I have made this drawing for a lot of people recently:
Friends. Clients. People in kind of a blue funk right now, frustrated with what seems like zero forward motion for too, too long.
What's funny is that I didn't realize I'd been drawing it for myself, really, until tonight, while on a call with The Youngster. He's known me for almost 10 years, and not only has he witnessed my seemingly unquenchable thirst for growth NOW, but has pretty much matched it, pang for pang. (There's a reason The Youngster and I hit it off as well and long as we did, and age-appropriateness was not it.)
Change. It happens a millimeter at a time, until it happens all at once.
Of course, it doesn't ever happen all at once; it's always happening incrementally, which is the big, fat, hairy, hoary secret of change. It's happening now. It was happening a second ago. It will be happening five seconds from now. It just seems like you look in the mirror one morning and aged 20 years overnight. (Or, in my case, pulled on your fat pants and gained 15 pounds overnight.)
You work and work and work and work and work and ONE DAY, you look up et voila! Your kitchen is remodeled!
Or you work and work and work and work and work and then ONE DAY, you can do the splits!
Or you work and work and work and work and work and then ONE DAY, you are making bank. Or have 10,000 readers. Or can answer a query for directions in a town you don't call home, and in fluent Portugese!
For me, my work has consisted of a few very specific things these past several years. I've devoted crazy amounts of time to Nerdmasters, for example. To writing. To, believe it or not, farting around on the internet.
I've spent countless hours talking, with friends, with paid therapeutic professionals, with aforementioned Nerdmasters. I've worked extra hard on the communicating (only fitting, given my handle) and on the figuring-out of things. It's made catching up with people I haven't seen in 5 or 10 years both very easy ("So what have you been doing?"/"Nothing.") and very hard ("So what have you been doing?"/"Nothing.") I don't have millions of dollars or thousands of square feet of real estate or even 1.2 kids to shove in front of anyone, some quantifiable proof of growth.
All the same, I know it's there. Because the writing comes so easily now, and it didn't always. (If you don't believe me, read the archives.) Because answers, or ways to find answers, come so easily now, and they didn't always. (If you don't believe me, talk to my shrink, or my friends, or my colleagues or clients.)
Someday, I will write some of the stories of people I've known who looked up and realized their lives had slipped away while they had their metaphoric head in a figurative book. For now, I'll just say, "hang on."
If you're on the path and it seems to be winding especially slowly, hang on.
If you're moving forward, you swear to Christ you're moving forward, and it seems like you're on the George Jetson dogwalking treadmill, hang on.
If you're climbing and it seems you've gained no ground...if you're stretching and it feels like you'll never reach...if you're pulling on what feels like an endless rope...hang on, hang on, hang on.
Change happens incrementally until it happens all at once.
And once the "all at once" happens, you realize that's just an increment, too. A more obvious increment, but an increment, all the same.
One foot in front of the other. One step at a time.
Love. Taxes. Life.
One incremental step at a time...
Image a POS graph drawn quickly by yours truly in Photoshop. This post is dedicated to The Youngster, a slightly belated birthday gift. Thank you to him, and to all my wonderful peeps who have helped me with my incremental growth.