Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My first...

Eat every meal as if it were your first.

Too often we eat as if it's our last, so those calories (or dollars) are somehow forgivable. But if you pretend that you've got another fantastic meal coming along soon... in oh, just a couple of hours, then maybe you'll wait before scarfing down that second loaded baked potato. Many of us, however, seem to believe that each and every opportunity we have to ingest calories could in fact be the very last time we may ever have them again--or at least that's how we act. I mean really, who NEEDS a giant tub of popcorn at the movies? There will be popcorn again the next time you go, I promise.

But if I were to sit down at the beginning of the day and say "OK, I know I've got dinner planned at my favorite Thai place tonight, and they serve a lot, and I'm gonna want to eat it all because we're going to the movies afterwards and it'll go bad in the car... so maybe for breakfast I'll have a bowl of cereal instead of eggs, and for lunch I'll have a salad and one small baked potato. Then I can indulge in the Gyoza and Pad Thai." Now, that's a pretty healthy attitude towards food. And at each meal when I would rather have the eggs, or the two loaded baked potatoes, I can remind myself that I have the big dinner coming.

But take it one step further... what if once I get to my dinner I think "Well you know, if we're going to the movies afterwards I'm probably going to want some popcorn, so perhaps I'll offer to--gasp--share this appetizer with my other three friends, and maybe even split the entree with another person, so then I'll have room for a small popcorn." Hm. See that? I approached my meal as if another one were coming! Amazing. I still get to eat everything I wanted for dinner and at the movies, and yet I won't be going home with a distended stomach from all the overeating. And I would be well prepared to digest, and start the next day fresh and ready for a new gastronomical adventure.

Ok. So let's take this in a different direction, because this is an interesting concept for writing too:

Write every story/blog/status update as if it were your first.

Since one would think that you only get better with time your last piece would then be your best, your magnum opus... so wouldn't I want to write each piece as if it were my last? Yet that gives the impression that this post, well, it's the best I'm ever going to do. Because it's my last post, you see. So even if it is my best, well then, i'm done. And besides, isn't that just a ton of stress to put on each and every thing I write? Thank goodness some of what I write gets deleted. If everything were my last, I'd be awful darn worried about what my family would find. "It was the last thing she ever wrote... a shopping list. But man, it was the most beautifully written list ever."

While with your first piece there is hope and possibility, an eager excitement and faith that things will only get better from here on out... not to mention that your level of committment and willingness to really dig in to your research and grammatical precision are quite possibly at their peak at the beginning, before you have the chance to become disillusioned or lose your passion.

Perhaps, then, I do want to write knowing and expecting that there will be more. For if I know that I have, God-willing, many many years ahead of me to hone my craft, well then it sure does take the pressure off of trying to make this first post the best thing I've ever done, doesn't it? And besides, dear reader, I would like to keep you around for a while. And if every post is potentially my last, then why would you bother coming back?

So this is my goal: to do each good thing as if it were the first time. Full of energy, excitement, and a willingness to try new things and pick myself up when I fall. And knowing that I've got nowhere to go but up, and I'm ready for every step of the journey.

Why don't you try too? Write as if it were your first blog. Run as if it were your first race. Paint as if it were your first canvas. And just as you'll realize when you start eating, not as if it were your last day on earth, but rather your first, it can only get better from here.