I lack it.
This is not to be confused with drive or initiative, which I have plenty of. But what’s the point of having fuel when you don’t know where to drive the car?
Having “focus” is something that I’ve always struggled with. Either I feel I have too many options, fear that I’m not making the most efficient use of my time, or am not sure what takes priority at that moment.
During middle school in art classes, I always hated the feeling of staring at my blank sheet of paper. I was excited to draw, but overcome with the sudden pressure to excel at whatever I decided to put down. To COMMIT. What on earth am I supposed to fill this page up with? Luckily, pencils come with erasers. I’d spend so much time painstakingly thinking about what original and unique masterpiece I would create, that by the time the teacher announced we only have 10 minutes left, I end up hastily sketching in my default drawings: an ocean, sun, and birds. Maybe some clouds.
As I got older, it felt the same way whenever “essay time” rolls around. The same dreaded blank page with a blinking cursor. Oh my god, what the *&% am I going to write to fill up three pages? Of course, my vocabulary had matured with my age.
I think of my life as somewhat of a blank page; each moment, day, or year brings the opportunity to create something. But that freedom comes a with feeling of pressure- to make it perfect the first time around. And that time isn’t something that you can take back if you change your mind later. And then the “should” game begins in my head – a terrible game to play solo because none of the choices help you make a decision.
Should I stay in this job for another year or two, or gain experience in another field? Should I spend my time taking another art class or focus on creating photography projects? Should I spend my summer travelling or stay at home to build relationships with my family? Should I practice writing or spend more time reading about other writers? Should I continue to train for marathons or pick up a new sport? SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD…
And I’ve realized that the answer is not necessarily one or the other, but rather refining the focus on just a few. And as much as I like to think that I can do everything or attempt to (thus part of the rationale behind what this blog is about), I can’t. Not everyone can be a Renaissance man or woman.
And if I can learn to accept the reality that in my life – in this moment or in the next year or two, there could be hundreds of different scenarios that can play out, I CAN ONLY CHOOSE ONE. And if I choose wrong, is it really the end of the world? No, I just move on and try again. And strangely enough, there’s a sense of freedom in limiting myself – to focus on the few things in my life worth savoring. It’s a huge relief to know that the mistakes, eraser marks and all, are just part of this “blank page” anyway.