The Bus of Life

In my experience, life's opportunities are like buses. You wait for ages for one and then three come at once.

When I was a kid, catching the bus around my local area and occasionally into the city was a regular occurrence and one that I delighted in back then, not because I was particularly fond of sitting in the bus on the way to my destination or waiting for said bus to arrive, but because I made a game out of the irregularity of the buses in my district which made the journey ultimately more adventurous and I'm sure interesting for passing motorists.

The game went like this - If I had to wait more than ten minutes for the bus according to the timetable, instead of waiting for the bus to arrive, I would attempt to outrun the bus, stop by stop and see how far I could get before the next one came along. Often this had great benefits because it also meant that sometimes I saved myself a full dollar eighty in my cause for improved fitness and legal fare evasion. The looks I got from passing motorists weren't bad either. For every sidelong glance or turned head that passed I felt like I was achieving something great for myself and myself only. Woman alone!  In charge of her own morning!  I was not going to wait for my life to pass me by waiting for some stupid bus, no-siree!

As you might imagine, more often than not I would miss my bus while in between stops and end up running as late as half an hour for school, but there was a good, sane reason behind all this avant-l'école gaming and carrying-on.  That being the rush I remember getting on those occasions when I almost missed the bus but just made it, through my own self will and by the power of my 13 year old spirit to sprint at full tilt to the nearest stop to beat the bus rounding the corner a few metres behind me.

You may think as you read, that this is the game of a madwoman, or a lost teenager not yet having found herself or her purpose, but I believe there is a lot to be said for hitting the ground running.

Some good things happened to me on those runs. For the times I did make it to class on time I felt elated. My morning run was out of the way and I was ready to tackle the day ahead with gusto and the knowledge of already having achieved something. Sometimes a pretty funny conversation ensued with the drivers who'd seen me on the run and I'd feel like I'd made a friend. Due to the irregularity of the buses, I still remember a handful of times I actually made it (usually sweaty and panting) all the way to school which was about 5 kilometres up and down some pretty gnarly hills.  

Buses aren't the only irregularities in life. Even though I've moved away from those places and suburbs I used to frequent as a teenager and I no longer play my old games of cat and mouse with the bus, the habits are still there.  But these days they tend to take shape in my approach to my creative work.

I have found that waiting for the bus, in this sense, usually leads to more waiting and slower bus rides - if you get my drift.

If "running between stops" is about being proactive and doing what you can; where you are; with what you have; from a place of optimism, this motto has worked extremely well for me on many occasions, not to mention creating much needed momentum in my practice in those times when the market has been dry and the artist call-outs few and far between.

By keeping on the front foot rather than sitting around watching my email inbox, I've found that eventually those opportunities that have particular significance for myself and my practice do find me between the other work I continue to apply myself to. It's true, as many of you will have deduced from reading my blog, that this approach has had its fair share of challenges and misgivings, but for all the ups and downs that have come out of running flat out and 'missing the bus', it's still the most exciting, energy-inducing way to get to where you need to go. It's like a magnet for attracting like-minded people and growing your business whether you're an artist or otherwise. They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. I believe pushing hard and staying flexible when it comes to using your time wisely - and pursuing the next stop rather than waiting for the next bus to come along - puts you in a way better position to catch that bus when it does come. In the meantime, put your effort into what enriches your life and makes you happy.

It's in those moments of running for the bus as a teen that I learned to take my life into my own hands.

Certainly it's had its messy moments - its sweaty entrances and bad hair days - but in the long term, this modus operandi has served me extremely well and continues to do so when it comes to getting me where I need to be and keeping me sharp while feeling satisfied with my choices on the road to my destination.

In short - Never wait for the bus.