It never fails.
No wait... it almost always fails.
New habits are hard to start.
I try to be cognizant of the two-week mark anytime I start working out or jogging again after a long break. Two weeks tends to be when “something gets in the way”. Then a week goes by and before you know it you have blown your attempt at starting something, and you have to start over again.
I had knee surgery in January. Prior to that I had been running around 15 miles a week. Not trying to win races or anything, but my pace had finally hit a time I was happy with just about the time my knee decided it was fed up. An old soccer injury from my 20’s compounded by many skateboarding slams and years of jogging had finally taken its toll.
All of this meant surgery and partial remove of my right meniscus. My surgeon thought recovery was going to be quicker, so I was counting on it. Impatience can give you high hopes, you know? It was not quick at all, and now I know never to listen to a surgeon about anything other than the operation itself. After a few months of not showing enough improvement I started physical therapy.
Now at the 7th month mark I’m finally able to run short distances. To make this happen, I had to not only start slow, and retrain all the muscles around the knee before even working on the knee itself, I’ve had to change my running form. This has been slow and difficult, but has made a world of difference in my pace, efficiency, and has taken a lot of pressure of my knees in general.
My recent attempt to regain a regular studio practice has been no different. It started really well, my pace was good, my output was feeling productive and interesting. Suddenly I hit a “distraction” and it came to a halt. Part of the problem was that my studio time was dependent upon my getting up around 6:30am a couple days a week in order to have quiet time over my garage drawing table. To make that work I had to get to bed on time. To get to bed on time I had to make sure the laptop was shut down by 9:30pm. To make that happen…
Anyway, all this is to say that in order to change what I want to change in my creative life requires “retraining my form” in more than one area of my life. The older I’ve become the more pronounced the domino affect seems to be across everything in my life. As a parent and partner, doing things for yourself sometimes means not doing things for others. When that feels to difficult (or selfish) it means you have to carve out time at ungodly hours of the day.
I will give myself a bit of a break since the major distraction in my life right now has been buying a house. We get the keys today, and will be officially moved within the next couple weeks. The anxiety and sleeplessness that come from this big of a financial decision will be worth it. I’m about to have a whole new neighborhood, new patterns, habits, new things to worry about. New reasons to not sleep. But I will also be able to create a new environment where I can make art again. The challenge is staying focused on getting back to my studio work as quickly as life allows once the move is complete. Wish me luck.
Changing yourself is a long game. If you’re not failing regularly at something then you probably aren’t trying much of anything. Just watch out for the two week mark. Its a jerk.