Look back sometime

I have not written in a while for two reasons: the first is that I have my head down in a very cool project with a client, and still working full time on building my new company nibnut. I tend to isolate myself when the crunch happens, (not good – working on that) and that means I have less inspiration for blog posts, not to mention fewer contacts with my muses, and less time to write them. And I don’t want to blog just for the sake of it, I want to feel I have something meaningful to say. So if that means a month long hiatus, then so be it. What pulled me from isolation this time, are my thoughts about working hard, and getting stressed and depressed.

When I am building something, or working toward a goal, especially if I’m stressed-out doing it, I tend to become obsess with what’s left to do. I keep looking ahead, and especially if things don’t go as planned, it’s easy to get depressed and discouraged because I see the end goal getting farther and farther instead of closer. Or because it’s overwhelming to see everything that’s left to do. And I definitely do not enjoy – let alone feel or live – the present moment. But most importantly, I completely forget the past, what came before. It’s in our nature, it seems, to quickly forget. We become blasé with what came before, because we know it, we know what happened, how it ended. There’s no mystery left. We are all so focused on the future: it can be because we fear it, it can be because we pine for it, or because the unknown excites us. And yet, its little brother “the past” has so much to give us…

Over the week-end, in that funk of mine, I met with a couple of friends whom I had not seen in a while. (thank goodness this was planned months in advance or else, in the state I was, I probably would have declined the invitation) In the natural exchange of news that happens between friends, I went all the way back to when I started nibnut, and told them all that had happened since. And you know, laying out my story out there like that, it made me feel good. For a moment, I completely stopped thinking about the mountain of work in front of me, and how I was late on a project and all that, and instead focused on everything that had happened in the last few months. The good stuff made me feel great of course: small victories and rewards along the road. But the bad stuff is also great, I find, because it reminded me that I “survived”, I came through. It made me feel tough and resilient. Made me feel proud that I overcame these hurdles. Just talking about the past got me a little emotional boost, and I felt a bit better already. But at some point, I needed to come back to the present, and start looking in front of me again. How could I better deal with the future, when it is uncertain or stressful? How could I come back and focus on the present?

Driving back home, I caught Stewart McLean’s Vinyl Café on CBC (I’m a HUGE fan, dont’ get me started!) and he was relating how he sat near a fountain at lunch one day, and started talking to people making wishes. And it occurred to him that even though you are not supposed to say your wish out loud, it’s actually the best way to see it come true. Even if you just say it out loud to yourself. And I think that’s a great lesson: just as important as it is to look back once in a while, and see where I came from, I think it’s just as important to state my goals and dreams and wishes out loud. And as often. Remind myself where I am going, what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. As I said, in the stressful and busy present, I completely forget about everything else. And that, in the end, is what depresses me: when I forget the journey.

The present is punctual, it’s just a fleeting moment. However I feel right now, whatever’s happening right now, it’s not forever: it wasn’t always like this, and it won’t always be like this in the future either. So when I feel crappy, I try to remind myself it’ll pass. And when I feel happy, I try to remind myself to soak it in, because it might not be there always. Nothing hugely original, but it also needs to be said often.