I’ve often described my life like driving in Ireland: I wind along on narrow paths patiently following goats and diligently idling through random weather patterns. Then when I hit clear, straight road, I gun it. I fly like a crazy person, knocking out tasks, word counts, chores, plots. I’ve wondered if I’m bipolar, though I generally rule against it mainly because if I really was I wouldn’t know it, and because I’m not really down in the downtime, just dazed. Still, it’s this constant cycle of putter/bolt. I’m not sure if that’s my natural way of doing things, a coping device, or some overly emphasized creation of reality on crack. For the longest time it wasn’t working and I made great attempts to change it–to no avail. I thought if I took a slow, meandering plod through the inspired productive time if I would prolong the productivity and not melt my wings at both ends.
Yes, it’s a mixed metaphor, and I’ve earned it. I have always flown close to the sun, and I’ve always deflated eventually. The flaw of my youth was thinking one day I wouldn’t deflate, as much as fear that I would. If I didn’t deflate I’d have spontaneously combusted decades ago. I’ve always thought Icarus got a bum rap for the banal sin of ‘not listening.’ He was high on freedom, flying, and standard-issue youthful cheek. The story inside the story is that his father–his elder–Daedalus was more skilled than he, and while gloating over his invention of the wings, flew ahead and left the inexperienced Icarus. So when Icarus soared to the sun there was no one to help him. It’s not just that Icarus did something he was told not to, but that his father had both abandonned him and hadn’t prepared him for how to land. Daedalus left his beautiful, naive son vulnerable, and Icarus died because of it.
I don’t think the issue really is how I fly or that I get hyper focused, it’s I need to handle all of it better. I need to heed my own wisdom. It isn’t about hoping for a straightaway, or for a break. It’s how I take the curves regardless of what speed I’m going. It will be frenzied and fast. It will be dull and slow. I know, now. It’s all a cycle.
Work when I work.
Rest when I rest.
The sun rises.
The sun sets.
It really isn’t about me.