Friday, May 25, 2012

The Steve Jobs Garage Phase

It’s not for everyone. Many people are incapable of having a point like this in their life, simply because they have obligations that do not allow it. For many others, such a phase is unnecessary: the life they want and have imagined is accessible to them without growing pains, an uncharted outcome, fear or doubt. Some of us, however, are not so lucky: we are the chosen few that cannot seem to take the easy way in.
Yes, it’s true: I make my life harder than it needs to be. I feel a need to find a path that has not been tread before; that is barely visible through the underbrush; that many can’t see at all, and that even those with a decent weedwacker would avoid. Yes, it’s true: I want to be Steve Jobs, and develop a fantastic idea in my garage.
Okay, maybe I won’t be able to invent the next big technological breakthrough. Maybe I’m just fooling myself that my ideas, my drive and my dream will get me anywhere at all. Maybe I’m not the next Steve Jobs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to the Steve Jobs Garage Phase.
The SJG Phase is where you’re hunkered down with your project. To passerby and people listening at the garage door, it may not seem like there’s much going on. They may not realize that you’re asleep at 10 a.m. because you were up until 4 a.m. agonizing about the next step; that you’re working weekends and strange hours with little to no pay to try and coax your little dream to life. They don’t realize that your dream is finicky and you haven’t figured out what to feed it yet; they may not know that at the slightest upset, it will retreat into its shell, never to be heard from again.
The most dangerous part of the SJG Phase is the mailman; the friend, the family member. They knock on the garage door, hear nothing, and enter. They see nothing they understand, shake their heads and proclaim that you are not making headway. The tiny dream is hiding from them, so they cannot see its glimmer of intelligence or potential for growth. All they see is you, in the middle of your garage, surrounded by pizza boxes, insisting loudly that you have not lost your mind, that they would understand if only they could see.
This well-meaning person cannot understand, but they try to make you understand that there’s an easier way out. You don’t have to live in the garage, they say. Come out into the light.
At this point, you have a choice. You can turn your back forever on that tiny idea and let it die alone in the garage, or you turn your back on your well-meaning friend and let them think you’re crazy. It’s not an easy choice; some have waffled back and forth, running back to the garage to search for the tiny dying idea, others burying the memory deep because it hurts too much to think about it in the light of day.
If you choose to remain in the garage, you shrug your shoulders, wish your well-meaning friend a good day, and close the garage door behind them. It may not be the most hospitable of places, but the garage is nevertheless home to your idea. For what it’s worth, you’re going to feed that idea and watch it grow into whatever the heck it wants to. When its limbs are strong enough and its little heart beats furiously at its own accord, you will follow it out of the garage, and into the light. 

Love and dingy garage kisses,