The Second Third, Week 40: Put Up or Shut Up

This will be my final Second Third post. I had planned 52 – one per week of this 36th year of life – outlining things about myself that I hoped to cultivate or cull, change or discover, in the years between now and age 70, when I enter my third Third: the long glide to age 105, which seems like a good age to wrap things up. However, over the course of the past 40 weeks or so, I’ve noticed something: these posts are adding up to summary of The Jim In My Head (TJIMH) – the best version of me I’ve been able to conceive of, a man happy, convicted, faithful, healthy, and (most importantly) deeply content.

I used to think I was not TJIMH because he is perfect and I am not, but in the course of the last few days I was struck with a revelation: TJIMH is not perfect. He merely tries harder. I am not TJIMH because I have never tried to be. Never, even for one day, let alone many days. I have become a better husband and father (two important aspects of TJIMH) in the past few years because I decided to be, and made changes in my life to do so. I am out of shape and sore, an unpublished poet and an incomplete novelist, an occasional fisherman and infrequent hunter, because I don’t push myself in the same way. I am dissatisfied, not with the hand I’ve been dealt, but with how I am playing it.
When I was younger and tried to teach teens to write well, I used to quote Shakespeare’s Macbeth (admittedly completely out of context): “Be bloody, bold, and resolute.” Today, given the political sensitivities of even my new my job, I am painfully cautious what I publish on these pages. When colleagues in my new workplace ask what I want to be, I laugh, shake my head, and say, “Well, if I didn’t have a family to feed, I’d be writing fiction.” I’m almost apologetic, and I told a new friend the other day that it’s tough to commit extra time to completing a novel that “may never amount to anything.”
Bloody, bold, and resolute?
My last post was about getting in shape physically. This is about getting in shape mentally – and not wasting time and energy on activities that don’t make me a better writer, husband, father, man. I am a writer, and I am going to complete a novel. I don’t have time for another dozen navel-gazing Second Third posts. Got a problem with that?

One thought on “The Second Third, Week 40: Put Up or Shut Up

  1. Not me boss! Sounds like you are getting your priorities in order! That's a good thing.

    Give me a call soon, I have some long winded comments for you on this subject. Talking to Artists at the Artist Ride who left all they knew behind, to pursue their Art, and never looking back. Some times we've got to take the plunge and trust in God and those around us, what eh?


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