Ben, mid Dive.
I learned long ago, on cold, dark mornings, that the hardest part of any project --- every project, is that first part where you are standing on the deck in the bitter, cold wind considering diving into the pool; the dread of embracing that first uncomfortable, wet chill, and the act of getting started.
That's what makes Summer swims more fun. It's already hot, the water is warmer, the chances of hypothermia remote. Even if you go to the early practice you're still pretty certain to start soaking up some solar-quality vitamin D before the workout is over.
I just got off the phone with a friend who is an exemplary photographer. He does it for money and he's a self-starter when commerce is involved. But he's been talking about his "art" project for so long that no one believes that he'll ever wrap his toes around the tile at the edge of the pool and launch himself. The cameras will never taste the rich nectar of something done for the challenge and not for the pay check.
There's always a reason for him to delay. He waited until full frame cameras hit the market, he waited until 20+ megapixel cameras hit the market, he didn't want to start his personal project when he was busy because he just couldn't stand to step away from the cash flow addiction. He didn't dive in when the markets and the economy tanked because he was too nervous to stray too long from his phone and his physical connection to the client space --- he feared he'd miss one of the few, stringy jobs to come through at the time.
Now he's waiting till he makes his first million. Next he'll be waiting till he makes his second million. ..
But his project is arduous. The one he talks about. It's a globe trotting trip that seemed so do-able when he was in his forties and even his early fifties. But the project keeps being put off. Now his left shoulder bothers him after a day of working. He's walking with a little bit of a hitch because his right knee gets a wee stiff when he sits too long. He's waiting for the situation in Greece to get straightened out. He's thinking he needs to hold onto the money his project will cost in case an emergency comes up.
Part of the trip is a walk across a couple hundred miles to go from one sea to one ocean. It's a trek that one does through the mountains, on foot. But work and family have kept him busy and the few days a month he does get out to walk he realizes that the heat bothers him much more than it did ten years ago. He's tired now. And he gets tired more easily. The idea of camping out and not having a coffee shop nearby in the mornings seems like a much bigger impediment than it every did before.
Psychologists might call this a middle aged failure to launch but I'm calling it the sneakiness of progressive entropy. And I'm pretty sure it's sneaking up on a fairly large number of my friends and will overwhelm them before they realize it.
At times such as this, when I have had yet another coffee with my friend and heard another series of plaintiff excuses for delaying his adventure yet again, I come back to my office and pluck one little book off my shelf and sit down for a quiet and short read.
The book is: Andrew Marvell. A Selection of His Finest Poems.
The poem I read is called: To His Coy Mistress. It is one of the first of a genre of poems referred to as Carpe Diem poetry. Translated: Seize the Day! I advise everyone who has a wonderful project in mind, but is consistently failing to launch, to stop and read the poem I've mentioned. I hope it's enough of an antidote to defeat that series of sensible spreadsheets one's mind is constantly constructing to put off anything risky, dangerous or imbued with the promise of too much fun.
The time to plunge in is while you still can. And the "sell by" date on that package is largely unknowable and unpredictable.
I have, once again, advised my friend to "Take the Plunge." Whether he will is solely up to him but each time I hear about the plans they are subtly diminished. Practicality is okay for some things. For art practicality is early death. Quit your job. Do your adventure. Write your book. Take your trip.
Let's not bury you before you've had a chance to launch yourself.