Is Progress Even A Thing? (AKA Why I’m Ending “The Man In Progress” Series On My Blog)

Is Progress Even A Thing? (AKA Why I’m Ending “The Man In Progress” Series On My Blog)

The following is the conclusion of an ongoing series within this blog entitled MIP (Man In Progress). After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life, my physical well-being, my romantic relationships, and my writing career. My philosophy was that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one, we inevitably have to improve the other. Today marks the final time an entry into this specific series will be written.

Last week, on my birthday, at midnight, the moon had a bright yellow halo around it encircled with colors of red and blue. I was amazed at the sight and wondered what significance it had that on my birthday, of all days, such a celestial occurrence should happen.

Interpreting omens has become second nature to me at my age, and I find that it doesn’t matter whether my interpretation is accurate so long as it makes sense to me, that’s all that matters.

The sky was, I suppose, showing me the next step in my journey: a paradoxical one in which I am humbled by my insignificance and, at the same time, encouraged with my grand importance. At one point, I might have balked at this confusing implication, but, today, I relish it and fully understand it.

Truthfully, it’s the wisdom locked inside a supernova: grand, yet unassuming; beautiful and ugly; tangible but mysterious; collapsing yet expanding–finite, but never ending.

Why I’m Ending The “Man In Progress” Series

Today is the end of “The Man in Progress” series I first started five years ago on this blog. The goal of the series was to share with you my struggles with relationships, physical health, and career, with the hope of showing how all areas are interconnected with the creative process. But, today, I feel this theme is so integrated into the blog that it makes no sense to keep it separate as a distinct series from the rest of the blog. I am collapsing the series into the rest of the blog instead. From now, these themes will no longer be separate from the heart of the blog.

But before we bid farewell to this long running series, a fan favorite but one that never garnered much viral success, it is good to give a final update on how things have come me along:

Romance 101

Not too long ago a bit of a love story played out on this blog. It fizzled out before it began but what I can say is that I learned to accept that sometimes the flow of life does not include some of the people we love the most.

I had to learn that instead of resisting, I had to accept and let go.

The awkward absence of any true closure to my love story I think is evidence of the fact that the pursuit of closure itself is often a fools errand that just gets you burned the more you pursue it.

It is best to accept the paradox that the person who is significant to you may not hold you in such high regard as you do him–and, therefore, one is reminded that we are both grand and insignificant. What we feel in our hearts is important enough to be felt, but maybe its final meaning is reserved for some later time.

In the meantime, we must accept the mystery as proof that what we want out of life is not as vital as the final trajectory planned by the stars.

Romance often does expand and collapse at an equal rate in all our lives. It is difficult to sustain. Precisely because it is not sustainable. It is meant to ebb and flow, enter and exit, enflame with passion, and then get cool with the spillage of saltwater from the eye’s corner pocket.

I don’t recall meeting anyone who never had difficulties in romance– even those who have been married for decades. Perhaps it’s because difficulty is what shapes our modern romance and not just its ease?

Physical Education 101

I amazed how much I have changed in regards to my physical health. I never thought I would learn how to gain muscle, for instance, and that I would find myself gaining respect for others who dedicate themselves entirely to physical fitness. It is a noble pursuit.

In body, today, I feel more powerful and confident. More healthy and wise. No, I don’t believe I have achieved a body that would be seen as conventionally perfect, but I am quite happy for what I have achieved. I have spent many hours at the gym challlenging myself and seeing how far I can push my body.

This I find is where the joy and love of fitness comes to me: I like to impress and surprise myself with what I am capable of. It often ends up being much more than I myself imagined from my intitial predictably myopic point of view.

Once again in this area of my life: I am both humbled by my own limitations and at the same time awed by my own strength and resilience.

The road to a better body involves the full acceptance of your shortcomings balanced with a belief in your potentiality. If you maintain that balance, you succeed, if you don’t, your hubris could lead you to injury or self torture– either that, or an overdose of insecurity could lead you to physical stagnation that will only further prove to your mind that no amount of physical fitness will ever work for you.

It is best to maintain the wisdom of a supernova: your body is ever expanding and collapsing all at once; try to honor that back and forth, like the pendulum swinging.

Career 101

And what of the aspect of my life that is the most central to this blog, my career?

Well I suppose one can say I have made progress with my writing career, and I have, but at the same time, I feel I’ve slipped back unexpectedly. This is not for lack of trying, it is due to several new circumstances I have yet to share with you, dear reader.

Here again we have the ancient paradox (the puzzle of the supernova making itself known and witnessed): I now feel both closer and further away from the story I wish to tell and get published.

I feel confuzzled and destraught with just how the thing lays there not whispering it’s greatness to me in the middle of the night like it used to. By “the thing” I mean my Novel, of course, and no one more than me is disillusioned by the prospect of me falling out of love with the very Story that seemed the most important to me up until this point.

Every career I suppose has its moments when the shine it used to have fades away and becomes glib.

The apex of anything I suppose is the fundamental understanding that we are not meant to live by one extreme alone, but by both extremes, ever rocketing back and forth between both, and never quite finding sanctuary in either deep peace or deep chaos, in either deep perfection or deep mistake, in either deep love or deep emptiness for lack of love.

And Now Comes The Conclusion To This Series…

We began this series with the notion that progress was linear.

We evolved to understand that progress was indeed circular, then we evolved beyond that to a spirical understanding of our growth… and, at last, today we come to the final conclusion that there is no such things as progress, and that what we think of as “progress” is but a deeper uncovering of who we have always been.

Progress, ironically, is but a single point.

Today, at age 30, I uncovered more of who I have always been and it no longer feels like progress to me but more like a discovery.

At age 22, before he ever became president, Theodore Roosevelt built himself a grand home in Oyster Bay in the the state of New York. It had 22 rooms and cost half a million dollars in today’s money to create.

Did this mean that Teddy knew long before he became the 26th president of the United States whom he would end up becoming? That he was a man who would require a big house to hold his greatness? Was becoming president an act of his own egomaniacally concocted self-fufilling prophecy? Or was it really just him stepping into a grand “home” that was always already built for him? And the real physical home he buot in Oyster Bay but a projection of what was already hidden underneath his minds eye?

Like our dear Teddy, is it possible that we come to this earth having already built our homes long before we have created a life worthy enough to live out in them?

What if progress isn’t progress but just a stepping into the very destiny we somehow knew had been written for us long before we came here?

What if progress isn’t progress so much as it is knowing we are fit to the task at hand because the task at hand was already pre-built for us to solve it?

What if greatness isn’t greatness but the thing we call someone when that someone has recognized that all has been written in some invisible book no one can see, and that they are only now living out what was written there?

….

I will sorely miss this series on the C2C, but I am excited at witnessing a now fully integrated, fully simplified blog, that is returning to its roots as simply a blog about a guy writing his first book and how life keeps getting in the way.

A farewell to this series appears to bring us full circle to a time and a place when I was just starting as a blogger and me writing about life and creativity was enough.

But in a way it only brings us back to a truth that was written in The Book since its start: we are only now just stepping into a story that will be told in the way it was always meant to be.

Much love,

Ollin

Read the entire Man In Progress series by going here.

Buy Ollin's eBook

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