Urgency, Anxiety & All The Things

My brain won’t let me start doing anything until I know where it fits in the bigger picture of life, the universe, and everything. And I’ll be damned if, once I do figure it out, it still won’t let me do anything about it because it’s already figured out, nobody gives a shit, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

This is my curse. Now what.

What am I gonna do, write a blog post about how my $2500, 25-year old Mitsubishi has mechanical issues (again) and I’m frustrated (again) at how it’s still acting up despite my by-the-[factory service manual] troubleshooting efforts suggesting everything is actually within spec (again)? Does anyone really want a 1,500-word story about how I’m pulling the interior out of my truck because it won’t shift into second gear below redline, I don’t know where the water’s coming from or if the corrosion on the back of my ECU board is to blame, and I’ve got several hundred dollars worth of sound insulation, speakers, and lighting waiting as long as two years for installation?

Nah. We don’t really need two vehicles anymore—and we really don’t need a truck like Fezzik here. I mean, he’s nice in the snow, but if this winter was any indication, there might be two days a year when conditions might warrant a lifted 4WD. For everything else, the turbocharged Mazda on 20s will do just fine. In that respect, I’m strangely comfortable with the thought of taking Fezzik apart in the garage this week and having him apart for several weeks. The scariest part is how easily bits and pieces vanish into thin air when left out for weeks at a time. I guess I should buy some bins or start collecting Amazon boxes again so I can kit things out.

I digress.

This is my curse. I spend so much time sorting priorities that I don’t have enough time to do much of anything on any of them. Things start piling up. Cortisol levels rise to suit. I default to doing whatever is most urgent. Usually, this thing is urgent because other things felt like they should have come first, they weren’t ready yet, and I spent right up to the literal last minute trying to optimize the critical path.

I know, I know. Urgent and important! But it’s all important.

The truck is acting up (again) and I’m at the point where I’m trying to confirm or rule out the following theory:

Water ingress into the cabin has resulted in surface corrosion on the back of the ECU circuit board which is causing intermittent loss of TPS signal, making the truck undrivable.

I guess I could clean off the corrosion, dry out the interior, and roll the dice, waiting and watching to see when and where water is getting into the cabin on a rainy day or maybe with a garden hose in a couple weeks—and that’s what I’ve done—but that feels like a rookie maneuver. Paging Captain Halfass to the courtesy phone. If I don’t see water flowing with my own eyes, how do I know where it got in? How do I know everything is dry under the carpet?

Instead, I’m going to pull the seats, the carpet, and all the interior trim including the headliner. I mean, I’ve had half a dozen projects waiting on just the right time to do all the things, so I might as well while I’m in here, right? How do I know there isn’t some wire under the carpet, rubbed bare by 20 years of abuse and neglect shorting out and pissing off the ECU somehow causing my recent headaches?

I don’t want to get stranded again (again). And the only way I feel like I can rule out all the things left to rule out is by going all-in. Fortunately, like I said, I don’t actually need Fezzik these days. Even so, I’m not happy about having to disassemble the interior of my truck because TPS code. As we all know, the longer a machine is apart, the less likely it ever goes back together. See also, the more often you write long-winded stories about shit that doesn’t matter, the less people want to hear what you have to say. It’s risky business. But these are the choices we make.

Creeping Nihilism

For whatever reason, I’m predisposed to make things harder than they need to be. It’s like I fly between extremes. I know I can do better, so I should be kicking my own ass to DO better—but I also know I’m doing more than ever, so I should be easier on myself. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time—but doing it “right” the first time means doing it ALL the first time. Social media is a parasite destroying our attention span and trust in each other—but if you pull the plug, you’re on your own.

Growing up, they told us to reach for the stars and chase those dreams. What do you want to be when you grow up? I find myself increasingly thinking it’s all bullshit. The same rigged game that’s existed since the dawn of civilization. How much time and money and effort do we put into chasing big dreams to be like one of the 0.01% of the population holding half the money, when the reality is most of us will simply disappear. Memento Mori, I guess.

You don’t need to turn your hobby or passion into a side hustle. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur. You don’t need to hype vaporware into an acquisition and IPO. You don’t need to like, subscribe, and smash that notification bell. You just need to get your own shit in order so you’re not beholden to others.

I know. It’s a weird place to be. Kinda dark.

Night drives. Chuck flies low.

But it’s winter. It’s gonna be dark. If I’m not 4-wheeling or overlanding, why am I so obsessed with my vehicle? If I’m not looking to monetize an audience with advertising or merch, why do I keep wanting to write all these blog posts (that my brain obsesses over for days before throwing them away because who cares)? If we’ll all be dead in 100 years, what’s the point of anything I do today?

I feel like there’s an incredible freedom lurking just below the surface.

I’m just one human being. Since when do I need fame and fortune and a life of luxury to be happy? If I’ve got 30 hours a week outside work to get all the things done, I can have a bigger impact and be more effective—and immediately realize the benefits of my efforts—if I focus on all the things within my immediate universe.

Person. Place. People.

That’s my plan. Those are my priorities. Get my own shit together. Build my citadel. And take care of the people in my life. A little time and effort goes a long way on these fronts. And who knows, maybe this is the way. Maybe this is how I finally find myself in the right place at the right time with the right stuff to do something big that makes a difference in the world around us. Maybe this is all a waste of time because everyone else already knew all this.

Hey. Some of us took longer to figure it out, okay?

From the minute I wake up in the morning until the minute I fall asleep at night, my brain is trying to put everything in order. It won’t let me start until I have all my ducks in a row. It won’t let me start once it decides nobody gives a shit about my ducks, and what the hell is wrong with me for wasting to much time on ducks?

Then he waddled away. (Waddle, waddle.)