Friday, November 13, 2009

The Yoda Mantra

One of my favorite quotes from the Star Wars franchise is the famous line uttered by Yoda; "do, or do not, there is no try." And so it goes for me. I tend to be an all in type of person in most everything I do. Either I'm super organized or just let stuff run to shambles - it seems there is no in-between. My kids laugh when I'm reading something (anything). I literally dive in the other world of that written piece and do not hear or see anything going on around me. I'm all in. I guess there must be a medium for me in some things, it's just that when it comes to doing a project, or STARTING a project, I am either all in or just not doing it at all.

And so I have a dilemma. I've been asked to volunteer time and talent for a worthwhile organization. It's pro bono work, and could be a nice challenge for myself. My problem is the exact type of work I have been asked to do is not what I'd like to be doing for this group. There are some things I could do that I'd like to be doing for them. I did sort of tell them this - but not perhaps strong enough. And I like the people involved so much it's really difficult for me to not go all in on the project and do what they need me for. Lately I have begun to be more protective of my time though. Not sure how to tell them that I cannot do for them what they want. Yikes. I have always been a "do or do not" person. Why is it so hard for me to say no when a person asks for help? And I think my husband is right when he points out that why would I want to put that amount of time in and not be paid? Shouldn't I just find a job if that's what I want?

Problem is, I don't want just any old job. I want to be all in on a project all right, but I want the project to be MY project. Don't I owe it to myself to try that which I have now set out to do - write? If I get deeper into this pro bono work I know myself - my own needs and project will once again be relegated to last on the list. I'm sick of being last on the list. At 50, I am beginning to think maybe it's my turn. So no, I don't want to go work at Williams-Sonoma (as my daughter suggests) or substitute teach (as my son suggests). I want to live the Yoda mantra, but I want to guard my time more fastiduously than I have in the past. It will mean saying no sometime. It's gonna be really hard for me, but I'm ready. I'm just not all that good at letting people down. I hate that part.

I have to find a way to balance the all in or all out mentality. Couldn't I carve my time up to accomodate both? Or will it just end up being another one of those things that just ends up being an excuse to not get on with what I really want, to not face up to the work of the thing? I really want this time to be different - to have some tangible proof to myself that I can focus and write. This business of proving oncself is exhausting. And it's only me that I'm trying to prove anything to.

Today I saw an interview with the author of the Twilight books. She had a vivid dream that she awoke with. Turned out to be chapter 13 of her first book. Never had written so much as a short story before. And JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame was riding along on a train when supposedly the whole of that series hit her. If it can happen to others, why not to me too? The difference between them and me is that they had the balls to write down their ideas. It seems to me my choices are really no choice at all. Do or do not - there is no try. Time to do.

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