What am I waiting for?


Every so often, I make sweeping generalizations about why I haven’t won Powerball.

(That’s part artistic license, part figurative narration.)

When I started the In My Backpack web site, I designed a section that I called 42. And yes… a bit of a story goes with that…

As Douglas Adams fans know, 42 is the answer. More precisely, 42 is THE answer. The answer to everything. And from that, for me, it became a title for the area that let visitors know what this web site was all about.

In the earliest of days, I included a story in that section about the lottery. More a telling of a joke, if I’m being accurate. A very old and worn and told all over joke, if I’m honest. In brief, it mentioned a man, frustrated when he repeatedly prays for divine assistance to bring home a jackpot and nothing happens, and a God that finally responds it might help if the man bought a ticket.

Years ago, I saw one of the greatest political bumper stickers ever: “Don’t blame me, I voted for fill-in-the-blank.” The idea I loved about it was the “…I voted…” portion. There’s something—maybe a buy-in describes it, maybe even more simply the idea of making an effort—to be said about people that are involved in a process.

And then there’s the idea so wonderfully covered by Mike Rowe in this article. Rowe discusses how people limit themselves by pre-judging scenarios. In essence, they talk themselves out of doing something without ever having actually tried it. And, they use that as a qualifier… official substance… through which they’ve justified not taking actions, while passing off the responsibility of their inactions and failures to another source.

If you’ve been looking around the In My Backpack web site since the beginning, you have been able to look at, literally, more than 1,500 different essays and projects. (Essays… interviews… travel diaries… movie reviews… photo galleries… weekly football picks… 1,500+ different efforts.) Right now, at this very moment, there are more than 500 different essays and posts available.

In the past five years, I’ve assembled, proofread, ripped apart and reassembled, and ultimately released ten books. Print editions. Kindle editions.

I haven’t been standing in one place. I have been working. And yet…

I broke my ankle. Had to rearrange some appearances because of that. Juggled my schedule and a variety of plans because of that. Still feel pain, discomfort, and limitations in my mobility because of that.

We moved. That took up some time. That divided my attention and focus.

Still… looking back, regardless of how I might be able to justify things, I see opportunities I missed. And… I think… that’s something worth exploring, trying to sort out and understand.

Quite often you hear people talk about how acknowledging that there is something that needs to be fixed is a first step. Can’t correct a problem if you don’t see a problem. Can’t improve a situation if you don’t agree with it could be improved.

If I want to win Powerball, I need to get moving and buy my Powerball ticket.

(That’s supposed to be a sweeping, powerful realization there, albeit building on the figurative narration. Filled with possibility, plus the lighting flashes and thunder claps of a sizable aha moment. But… the actual jackpot is up, so… *** NOTE TO SELF *** pick up a Powerball ticket.)

There’s an old cliché about pointing a finger toward someone. You probably know it… one finger at someone else includes three pointing back at you. I do think this journey of self-discovery is one primarily of self-discovery. I am looking toward my own situation. Three-quarters of it, at least. I do think there is some value though in considering how it applies to all of us.

Have our best efforts truly been our best efforts?

Considering the odds, giving everything to a project of yours probably offers a better payout than Powerball. But it’s going to involve making an effort… involve moving beyond self-constructed hurdles and methods of justification without action… and, making the move to buy a ticket.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com