I sometimes wonder where I get my all or nothing attitude from. I was talking to a friend of mine, James, yesterday and we were talking about music. He asked if I was getting the itch to play again. I gave him a big ole, “kind of, but...” and proceeded to explain the parameters under which I’d do it. In short, I wasn’t interested in playing much of my old music or a bunch of covers, but instead would only play if I could write and record a new album and then play shows to support it. Jesus Christ man, can you just enjoy something without it being a full on endeavor?
I have forever been an “all or nothing,” type of person. In the 90’s I, like many, smoked. But of course it wasn’t occasional or “only when I’m out.” I was the type that if I could light a cigarette when I got out of bed and keep it going until I went to bed after 16 hours, that would have made me happy. I literally got to where I smoke a pack and a half a day at the least. And then quit one day cold turkey.
All or nothing.
I’d say this mentality has for the most part been a positive, but it is exhausting. It breeds a “never enough” mindset on many things I take on. It leads to unreasonable expectations that are rooted in what I have decided and not necessarily the reality of the situations and a constant disappointment when I don’t live up.
But the problem is this. While our brains may strive for absolutes, that’s not how things work.
I know I’ll still be wired this way and can’t completely undo it. But I will try this year to go smaller. I can enjoy writing ONE new song instead of putting out a double album. I can race small short races instead of Ironman and I can write without needing to feel like I’ve failed if I don’t do it every day for forever.
Maybe I’ll start this tomorrow.