So. I told myself at the beginning of 2022 that I would update this blog once every other week. And yet here it is, 1:10am on a Saturday morning with a post due in less than 7 hours, and I haven’t written anything.
Now, you may be thinking that I must have procrastinated. Two weeks have elapsed since the last post and I haven’t even begun the next? Textbook procrastination.
But honestly, that’s not it.
You see, I’ve been kicking butt since January 1st. Something about entering the calendar year where I’ll turn 30 made me realize that I need to put up or shut up. To go after the things I want to be, or decide that they’re never going to happen. To act, or admit I’m full of crap. And so far, I’ve been acting.
I’ve lost almost 10 pounds. I haven’t missed a day of Duolingo. I’ve been going to daily mass regularly. I’ve been on top of replying to texts and emails. I’ve made time for my friends, and I’ve gotten more work done in the last 3 weeks than any 3-week period in recent memory. In fact, I’ve gotten so much work done that I’m starting to run out of things to do.
So procrastination isn’t my problem. But if that’s not it…what is?
One of my favorite things about truly great films is that you can usually remember at least 3 or 4 epic quotes, but then you go back and re-watch the movie and realize there are another 3 or 4 you completely forgot. That’s how it is with The Incredibles.
“Honey? Where’s my super suit?”
“I can’t lose you again! I’m not strong enough.”
“And when everyone’s super? No one will be.”
“You are Elastigirl! Pull yourself together…Go! Confront the problem! Fight! Win! And call me when you get back, Darling, I enjoy our visits.”
You probably remember most of those. (And if you don’t, go rewatch the movie you heathen.)
But there’s another line that I recently remembered, and my gosh is it good. It’s from Buddy, before he becomes Syndrome, addressing Mr. Incredible:
“You always, always say ‘be true to yourself,’ but you never say which part of yourself to be true to!”
Louder again for those in the back.
When I evaluate all of my passions and all of the things I want to spend time on…there are too many. My job. My family. My friends here in Denver. My friends not in Denver. This blog. Speaking of Movies. Volleyball. Dating. Writing a script. Travel. Hiking. Learning Spanish. They’re all a part of me. But which part of myself am I supposed to be true to?
If I had started this post a couple of weeks ago, I probably would have sat down to pray about the question. Oh, daily prayer should be on that list. But I didn’t. I started writing 12 minutes ago, and it’s now 1:22am. I’m supposed to go hiking tomorrow, and I can’t stay up too much longer. So I’d like to find a simple answer to the question.
And the reality is, there is a simple answer.
I had dinner with a buddy the other night, and one of the things that became so clear as I talked to him is that he’s paralyzed. He has a bunch of things he wants to try, but he doesn’t want to make a false step…so he’s doing nothing. It’s easy for me to see that’s the case with him because I’ve been that guy.
If you had tried to project the trajectory of my career when I was 21 – I had skipped college, interned for the (at the time) top Catholic film company in the country, quit because I thought I could do it on my own, designed websites until I could afford a camera, used that camera to create videos that people paid me for, used that track record to charge more, and by the time I was 20, raised $90,000 to make a documentary – you would have assumed that by 30 I would be a millionaire. Or have made a movie. Or I don’t know, done something more impressive than that doc. But I haven’t.
Because I was afraid of committing to anything. If I went all out on working on my Catholic film company and started to build up a wide client base, I would have been constructing a cage that never would have allowed me to branch out and make movies. But if I had written a script or fundraised for a movie, I would have been taking time away from the work that actually paid my bills and working on something that might ultimately have been a failure. Or a waste of time. But probably both.
So what did I do?
Enough work to get the job done. Enough to make my clients happy, finish their projects, and keep booking just enough to pay the bills.
But not enough to know where the next job was coming from. And definitely not enough to move towards a full-fledged company or actually making a movie I’m excited about.
Instead, I meandered. I paid my rent, but I didn’t build anything.
As I write this, I’m very aware of the fact that one of my clients might see it. (Hi!) But I believe in being radically honest. And the honest truth is that I spent most of my twenties not really committing to anything. And boy, do I regret it. I was the guy who didn’t want to make a false step, so I kept one foot on each path, and when I would finally reach the point where those two paths deviated, I would get stuck.
It hurts to admit. Being the guy who knows what he wants is foundational to who I am. But it’s the truth. Sometimes even the people who know exactly what they want…don’t know exactly what they want.
The good news is that I’ve learned my lesson. If I had just gone 100% towards building a company after The Third Way came out, maybe by now I’d have a company that makes me happy. Maybe I wouldn’t be happy, but I’d have something I could sell. Maybe it would have failed altogether, but I would have learned that I’m not cut out for entrepreneurship. Who knows. But I would have at least had an answer.
Because answers come from action, not from thinking about things, or “discerning,” as we Catholic like to say. If you act and it doesn’t work, at least a door is closed. If you get stuck between two options, you never actually rule out either of them. With that in mind, the lesson is clear:
So, right now, I am doing something. I’m running 100% towards my goal of being an entrepreneur. Towards building a company. Towards making something that makes the Church better. That benefits humanity.
Maybe I’ll fail. In fact, statistically speaking, it’s very likely that I’ll fail. But at least at that point, when I decide to pivot, I’ll know that it wasn’t because I didn’t try to chase my dreams. It will be because God shut the door on those dreams. And really, that’s what it all comes down to.
I will never know that a door is shut until I try to open it. God can’t drive a parked car, as my roommate recently reminded me. If I actually move towards something – anything – then, in a sense, I can’t go wrong. Because it’s that movement that allows God to act.
I don’t know which part of myself I’m supposed to be true to. The 12-year-old that wanted to make movies? The 29-year-old that still gets ticked off when he realizes that a movie could have been WAYYYY better? The 15-year-old that wanted to write music that would make that girl fall in love with me? The 9-year-old that wanted to be Peyton Manning? The 27-year-old that wanted to make a YouTube channel talking about movies? The 26-year-old that started this blog? Who knows.
But what I’ve learned is that the only way to find out is to act. To try to write a movie, become a musician, practice sports…you get the picture. Because as I move towards those goals, some of them won’t work out. And then I can let them go.
And that’s why, at 1:49am on Friday night/Saturday morning, I’m sitting down to write this post. Not because anyone cares – let’s be real, this blog has exactly 1 follower – but because being someone who writes consistently is someone I want to try to be.
Maybe it won’t work. Maybe I’ll force myself to write something every other week for the next six months, and then finally realize that it’s not for me. Maybe I’ll turn into the next Stephen King or…I don’t know, Tim Ferris? Who are the most successful bloggers? Not the point.
The point is that I’ll have acted. And that action will lead to an answer…whatever that answer might be.
It’s now 1:52am on a Friday night, and I need sleep. But I’ll be able to take that sleep knowing that for the second time in a row, I followed through on my resolution to try and be someone who writes. Is it worth it? I guess we’ll find out.
Actually, I already know the answer: yes. Even if my writing never reaches anyone, it will have been worth it. Because I’m one post closer to knowing whether or not this is a part of myself I want to be true to.
If you’ve made it this far, please enter your email address in the box at the bottom of this page. It’ll help me feel like it’s worth writing more..and if you think this post was terrible, please leave a comment detailing why and I’ll be sure to let that ruin my day.