Here’s a chunk of the current story I’m living through.
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve wondered about ambition. To put it succinctly, what could I do if I set my mind to it? What’s the limit of my capabilities? I thought about climbing huge mountains, becoming crazy rich, the usual things people dream about when they don’t really know themselves. But being timid, fearful, and easily distracted (aka being young), I set this large question aside and got on with the business of life.
On my 33rd birthday, I had this gnawing thought pop up once more. I felt like it was time to do something big, follow through on a project and finally test my limits. I decided, after about 90 seconds of careful deliberation, that I wanted to see how many push-ups I could do, and what effect that would have in my life. So that day I started keeping track daily. I also threw in crunches, because I’ve always wanted washboard abs. It wasn’t easy at times, but on the day I turned 34 I had done over 31,000 push-ups, and twice that many crunches.
And not much really changed. I wasn’t suddenly getting attention from everyone (a couple compliments from my wife, which I profoundly appreciated). The washboard abs weren’t really as defined as I wanted. I learned a lot about daily discipline, and I learned that I’m not that workout guy. But beyond that it was mostly a bust.
After stewing for a while, the doing-something-daily bug bit me again. This time I wanted to pick something that would actually matter to me, that if I succeeded would make me much happier. I’ve been dabbling in visual journaling for a while, and I’m in the middle of trying to construct an illustration career, so I decided I would draw something every day.
That was almost three weeks ago. And earlier this week I decided it was time to start posting things every weekday, whether they were good or not. (Like, for instance, when you use the wrong pen and have to resort to cross-hatching instead of your grisaille plans.) So far I can see a big shift in my mindset, and a small shift in my skills. Again, this is just a sliver of the larger story. But now that I’m in the middle of testing my ambition, it’s surprising to me that it took me so long.