Deadlines

Last week I was asked if I wanted to do a ten minute comedy slot in a little seaside town about an hour’s drive from where I live. I was surprised to be asked (I’ve not done anything in over a year) but delighted. I’ve been thinking about getting back into it, and figured it was the very thing I needed to kick me in the jacksy and get back out there. I accepted. I have been booked.

I am now thinking about working on my set. But I have a couple of weeks, so it’s all good, right? I’ve even gone so far as to request a slot at a local open mic to practice, so more like just over a week. It’s all good, right?

Um…

I need hard deadlines to get work done. I always have. I’m no good with heaps of time. My best stuff is when I’m in full-panic-headless-chicken-insanity-mode. If you want any idea what I am talking about, check out this perfect Ted-talk from Tim Urban. He does a very good job of summing up what I think is true for so many of us. Deadlines matter, but we’re crap at planning for them if we have long timescales.

Don’t panic. No really, it’s not going to do anything useful.

Which kind of brings me to my next point. My children have, at various times, freaked out about death. Who hasn’t, right? Death is scary and death seems so… so final and horrible. Yet it’s only because time is finite that life is precious. Life without end would be a little pointless, would it not? I imagine it would become extremely dull. There’s only so much you can do, only so much you can take, and if you have endless time to do it in, no urgency or timescale attached to make it relevant.

People are constantly telling me that I have boundless energy and that they are amazed that I go out and do so much crazy stuff. I reply that I have to. My deadline is in front of me, frighteningly close, and while it might not be (hopefully not be) the final deadline, it is still pretty damn challenging to face up to. I’ve had seven years of freaking out about my deadline. With it I have seven years of taking life by the scruff of the neck and yelling “Let’s do this!”

Seven years of worrying about my health, being scared that I don’t know how much time I have before / if I get so ill I can’t walk / my joints pack up / I lose cognitive sharpness. I don’t like to think about cognitive issues caused by Parkinson’s. Now they are terrifying.

Image reading time - never enough - always onward.
Ah yes. Time. Not your friend. Let’s not start a debate about if it even exists.

Yet while there have been seven years of worry, there have been wonderful things that have resulted from the diagnosis I despise. One of them was discovering I was a good speaker. No – I am a great speaker. With that discovery came the next; I am witty and can make people laugh. That led to the decision to try stand-up comedy and a monster was born. 😉

I learned that I love to perform and to show off. I’ve always been a bit of a show-off, and BOOM! Here was my chance to do it big time. Though my job kind of gets in the way (why is being responsible and paying bills ‘a thing?’) and I have these four small-ish people that appear to need me to look after them. They’re kind of nice. That’s OK. Yes. Fitting what one wants to do around what you have to do is difficult, yet essential.

I claim that the things that really matter are worth the effort to do them well. They’re not easy, but the rewards are great. Things like exercise (URGH), making time for your loved ones (warm fuzzies) and polishing your comedy set. (Hahahahahahaaaa….)

Time is short. Life is precious. Go out and live it.

Until next time.

Question of the week!

What have you done recently that you really enjoyed? What has been challenging yet worth the effort?

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