It's amazing how many times I remind others in my life with the oft-repeated, terribly cliched mantra, "one step at time"/"one day at a time."
Yes, these words have been spoken so many times that they lack meaning. But you cannot remove the truth from them. The best way to keep from getting overwhelmed, preventing your brain from switching into overdrive, that anxiety from hitting panic level, is to pull back and focus on "what's next" and only "what's next."
For instance, I found out Thursday evening that the Beckett Vintage publication with my article was out on newsstands and had been delivered to subscribers' homes. I could feel the urge rise within me: FIND A COPY NOW!
One step at a time. This isn't the right time.
I had a long drive ahead of me on Friday. The desire to hunt for the magazine at every potential stop along the way was strong. Instead, I took a deep breath and calculated the best chance for success. On the way back, I could take a slight detour to a Barnes and Noble in Syracuse and looked for the magazine. That's where I found the copy above. And then I bought three more copies. I'll write more later, but the point is I was willing to take one step at a time. If I had to wait a week to see the publication live, then I would have waited. You know how many years I've wanted to write for a magazine? A week won't kill me.
Where does this patience come from?
Well, it hasn't been easy. But there are two major points in my life that have helped me.
First, I work at a daily newspaper.
For seven days a week, 365 days a year, more than 25 years, I have helped create a paper for the news rack, the front steps, the bird cage. Many of those days and years, it has been my mission to produce the sports section for that paper.
Because there are many elements that go into producing a daily sports section, I am required to think about that daily task alone. I can't think about Saturday's paper when I'm working on Friday's paper. Friday's paper takes all of my energy. I need to take it one paper at a time.
Second, I collect cards.
Specifically, I collect sets. Large sets. Old-school sets and old-school collecting.
Do you know how much patience is required to collect a 700-card set, to not be tempted to buy the whole set at once? To know that collecting a set that size could take months and collecting a vintage set that size could take years?
I accept that. I appreciate that. One step at a time. I'll get there. It's about the journey. You've heard that phrase a few too many times, too, right? But that one contains truth, too.
I received these three cards from P-Town Tom of Waiting Til Next Year recently. The two Fleer cards go toward my 1981 Fleer set, which is down to the final few wants.
The Yaz card is miscut. I knew that before Tom sent it. It's pretty much a space-filler card for me, and if I wasn't a long-time set collector, if I had a little less patience, that might bother me, and I'd run right out and order a more-centered Yaz immediately.
I'm not doing that. Because I have the mentality of a set collector. The right moment will come. The right card will come. Both will arrive together.
P-Town's envelope is just one of many piling up on my desk. It's a bit aggravating that I can't get to all of them in a timely manner. But what is timely? A preconceived idea of time created by my brain. I don't need to post those envelopes a week after I get them, or a month or whatever. I will post them when the time is right. I'll get there. One step forward at a time.
The same deal with cards I need to send out. That side of the desk is an even greater disaster. I'm starting to get concerned that I am going to forget to send cards to people. But that's the anxiety-addled part of my brain, not the patient part. I know I'll get to those packages all in good time.
The same goes for all my other collecting duties. Answering emails. Posting promised series and countdowns. Filing and organizing cards. I am confident that they will be completed when the time is right.
Here is the right time for one of those:
I have written two posts recently that bloggers have turned into Blog Bat-Arounds, and I mentioned, for at least one of them, that I'd promote those posts.
The first are The Reminiscence Bump posts. Those make for some good reading. Here are the blogs that have written their own reminiscence bump posts. I may have forgotten some, so if I did, please let me know in the comments and I'll update this post:
cards as I see them
Baseball Cards Come to Life!
The Chronicles of Fuji
Baseball Card Breakdown
The Collective Mind
Also, a few bloggers have spun off from my Thinking Exercise post and figured out which player from each team springs to their mind first. Here are the ones I've seen so far:
Tony's Sports Pub
The Chronicles of Fuji
The Raz Card Blog
So, there. I've gotten a few things done with this post, just like I knew I would ... eventually. I was just waiting for the right time.
One step at a time.