Listen to the Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts,
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts,
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me —

Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
— Shel Silverstein

One of the things I really want to talk about is these “Don’ts”. The obstacles that I have, the things that have kept me from doing all of the things on my list up to this point.

Which I realize may sound a little counter-intuitive. I’m supposed to be all gung-ho, and “I can do it! Go me!” But I never really have been much of a “Power Of Positive Thinking” kind of person; I’m just a little too practical. Sheer belief is simply not going to get the job done — you need a road map, you need to know the tools that will get you to where you want to go.

And on any road map, you need to know where the roadblocks are. Because when you know where the roadblocks are, you can figure out how to navigate around them. But the only way to navigate around them is by facing what roadblocks are actually there.

In one of the introductions to one of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels, Tori Amos wrote a bit about this:

…there is change in the “what is” but change cannot be made till you accept the “what is.” […] if you allow yourself to feel the way you really feel, maybe you won’t be afraid of that feeling anymore.
When you’re on your knees you’re closer to the ground. things seem nearer somehow. If all I can say is I’m not in this swamp, I’m not in this swamp then there is not a rope in front of me and there is not an alligator behind me…

And to be honest, allowing myself to feel dissatisfied is what was at the heart of this. My friend Colin and I joked at the beginning of this year that we were both probably going through mid-life crises, and we jokingly made the New Year’s Resolution that we would “be less lame” in 2010. But — that’s the biggest thing that spurred me on to this, was that I have been pretty lame.

So that’s why I need to look at the obstacles so far — because they’re excuses I was using to let me stay being lame. So instead of excuses, they’re now just problems. And problems can be solved.