I wasn’t expecting it to hurt so much.
It was just a mole removal.
On my head. Scalp. Barely any meat, mostly skin and bone.
It hurt, but only for a day or two.
Then the pathology results told us it wasn’t all gone. We had to go back again, cutting over the barely-healed scar tissue to take a bigger chunk of not-much-meat.
That one hurt. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
So I could barely work on what mattered for about a week.
Then I got the flu.
Then our son got the flu. He has it, right now, in the next room. It’s 5am and my not-yet-three son is awake, eating cheese and crackers, watching Curious George from his mother’s warm and worried embrace.
We hope it’s the flu. Who knows? He could be better tomorrow, or he could be very ill for his birthday ten days away.
He’s cute when he’s sick. I hate when he’s sick. I worry about him, and can barely focus.
We get worried because he had the flu once. But we were wrong. And then he had convulsions and we ended up in the ER twice in less than a day.
I sat at my desk knowing what I was going to do that morning. It was going to be a good morning. Then a client called and it was no longer going to be a good morning.
They’d gotten something for a major event wrong. It was in two days. The program had been printed, and there were currently two thousand copies of it in her office. Two thousand mistakes.
By the time we’d figured out what to do, the morning was gone, and so too was any plan I had. It knocked the rest of my day around so badly that not much of value was achieved.
A whole day, gone.
It could happen again today. I have two hours until I walk into the office, and a lot can go wrong in two hours, especially with a sick kid. Though it sounds like he’s starting to explain every scene of his movie to my wife. So he might be ok.
But who knows. So I write now.
We can’t say what’s going to happen tomorrow.
We’re kind of wonderful in that we always hope for it to be good.
“I’ll do it tomorrow,” is as wonderful as it is awful.
On the one hand it means we aren’t doing something today, even though we probably could, and maybe should. On the other hand, it’s our way of saying “tomorrow is going to be a good day, nothing unexpected will happen.”
That’s pretty wonderful.
But we hope for that, we don’t promise it.
Do you know what will happen tomorrow?
Do you know if you’ll be sick for a month this year?
Do you know if something will happen in your family?
Do you know if all your projects will go perfectly well, without any need for a last minute change? Or a scared client? Or an angry client?
Do you know that you’ll remain inspired? Do you know that you’ll remain energetic, that you’ll be able to find all that you need so that you can create the images in your head, so you can solve the problems at your finger tips?
Do you know, for sure, that there won’t be another interesting project you want to work on come up? One so exciting and career-changing that to pass it up would be a mistake?
Are you ready for it? Have you done the work now to be ready for it later? Or have you kept telling yourself that you’ll get to it tomorrow, when everything will be perfect?
The best way to prepare for the unknown is to do the best you can now.
Don’t waste time worrying about making sure conditions are perfect for getting work done. Worry about when the conditions will be so bad that you won’t be able to do anything at all.
I can hear Spanish movie trailers coming from our son’s iPad. I think he’s going to be ok. But who knows? So I’m going to go give him a hug.
We’re clever, so we figure out ways around ourselves.
So we have to be better than clever. Smarter than clever.
Doing the smart thing isn’t always the easy or pain-free thing.
Sometimes the smart thing just hurts.
And sometimes that pain is a small price.