straight line


possibility-concept-images-5When I was in Art School, people used to say, “You’re studying art?!  I wish I could do that…I couldn’t even draw a straight line.

I thought about that on my run this morning.

This morning I ran 3.5 miles instead of the usual 1.5.

I ran slowly…and other than the mental hurdle of running a little farther than usual and it taking a little more time…there really wasn’t much of a difference.

It’s tough to get over that mental hurdle, though.

When people used to say, “I couldn’t draw a straight line”  it was like they were saying, “I COULDN’T…I CAN’T…I COULDN’T IF I TRIED…IN ONE MILLION YEARS, I COULDN’T DO THAT. IT’S SOMETHING I KNOW…DEEP IN MY HEART, I KNOW THAT I COULDN’T DO THAT.”


When I thought about it, the obvious conclusion was that it wasn’t ever a matter of “couldn’t”…it was usually a matter of “haven’t”.

We have very well-defined zones of comfort.

We build our own comfortable cages and feather them in ways that make them easy to take.

And if we do notice them and feel a little chafed, it’s too easy to slap a little “veneer” on the situation and learn to live with it again.

Sometimes minor changes can be a deceptive balm.  A coat of paint, a new car, a freshly mowed lawn….anything to take our mind off the awareness of the “quiet desperation” that pops up every once and awhile.

“I couldn’t draw a straight line.”

That really used to be a common comment.


“Sure you can” I felt like telling each and every one of them.  “You can.”

When we bought our house that we live in, it was gutted.  It was a wreck of a house.  I’m sure it looked like a crazy decision to buy something like that with a young family.

But it was out in the country and it was peaceful and it looked like a “good fit” for us.

I don’t think we knew enough to understand what we’d gotten into when we bought it. Naiveté is a trap and a blessing.

Later, after most of the clean up and rebuilding had been done, someone made the comment that we had “gotten lucky”.

We made our own luck, though.  We taught ourselves to “draw a straight line” and when we finished figuring that out, we moved on to the next problem.

We moved on to the next opportunity.

There is really no limit to what we can accomplish in this world and this life.  There is no limit.  Knowing that is a big responsibility…it’s hard to live up to unrealized potential….easier to make excuses like, “Oh…I’m getting a little old for that” or “I’m too young for that” or “I’m too this…or that..I don’t think I could right now…”

Or…”it’s too ‘spensive”.  (That’s a phrase my daughter repeated early on…not something you want a child to have as part of their collection of phrases.)

We can start from a position of “I can”.

What’s the worst that could happen?  Something might work out?




About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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