For the past week or so, I’ve been dying to write. There have been a few ideas that have past the floating around phase. They’ve stuck to the sides of my brain and are now starting to take form.
But it seems that right now, they’ve stagnated in the soil, caught somewhere between being seeded and breaking ground.
Ideas are like a gallon of milk. They come with this sell by date printed on them. Which is great as it lets you know exactly how long it has. If you’re feeling froggy and take good care of it, you can squeak out an existence that lasts a little bit longer than suggested. But then the clock starts ticking down and you have to use this whole gallon of milk you never really asked for. So you take it out and open the lid, pour a little into your coffee. You feel good that you used enough to justify having it. Then real life calls and you walk away in your overexaggerated glory and leave it on the counter.
The problem comes because if you leave it out and unattended, it’s going to ruin. It’s going to turn rancid and congeal and you won’t be able to use it for anything. And it’s going to happen quickly. Room temperature is the perfect atmosphere for mold and decay, not development and creation. So when you do finally get back to it, it is too late.
Because of the speed, these things happen, sometimes it catches you unaware. You raise the cup to your lips and your mouth waits for the familiar feeling of what it knows it right. You take that taste for granted because it’s always been there right? Why would it change now?
But it has and it’s horrible.
At that moment you feel poisoned and ruined. In a voice not quite your own, your brain and body scream out about your stupidity.
“How could you let this happen? It was a full gallon of milk! Fresh and wholesome, full of function and opportunity. And you wasted it. You wasted it! It was there in front of you and you let it go bad. You let it go bad because you’re not responsible enough for this. You thought you were. How hard could it be? Millions of people do this every day. You had it and it was right there and you let it go to waste. Why are you so wasteful? You’ll never get this right.”
So you stand there, stomach and soul aching from the foulness you’ve just endured. You want to blame someone. You want to blame the fifty million things you have to do in a day. If those damn responsibilities would just let up, just take a break, you wouldn’t have had milk to worry about putting away. You would have used it to make something wonderful.
You want to blame the people that kept pulling you away. Didn’t they know your attention span is short? Why aren’t they the same safety net for you as you are for them? You want to blame the very person that told you about milk in the first place. Why would they ever introduce you, of all people, to something so fleeting? Didn’t they know much talent you lack and how unqualified you are?
Finally, like a child after too many spins on the merry go round, you retch. You heave. You purify the pain from your stomach and mind. Yes, you hold some blame. But really, life is life. Fleeting things have a timeline that doesn’t regard human plans. The milk doesn’t care you didn’t use it. The emotion you assigned to it and its subsequent loss was all from you. It wasn’t all yours, but it all came from somewhere inside of you.
The thing we don’t remember until the worst of the event is past is that at any time, free of charge and blame, we are allowed to pour out what’s not good for us and flush it away. There’s no need to hold on to things that have reached their sanctioned time limit. Especially if the limit was set by you.
Take care of your ideas, dear readers. But remember, don’t let their loss define you. Crying over spilled milk is fruitless. Crying over soured milk is too.
featured image credit: Photo by Noemí Jiménez on Unsplash