One freakin’ step

When you were ten years old, you thought 30 years old was a gazillion years away, that the age was ancient and that there was no way you were going to get there. And then, one day, you woke up and realized it was your 30th birthday. How had you gotten here? Certainly not beamed through time in a parallel timeline like Star Trek. No, you simply lived out every day. Some days were the best and others were certainly the worst. Yet there you were, getting out of bed every day because you had to.

Maybe, just maybe, you completely stayed in bed by choice in the ensuing years between 10 and thirty. Sure, some times you were sick and you were forced to stay in bed. And you really wanted to feel better so you could get out of bed and do whatever it is you needed to do. There’s a peculiar point in this. When you are forced to do something you don’t want to do, it sure tastes and smells bad. Like meat that’s long since forgotten in the freezer and why the heck isn’t the Arm n Hammer doing it’s job? That white junk is supposed to suck up all this malodorous stank, yet it eventually gets overwhelmed. The little yellow box just can’t take it any more because something has finally run it down by doing its thing one tiny slice at a time.

Take that bad smell. How did it get smelly? Did it smell instantly when you brought it home from the grocery store? No, of course not. Because otherwise you would not have bought it. And, if you did purchase it knowing full well that it smelled bad, you have either a defective nose or some very strange things going on. That’s the subject of other blogs, not this one.

That now bad smelling meat got noticeable one day at a time, slowly. And likely with you totally forgetting about it. Yet, there it is. Completely enveloping your fridge in rotting stench. Now you are forced to take care of it. Again, this is something you don’t want to do, yet you are forced to because you don’t want it ruining the rest of the contents of the chiller and, eventually, the entire fridge. Imagine how much money would go to putrefaction if that smelly meat ruined everything, even the invincible ketchup and mustard. If you took the time to add it up, that would really blow your mad tachometer because you see that something that did its best to do something, aka rotting, one day at a time just became a bigger deal and now it has to be dealt with.

It happened one day at a time, one hour at a time, one second at a time.

That is the same with you.

No, hopefully you don’t smell like rotting meat. Take a shower you doof. In fact, if you smell like rotting meat, you probably better go to the hospital because that nasty gangrene is just about to turn your whatever into an amputation and you just don’t want to go there. Bad news. Again, something you don’t want to do.

Now that you’ve taken care of your wretched gangrene mess, you look at yourself. How did you get to this point? That’s right, if you didn’t get it before – one day at a time. How about that homework you’ve been putting off? The book you’ve been meaning to read? Like all that entire series of the Three Musketeers, all 5 books of it. Did you even know there were five?

While watching fail videos on YouTube, though entertaining, you could have taken that 10 minutes you wasted watching dumb people do dumber things with shaky grainy video, you might just have learned something. Enriched yourself. Made yourself just the tiniest bit more intelligent, well rounded (whatever that means), and maybe even have the guts to brush the hand of the cute girl who just walked by. And you know what, you’ll actually have something interesting and intelligent to talk with her about. Maybe she likes Jude Devereux and hates French authors but would certainly like to go to France. Or, more likely, Italy.

But that’s not the point. Don’t get all excited because you think you’re going to woo a girl because you read a translation of a book in French. It’s just not the same. If you were really slick, you would have spent your time learning French, read about D’Artagnan in French, and then been super sexy because you’d be able to order that French meal in French at a French restaurant and have your date go much better, not because you’re buying a French dinner but rather you’re showing the girl you bother taking the time to learn something, better yourself, and show her you might just take the time to get to know her. But, the only way you got that date in the first place is because you knew French.

And how did you know French? Yes, again, by taking a daily step. A single step, and learning that first French word, bonjour. D**n, there you go! You just learned one word. What does it mean? Look, if you can spend endless hours watching entertaining but meaningless videos on YouTube, you can certainly take less than the fifteen seconds it takes to open a new tab, copy “bonjour in english” into google, click search – yes you have to do that – and find out what it means.

Now, you have just learned a language. Granted you only have a tiny part of the few hundred words you need to communicate. What was that? Only a few hundred words? That’s right – you’d be amazed how far in the world you can get with just a few hundred words. And how did you learn those few hundred? By starting with the first.

You took a step. Now, was that very difficult? NO! And, if it is, you should see your doctor because you’re having trouble walking. And for those unable to walk, move yourself one foot forward, however you can get that done. And if you’re bed-ridden, roll over. And if you can’t do that, as the person who is taking care of you to shift your head slightly. There, you have now done it, you have taken that tiny little step.

Yes, I know, it’s only a figurative thing. How many texts do you send per day? Do you know how long that really adds up to? How about those meaningless web surfing sessions? If you only tossed in one more French word search, say “merci”, you would have increased your knowledge of French by 100%. Doubled. Wouldn’t you like to double your income in fifteen seconds? I sure would. But are you going to do that by following those 364 spam messages you received about instant, free home income with no work what so ever? No selling? Just get ten of your friends to sign up…

No. It doesn’t work like that. You have to take that one, singular step. Heck, maybe you think French is stupid and French people are stupid. Fine. Learn “hola” and “gracias”. That’ll sure come in useful if you’re ordering a taco. Or, if you want to be really cool, learn “konichiwa” and “arigato”. Are you going to be able to speak with someone on the street for very long with those two words? No, probably not. But, you just communicated with someone from another country and shown them that you aren’t such an American clown, unable to learn anything, ranking at the bottom of every measure except prison rolls and bad education results.

All you now have done is taken two steps. Holy heck, that won’t even get you to the refrigerator to take care of that bad meat. You’ll need a few more. But, if you’ve already taken two, what the heck is the problem with a third? Even if you face plant ending in an elegant scorpion fall because you failed to note your untied shoe laces, you still moved forward.

Get up and take care of that rotten meat, look up those two words, then go back to the stupid YouTube video. But know that you’ve just expanded your world.

Doubled, in fact.

Up to here, I’ve written 1395 words. My book, Antarctic Tears, is expected to be 80,000 words. I just typed 1.74% of my book in word count in half an hour, if the above words counted. I don’t type as fast as I used to but that’s another matter. But, string together another 28.6 hours and I’d have 80,000 words cranked out, give or take. That’s not even a freakin’ work week. Unless you live in France.

Granted, my book would suck because typing stream of consciousness will make a mess of a book, but at least I’d have something down on paper that I could add to, shuffle around, and make less sucky. And how did I get to the point of having a small but measurable percentage of my book done? That’s right, I stopped watching stupid youtube videos, which I laughed when the guy scorpion fell off his skate board, and sat down to this jazzy Macbook Retina and started clicking keys. That was it.

Nothing grandiose or amazing. No comet from afar flew past, lit up the room and I was inspired. No, only I, from the inside, did it. I want to see my book in print. How am I going to get there? That’s right – sitting down and typing that crap out. You probably don’t want to write a book or cross Antarctica dragging 300 pounds of supplies. But, there IS something you want to do.

Put exactly one minute into it. Since you’ve put in zero thus far, that’s an incalculably vast improvement to what you did before. Why is that? Because it’s that whole division by zero thing. My math PhD buddy can explain it better but most anyone wouldn’t understand the explanation anyway. The time would be better spent, that one paltry minute, in moving yourself forward to your dream of getting X done.

X = whatever you wanted to get done.

Go do it. Now. Stop reading this blog post and do it. Then, come back to the blog for more motivating.

Take the step

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Author: Aaron

Aaron Linsdau is a photographer.

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