I’ve learned a valuable lesson of late: I’m not going to have nearly as much time on my hands being a full-time dad as I thought I would. Even with Alicia around (and, frankly, doing more than her fair share of babycare duties at the moment), it feels like I’m constantly running from one house chore to the next.
So clearly, that’s a great time to start a project like launching a new website, right?
Yep. That’s what I thought too.
I built my very first website in 1998 (!), back in the days when Angelfire was still a thing people did. It was all HTML tables and GIFs of wavy text. (What a time to be alive.) In summer 2001, in the doldrums between my sophomore and junior year of high school and in between cutting debate cards, I started a weblog where I would post actively for five years. It was a strange combination of publicly growing up, mixed with thoughts on news, politics and current events that eventually got me reblogged on Newsweek.com. It was like reading the diary of a sixteen-year-old Rush Limbaugh, and the fact that I still have any friends at all from that era is a testament to their incredible grace and tact, not mine.
That’s also a long-winded way of quoting LL Cool J: “Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.”
I’ve long wanted to restart a website. Full-time employment, writing fiction, wife and family, travel, and any number of other pursuits always made me feel like, “Nah, I don’t have the time to do it well, so not right now.” Trading an 8-to-5 job for 24-7 care of a child doesn’t exactly increase the amount of time I have to wax poetic on the internet. So why now?
Because I wanted to, goshdarnit, and much like having kids in the first place, if you wait to start until you’re ready, you’ll spend your life wondering how everyone else does it.
There’s more than the usual bit of “you can do it!” encouragement to unpack there. Whatever your particular passion or goal in life, you might not be able to do it. You might fail – heck, probably will fail, at least the first time or two or twenty. Try it anyway.
There’s a terrible business book I read once by Harvey MacKay called “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” I’ll save you the pain of reading it, in that MacKay essentially spends two hundred pages saying, “You need to build a network of contacts, store up goodwill and credit with them, because eventually you’ll need something from them.”
Heck, I learned that from one scene in The Godfather, without having to read anything at all.
But the same can be said for the point I’m (haphazardly) making here. (The earlier point, not this digression into Vito Corleone’s family business.) If you push yourself beyond what you believe are your limits, you’ll find they were never really your limits at all. Your limits are somewhere else, still shrouded in mist and darkness, waiting to be found. Life will eventually test your limits for you, whether you’ve practiced it yourself or not. MacKay’s book might thus be retitled: “Test your limits, because you will much prefer to find them on your own terms, rather than The Universe find them for you.”
This is just the kind of brilliant and insightful commentary you can hope for from someone operating on too little sleep and not enough caffeine. And it’s also a way of saying, if this blog isn’t updated as often as I’d like, it’s probably because I’m elbow-deep in dirty diapers, so I’ll you a pre-emptive Mea Culpa.