In his book, Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey recalls the time he told father that he was going to become an actor. His father’s reply, “Don’t half-ass it,” surprised him. McConaughey took it as an affirmation.
“A job’s not worth doing if it isn’t done well,” is a statement credited to Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield in the 17th century. This declaration and the response of McConaughey’s Dad contain elements of the same decree to follow through when making a personal commitment.
Being in my rig is a lesson in not half-assing it. If I half-ass my water supply, the toilet doesn’t flush. If I’m not plugged in and I half-ass my attention to battery charge, the electronics that control the refrigerator don’t work. If I half-ass my attention to tree branches, my exterior gets scratched. If I half-ass my awareness of my diesel exhaust fluid level, the rig won’t progress any faster then 5 miles per hour. I’ll not fail to attend carefully to these jobs.
Not half-assing it requires more than intending to engage in a task or accepting a responsibility. It means committing to its fulfillment. I’ll use friendship as an example. Having good friends and being a good friend are at the top of my priorities. My friendships are a matter of choice, not utility. My relationships give me perspective that is different from what I gain from time alone. The people with whom I surround myself shape my life. My friends can double my fun. The satisfaction and love that I derive from meaningful friendship outweighs what I put in. During this first month on the road I’ve spent time with 9 different friends. I don’t know where the credit for the following statement rests but I love what it asserts… “The non-goal oriented time we spend messing around, doing nothing in particular, and simply being together with friends has about as much impact on health as quitting smoking cigarettes.” I’ll not half-ass my friendships.
I’ll also not half-ass what I need to do to feel good. I’m no good to anyone else if I fail in the self-care department. Self-care leads me to consume mindfully, to speak carefully, to lead an active life, and to be contemplative. Writing about my experiences is an act of self-care. It gives me a record of my journey. Maybe later I’ll reread what I wrote and it’ll serve me with wisdom. The extent to which my blog influences others to care for themselves better is out of my hands, but I don’t think that it hurts. I doubt that Matthew McConaughey’s father could have imagined that someone like me, upon learning about what he said to his son, could have been so inspired. It’s a calling to keep writing because every story shared represents a chance to say something that might have meaning for another.