There is a great myth in my family – and I think in the families of many – that in order for something to be achieved it needs to be done at the right moment. The perfect moment just waiting to be tapped into and if, just if, you hit the right perfect moment everything will come up roses, or at least pansies, never carnations though. They’re funeral flowers.
I’ve come to realise lately the perfect moment is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Nothing ever starts at exactly the right time. It starts instead, when it starts.
The other day I asked my father when he wanted something done around the house. His response was “not today, but soon, I just have to…,” I admit I sort of zoned out at the point.
So not until the perfect moment, where the stars need to be aligned and mythical levels of “things” need to happen first.
Over the years I’ve been good at finding the perfect in the moment, well not so much good at finding it as I have been good at waiting for it to arrive.
70 days ago I quit drinking.
How do I know that so precisely?
Because I quit drinking exactly 5 days before I quit smoking and according to the My Quit Buddy App on my phone it’s currently 65 days – will be 66 starting at 4:30pm – since I did that.
Was 70 days ago the perfect, universally inspired, moment to quit drinking? No.
I’m unemployed, stressed to the back teeth, have applied for countless jobs in the time I’ve been sober and not heard back from 1 person. I’ve had 2 automatic rejections – Note: Michael Hill Jewellers and Aldi, using an automated HR system is beyond tacky, particularly when you don’t change the automatic “thank you but you suck,” message.
There was nothing about the day I quit drinking that made it the perfect moment to do so beyond I ran out of booze and decided not to buy anymore. It’s exactly the same when the moment I quit smoking arrived.
I was down to my last cigarette and made the decision enough was enough. I just didn’t buy another packet.
The moment of perfection is only in the moment you make a choice. There is no mythical, wonderful perfect moment where the stars align and an angelic chorus sings you to the heights of success.
It just is. When you do it, that’s the moment.
It is the same with writing. Do or Do’t really. I finished a fantastic course recently on getting that novel out my brain and onto a page. It – the novel – didn’t quite get there but it got further than it has before. One thing it showed me was the novel was not quite baked enough in my head. It sort of is but I’m missing a major chunk of it. That’s okay, I’m working on that.
But the belief I held that I will write “when the time is right, the moment perfect,” is bullshit.
I’m unemployed at the moment. I’ve got nothing to do but job hunt and watch TV. I don’t go out. I don’t talk to be people on the phone. I don’t have social obligations. I have no partner, no family – beyond those I live with.
My life is 90% spent stuck in one small bedroom with the TV on and Netflix filling the evenings.
You would think that would be the perfect time. There is no real stress, no commute, no exhausted slumping body after a day of thinking and working and travelling on trains. Just me, endless hours of quiet and a story to be told.
I can now make baked custard and cup cakes from scratch. Tomorrow I buy the ingredients to make a custard tart.
The perfect moment comes when you sit down and make the moment you are in perfect, regardless of what you’re doing. Be it writing a novel, quitting smoking, exercising, dieting, learning to knit, or simply applying for a new job the time is right only when you say it is.
Waiting for The Moment – Perfection to land upon your shoulders like universal dandruff won’t get your goals a moment closer to completion.
One thing I’ve decided recently is to undertake 1 thing per goal to bring about the Perfect Moment. The moment when I look up, rub the ache from my head and realise I’ve taken a step or finished a goal.
It doesn’t need to be a big thing, it doesn’t need to be a thing you would trumpet about on Facebook or Twitter or any other form of social media. It just needs to be.
Breathing a little life into a goal by moving one step forward is a fantastic start. It can – and will – lead you onto a much more successful and enjoyable path.