I spend a lot of time in the uncomfortable world that exists between the real and the ideal… a world suspended somewhere between imagination and experience. Perhaps, too much time if I made the choice to honestly assess where I am and what I am doing at any given moment during the day or at night.
That isn’t to say I’m an escapist or that I’m not tethered tightly to the real world. I am definitely not an escapist. I’m not running away from reality. I’m just trying to bend it a little. And, yes, I am tethered to the real world: tightly tethered! But, that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about ways that world could be or should be, either. Frankly, I think we should all be doing a lot more of that kind of thinking.
I’m a realist: a pragmatist. I have to be. I work on automobiles and trucks: or, at least, I did for most of my adult life. Now, I run an automotive repair shop… Or, it runs me! I have employees. I have responsibilities. I have kids: grown kids, but still my kids, nevertheless.
I am a senior contributing editor with two deadlines a month. In other words, I have all the real world anyone could want… or, handle. Maybe that’s why I am continually drawn to the world of “Could Be” or “Should Be:” a world of theory, a world of supposition and conjecture.
So, you won’t hear me complaining a lot. Nor, would I expect anyone to listen if I did. This is where I choose to live.
It is a world of books and magazines and articles and lectures and seminars, written and presented by a host of individuals, most of whom I’m not sure I agree with all the time: hence, the discomfort.
Why do it if it makes you uncomfortable? Well, because… Because, it forces me to think and by thinking I improve the quality of my living: the quality of my life, despite the discomfort. In other words, most of the time it is time well spent and proves more than worth it!
And, the pain? Well, the pain comes from continually trying to move the needle, raise the bar, in my industry: the automotive service industry. The pain comes from continually trying to explain the inexplicable to a motoring public with little patience and less interest; from trying to improve the current reality of shop owners and technicians in a culture that does not appreciate the important role we play in ensuring personal mobility and freedom, and reinforces the fact that I am still here, still alive…
Living between the real and the ideal does something else for me, I guess. It just about guarantees that I will never have to wonder about my existence… The pain is a constant reminder I’m still here, and the other side of that pain; the satisfaction and the joy experienced when you are successful and someone who has read what you have written, listened to what you have said, thought about what you have suggested, joins you in the world betwixt and between because they realize as you do, it is the bridge between the past and the present: a bridge between the present and the future! And, you realize, you finally have a little company!