Great Idea, Poor Execution

I think I’ve pretty much always had the big ideas; just never the talent to make them a reality, let alone a successful one.

In fact, that’s my autobiography title: Great Idea, Poor Execution. With the tag-line of “How I Scraped The Bottom Of The Barrel To Discover I’m It”.

Or maybe that last part was about my former dating life.

At any rate, even as a kid, I was always coming up with these amazing ideas, starting to work on them, and then give up early on because my imagination has always been far too big for my reality. I would, however, drag my little brother along for the ride. Of course. I mean, someone had to lead the way to creative play, right? That was one of my jobs as an older sibling. Another was to annoy him and occasionally try to get him blamed for things, but that rarely worked. He was cuter than me.

Once I convinced him to help me dig a tunnel, starting in our backyard, and going to several places around town so that we could travel underground via our very own secret railroad! I knew that we probably couldn’t have an actual train down there, but we had our bikes, and those would work. We could even bike to school in winter if we wanted! It was going to be epic, just like the TV show, but not!

We started digging, encountered a billion rocks (or, like, 5 or 6), and gave up.

rail1

Then I had a plan to build a log cabin fort-like structure (not fort as in olden war times, but as in our own place to play that no one else could use unless they were invited) around the hole we’d dug, because then it would be out of sight and therefore out of mom’s mind. We dragged some large wood beam-like things and started setting them up in an alternating over/under pattern. After we’d piled them about waist-high in a square around our hole, we realized that we had no idea how to fill in the spaces between the “logs”.

So we gave up. Totally left that things standing, though.

Another amazing idea I had as a kid that would have made literally everyone so jealous that I’d be famous was to build our own Godzilla. Out of what, I’m not sure. As far as I ever got on it was a design drawn in a pad of scrapbook paper. There would be ladders inside, so we could climb up to where the eyes were and look out at all the little people, and the beast would move on wheels…that I believe were also our bikes, actually. We actually rode our bikes a ton, so I’m not sure why I thought I could or would ever build them into my designs, but whatever. Maybe I figured we could have more bikes once we’d build this huge Godzilla to ride around in!

Godzilla_01

Finally, there was the circus. Ah, our circus, starring us. And our swing-set. Basically us climbing around on a swing-set and passing it off as stunts. I felt we should sell tickets, and perhaps later take our amazing show on the road.

It didn’t pan out. At all. And so we gave up. Same with performing plays with costumes we’d made ourselves, and once with a script one of our friends had “touched up”. Those had the potential to be better, but I am pretty sure they were still painful to sit through. Though sit our parents did. And tolerate my wild imagination my brother did. I’d had a recurring nightmare for a while and once asked my brother if he would ever just run out the door with me, no questions asked, if I ever told him to, based on nothing but my panic mode if I thought my nightmare was coming true.  If he would just trust me and do it. 

He said he would.

Editing & Aging

Confession time!  Despite my declaration that I would be honest in this space, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keenly aware of the possibility of an audience, and therefore self-edit as I write.

There are people I hope read it, as often I am trying to learn to talk to them in particular.  There are some I hope don’t read it, for various reasons depending on the circumstance.  There are billions I just don’t care one way or the other about.

Though having a billion views would be insane and cool, now that I think about it.

Anyway, it’s not that I’m intending to spew falsehoods here.  But I definitely don’t intend to tell the whole truth every time.  And there will always be way more that I don’t write about, because, you know, life.  But if you find I reveal more to you specifically than I do online in a more public forum like this, then you’ll know you’re someone I trust with more of me than the norm.  And as someone who writes creatively from time to time, the mere fact that I don’t write several drafts of each post prior to letting anyone read it is proof that this is all at least more raw and real than my other works!

So, moving on, lately I’ve been thinking about aging.  Not in terms of getting old, but in terms of getting older.  The hate directed at Carrie Fisher for whether or not she has “aged well”, for example.  What does that even mean?  How does someone age well?

I already know I can’t age gracefully, because grace is not a word that would ever be ascribed to ANYTHING I do.  Graceful, I am not.  There is no reason to think it could be a way I’d age.  Or even walk.

But to age well?  How does one do that?  Does it mean fighting the effects of aging in an attempt to appear as though one has not aged at all?  Because that would seem to be without grace or doing it well, as your attempts still won’t stop it from happening, nor will it stop the Earth from turning, so ultimately you will have failed.  And failing does not mean you did something well.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

So aging well must instead mean embracing the process and accepting the things you can’t change, while simultaneously understanding that every line, wrinkle and scar is there because you lived.  You’re living.  You’re alive. You grabbed life by the balls and participated in it.  Created it.  You got on the ride and held on for dear, well, life.  You laughed, and cried, you loved, and lost, you smiled and frowned.  You worked, you played, you created and destroyed.  You were here, and you have a story to tell.  Even as your story is still being written.

And when you look in the mirror, you see someone you know and love looking back at you, but it’s weird because that person is WAY older than you see them in your head.  The you in your head is young and vibrant and in many ways still just a child, but with the ability to legally purchase alcohol.  Maybe you even have children of your own, or pets, or a plant, yet there is the occasional quiet voice in the back of your head that’s, like, “Who’s brilliant idea was it to give ME a kid/dog/hibiscus?”

Maybe on the inside, none of us ever age.  Maybe on the inside, we are forever young, and no matter how old our bodies are, we still want someone to take care of us when we’re sick, or fix things for us when we’ve been irresponsible, or just go out and play with us for awhile.

Carrie Fisher said her body hasn’t aged as well as she has, and those words ring very true to me.  I spend my days in an unpredictable body that I barely recognize as my own, thanks in part to MS, and when I look in the mirror I’m usually startled to see what the outside world must see when they look at me, because it’s just the very surface of who I see in my head.

Maybe aging well means finding the balance between those two realities, and then finding a way to express that balance.

I’m thus interested to see how well a generation of selfie-takers age.  Will they do better or worse than those of us who didn’t grow up taking photos of ourselves every day, keenly unaware of what we look like most of the time?  I wonder.

In the meantime, though, it’s Sunday afternoon and the sun is currently shining.  I’m gonna take Brody the doggie to go outside and play for awhile.  After I wake him from his nap.