanted to just so I can sink down behind the drivers wheel and discover all it’s shiny bells and whistles. The honeymoon lasts a few weeks, until I eventually stop noticing the fingerprints and dust. I stop treating it like a fragile new treasure and it becomes a tool instead of a trophy. It eventually stops being the Brad Pitt Of My Driveway and slowly becomes just another car that needs washing, gas and maintenance.
The clock eventually strikes twelve and my magical carriage, without fail, turns back into the pumpkin it always was.
The early days of newness are sexy. The exhilaration is in the takeoff, knowing you are headed somewhere. My challenge is always how to stay interested when we’re cruising through the air at 35,000 feet, forgetting the simple miracle that we’re among the birds and above the clouds.
You can take off in stormy weather where everything is grey and depressing, and before you know it, you’ve transcended the rain. And it’s there in that sky-high calm and comfort that you get used to the blue skies and sunshine.
But the storm is still there, right where you left it on the other side of your new high.
It’s easy to settle in and forget about the chance of turbulence ahead until it rattles you awake; a jolting reminder that you’re vulnerable and groundless. It’s easy to love flying when it’s smooth sailing. But what about when things get bumpy and the current you’re riding is riddled with pockets of surprises just waiting to make you fall?
I am the King of Incompletion, and my kingdom is cluttered with half realized dreams. I’m the plane that drops from the sky when the turbulence hits, instead of flying headlong through it to smoother skies. I’m the boy on the bike that stops pedalling and falls, forgetting it was my momentum that got me going in the first place.
I am never the tortoise, I am always the hare.
I launch ideas and ambitions as though from slingshots hard and fast to the heavens, forgetting that at least on this planet, what goes up almost always comes down (with the exception of gas prices and taxes). I relish in the excitement of those first powerful few minutes of flight, forgetting the inevitable arc that without a doubt always brings them back to earth.
I stare at the sunrise until I’m blind and end up missing the sunset.
This time I want to keep pedalling.
This time I want to temper the turbulence and feel the relief of finally flying on the other side.
This time I want to ride the inevitable arc of my good intentions through to the end, from launch to landing.
I want to keep moving, just above the clouds I broke through to get here in the first place, unafraid but aware that they’re still there where I left them.
I’m tired of how the weight of something half-done feels twice as heavy.
I’m tired of living with the ghosts of my abandoned aspirations, shackled to their phantom potential, long dead but still haunting me.
I want to learn how to linger after the lustre dulls, and how to persist when I want to pull back.
I want to drive my desires every day like I just drove off the lot, instead of parking them when the new car smell fades.
I want to embrace how the flight is more than just the takeoff, but the landing and all the turbulence in between, too.
I want to finish what I’ve started, and for a change, it isn’t my 3rd bottle of wine.
Giving up is the easiest thing in the world to do, and I’ve proven I can do it very well. For a change, I want to channel the strength to see things through. To persist and persevere. To come in for a landing more impressive than the launch. I want to leave my crown as King of Incompletion with all my half-done everythings, back in my half-life kingdom.
Well begun is half done.
I want to fly above the clouds as long as I can, but for once, finally get to where I wanted to go. Without turning around, and without the emergency landing. I want my impressive beginnings to stop getting deflated because of the slow leak in my momentum. I want to keep moving, so I can get there.
I want to finally get there, so I can stop carrying the weight of all the things I start and never finish, that are twice as heavy and more uncomfortable than carrying something well begun, and done.