March 12, 2021
I was in that wonderful state of sleepy wakefulness this morning when an amazing idea for a Blog came to me. I played this out as I always do in my mind before beginning to write. I knew the point and the illustrations I was going to use to make the point. I understood the plot twist I like to put at the end in my “thoughts” section. I even convinced myself it was sooo good I needed to get up and write it down before it went away. I got up and shook myself awake as usual, and then realized the whole concept had been lost by the act of getting fully awake. I had lost my focus and the only thing I had left was the title, “Comments.”
When I mentioned this to Melissa, she suggested I needed to start keeping a pen and paper next to the bed so I could write down my ideas before they left me. I had done this before when I wrote my thesis. I had immersed myself in the research for two years prior to beginning to write and the basis was taken from research I was doing working with the state. That meant total focus in the task. When I did begin to write I was constantly waking up in the middle of the night with a new thought or a nuance that I should explore. At first, I would go back to sleep and dream on. I found when I woke up in the morning, I could not remember the great idea I had the previous night. The pen and paper helped me focus.
When I mentioned this to Melissa, she told me, “busy creative minds do not rest.” While I am sure that is true, I have found that when we focus a large part of life on one aspect, that is what we also dream about. A case in point is in the 1970’s when I worked as a cook in a taco shop. We had a sale on weekends with five tacos for a dollar yes, really). That meant families would come in and order 25 tacos, knowing it would only cost five dollars. I worked the dinner shift and people would flood into the store. I recall at one point during the sale I was behind on the orders by 250 tacos. After the rush died down the workers began to talk and share taco stories. I came to find out that amid our focus we had all been having dreams about being overrun by tacos.
Thoughts: When I retired, I was no longer confined by the constraints of a job. This left me with a lot of free time. At first, I went aimlessly from task to task without any real focus. If something needed to be done, I did it. If I did not want to do what was needed, I ignored it knowing it would still be there tomorrow. What I soon realized was I needed focus in my life. That is when I began to be purposeful in my garden and fishing. Over the last year I have also added birding (and yes, a job). One of the hardest aspects of the pandemic for many has been removal of the focus we used to have. For some that has been the loss of a job. For others it has been separation from grandchildren. There is also the task of trying to juggle work, family, finances, childcare, and tutoring, none of which has provided focus or left a lot of free time. For many, this overload has resulted in a lack of ability to focus. This happened before the pandemic, but then we called it a single-parent household. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.