My daughter has been having relationship problems recently culminating in a painful breakup which isn’t quite a breakup.
“I think he’s afraid of getting hurt somewhere down the line, so he’s trying to minimise it by breaking up now” she says.
I’ve heard many similar excuses for bewildering behaviour in the name of progress but being so close to home it just leaves me feeling angry.
“He says he loves me more than I love him” she tells me.
“That’s a line which, when spoken, immediately makes it true”, I reply quietly for my benefit more than hers.
I don’t know what will happen, I just want don’t want her to hurt while everything sits in a mess.
It reminds me of a client who once told me that he felt he should break up with his girlfriend because he couldn’t see himself with her forever so that meant he was wasting time.
The other thing which has been happening this week is that I have been recording and editing a new podcast that I’m launching with my friend Martin. It’s about addiction, recovery, friendship and why we behave in the strange ways that we do.
We recorded it on an iPhone around my wobbly and creaking dining room table. If you’re looking for high production values, go elsewhere, but at least it’s progress.
I used to have difficulty letting anyone see something I’d created until it was just the way that I wanted it, until I realised that nobody was ever going to see anything I created.
The idea that I could let something fly and improve it on the go was a revelation to me in which the experience of something untidy, unpolished and ragged was suddenly full of possibility instead of shame.
I largely have Malcolm Gladwell to thank for this particular epiphany after I read an article he wrote about “Late Bloomers” in the New Yorker and then from an episode in his podcast, “Revisionist History” about the emergence of genius through consistent progress as well as God given talent.
I learned that I didn’t need to be a late bloomer or a genius, but that polishing something in full view was my best way of making it as good as I could get it.
When I go back and read my first ever blog post on 29th June 2012 my writing is so different. I couldn’t possibly have learned to express myself with more freedom without giving myself the freedom to express myself.
So when I’ve finished editing the podcast and launched it I’ll let you know. Just don’t expect it to be fully formed, comfortable, glossy and with an absence of sharp edges. It’s a work in progress, just like your relationships.