This is it, I guess. It’s happening now.

young me now me

Quit romanticizing whatever you had then. Whatever it was, you can always get it back again…

Several weeks ago I was on the phone with my sister.

She lives in Knoxville and among other things runs a business in which she sells delicious pastry treats under the aegis Dale’s Fried Pies. Her pies, I think, are something like my plays. They are the most obvious manifestation of what she does with her days. They, semi-imperfectly, become a container for her myriad of interests. They become a vehicle for the underlying questions she wants to explore. Anyway, Dale and I were on the phone several weeks ago. She was in prep stages for an official opening of a new building she and her husband purchased, renovated, and turned into a professional kitchen, office, art gallery and community space called The Central Collective. I was just coming off of opening The Children’s Hour at Ego Po and was readying to head into another tech this time at Drexel for some Halloween Lovecraftian silliness with my student cast for From Beneath It LurksDale told me about the myriad million little things she was discovering one needs for a building about to open to the public in a shmancy ceremony complete with a mayorial ribbon cutting: paper towel dispensers and garbage cans for example. I told her about the emotional drain of gearing up to head into another weekend of 12-hour days and lots and lots of light cues.

At some point, Dale said to me, “I mean it’s good. It’s not hard, really. Just busy. There’s just lots and lots to do. But it gets done, right? In some way it gets done.” At least, this is some approximation of what she said, to the best of my memory’s ability to recall.

And, in the best of my ability to remember my response, I stepped off the curb at Tasker and 10th as I walked to the subway and replied, “Yes. I mean, all the times I have down time and I’m dreaming about doing my work. All the times I’m imaging the future utopia I’ll be in when I’m making the art… This is it, I guess. It’s happening now.”

When I think back to the projects I enjoy the most in retrospect, the only thing I regret is that at the time I was so busy in the making that I often forgot to remember that I was there in the present tense moment. I’m so often imaging back to a bygone time when the work I made was younger, simpler, more directly created somehow or thinking ahead to a day when I’ll be making that ideal project in that ideal way with all the support and resource I don’t currently possess. It’s a comfort in some ways, this imagining that at some point in the past or future there’s this amazing thing. But it also means that that amazingness is never actually happening.

Has there ever been a milestone that when actually achieved felt solidly like the end of something, like a destination?

Maybe you all are better than I am but if I’m honest the answer is: Not for me. Too often by the time I’ve gotten to the thing I set out to do in some “back then” moment, I’ve already defined a plan and a road map to some other future moment when for sure this time it’ll really be the thing I need and actually feel like I’ve landed.

When was the last time you stopped for a second, a minute, an hour, and thought about the fact that the thing you always say you’re waiting for is in some way happening right this very now?

What if in that brief sliver of time we just all stopped to relax and enjoy our work in its present tensity?

For today, this is my mantra, however humble it may be: “This is it, I guess. It’s happening now.”

3 comments

  1. I think we all have the tendency to be preoccupied with the past or the future, and need to be constantly reminded that the present is where life occurs. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the richness of this very moment.

  2. In order to live an accomplished life and, let’s be honest, most of us accomplish much more in life than we ever admit to ourselves (that may be a subconscious trick to keep us all moving forward :~), we end up in this constant pattern of chasing a goal, and, somewhere in the middle of working towards achieving that goal, setting the next goal and turning the current goal into just another accomplishment along the way to that ever elusive final goal.

    It’s fine to take stock of where you are now and what you’ve done to get here but if you dwell too long you risk stagnation. Luckily, stagnation gets boring and humans tend to look for something new to do when they get bored.

    Enjoy where you are. Enjoy all that you’ve accomplished but mostly, enjoy the journey because the journey is really the best part life.

    Sometimes the journey leads to strange connections. I grew up just across the river in Lindenwold and Cherry Hill, and lived all over Center City and the surrounding neighborhoods. Now I live in Knoxville and count your Sister and Shawn amongst my friends. They are two awesome people who have done and are doing much to make Knoxville an awesome place to be. It sounds like you’re doing much to make my former hometown an awesome place to be as well.

    Kudos! Y’all should be proud of each other…Keep moving forward.

    ~ART~

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