The space between the statement of the task and the completion of that task is infinite. It is the one place where all of our fear and hopelessness exists. It is where we doubt ourselves and find ourselves inadequate. It the space that spits out our evenings as the waste of fruitless tangents, leading to nothing of consequence. It is the back-breaking open ended question of how we get from point A to point B. Even if you know what you are doing, the moments in between the ask and the answer are treacherous. Each deadline is a trap, a complete time-suck that forces attention and eschews free will. We are bent toward the timeline, no matter the cost to sleep or sanity.
And that’s the good stuff.
Without such deadlines, we are nothing. We are aimless and grasping at anything to give structure to the maddening everything in front of us. Without tasks to accomplish, we are never really awake and aware of those around us. We wait and wait and wait. We hope and do not receive. The deadline is a perfect opponent to wrestle. Without it, we are just writhing on the floor with ourselves. We have nothing to reflect upon or accomplishments to be proud of.
It is the submit button that tells our story. It is what we turn in and post that defines us. It is the conduit of information from one person to another that ends up being what ties us together. It suspends us above the precipice of empty days and restless nights.
Even as I maintain my agony over each submission, I know that it is helping me. Every presentation and blog post and email is pushing me forward until I am riding on a crest of contribution and enjoying every moment. The space between action items and due dates also contains all of the people that I want to spend my life with. My children are in that space, always trying to figure out something new, always trying to push some boundary until it is time to go to school or come home or go to the bathroom. My wife is there, ready to balance our home, her studies and her passion for making everyone better than they currently are. My coworkers are there too. And our combined stress of getting things done and rubbing our braincells together is enough to light from one side of the chasm to the other.
I am thankful for my deadlines. I will gladly share them with anyone else who is interested in purpose and moving forward.