Aspiring To Adventure

  • This was going to be about commitments, but I got sleepy

    It was a busy, exhausting day, and I had a bit of a meltdown at dinner making time, which is, to be honest, not something that doesn’t happen from time to time.  Parse that sentence.  

    However, I pushed myself to write a bit of content for one of my nascent blog ideas, and to pick up the new book husband wants me to read, and at least glance at a page or two…20 pages later, I’m fascinated by this book.  The author is talking about starting businesses and making money and all that stuff, which is not really my preferred genre for reading, but he’s sprinkling it with lots of personal details and challenges and childhood wounds and stuff like that, which veers the book into more of a memoir type thing, which is my preferred way to imbibe information.  

  • Talking Hangovers, Again

    I did not blog yesterday.

    I also have not formally committed to blogging every day. It’s more like an informal commitment, or something that I will do, like dishes, every day, but if I’m really tired and the day was a lot and I want to go to bed, I will let it go until tomorrow.

    Talking Hangovers

    I mentioned this previously, but I’ll describe it again.

    I met with a friend and was going over my business plans to get his feedback. Maybe his involvement. It was a good conversation.

    Afterwards, after he had basically said it all sounded doable, reasonable, possible…. I walked away slightly less interested.

    Does it all really make sense?

    Did I figure it out!?

    I’ve been trying to understand why “figuring it out” seems to be, for me, often the end of the quest. The knowledge has been attained. Can I leave the rest of it as an exercise for the reader?

    Yet we know that if you want to be healthy, you cannot leave the actual doing as an exercise for the reader.

    If you want to make pancakes, you must actually make pancakes. (This is not a euphemism, I’m just hungry). It’s not enough to know how to make the pancakes.

    And to be honest, I’m very interested in making pancakes, despite the fact that I know how.

    So what’s the problem?

    Is it the goal, or the process that I’m into?

    To be honest, I’m very into the goal. I love the idea of getting to that next level of freedom and possibility.

    The process though? The work feels like… work.

    I associate a lot of this with burning the midnight oil, pushing myself hard, sacrificing… and getting screwed on the other side.

    The numbers of times I have gotten screwed by a combination of my expectations and somebody else’s performance (such as getting a raise or promotion, or having your client keep their word when you extend them a month of credit) has made me extremely hesitant to 100% commit to something.

    And that has definitely showed up in a lot of places in my life. Before this coaching, I haven’t made a firm commitment to hardly anything. My attitude has been “If I don’t have a guarantee of mutual performance, I’m not taking a big chance”. I’ve been hedging my bets on just about everything.

    I still show up, and I try to take things seriously, but I rarely say to myself or anybody else that they can count on me to show up again and again for some period of time or for some result.

    I’m not sure I can even count on other people agreeing to something, since they won’t necessarily do what they say they’ll do.

    I’ve been living “one foot out” for years. Hesitant. Wait-and-see.

    This is a pretty weak stance.

    Can I love the struggle?

    Could I love the hard parts? Could I love the challenge? Proving people wrong? Doing something super amazingly large.

    I start to feel inspired to take action, and get hungry, and go after things.

    But if I land a project at $400,000, who can I celebrate with? That’d be more than I’ve ever made in a year. More than most people I know. What do I do with those relationships? Can I celebrate with them? Will I lose my friendships?

    Does success mean loneliness?

    Do I still think that playing big means losing community?

    This is definitely something to get past, but for the time being I have a commitment to keep for today, and I’m going to at the very least drag myself over the finish line, even if I can’t run, hop, and skip there.

    5 product ideas by end of day. Oh damn, I mis-remembered. 5 product designs by end of day. I have some work to do!

  • A pretty good day

    It’s been a pretty good day.  Baby 1 year old slept all the way till 5 or 6.  I’ve been driving around all day from appointment to errand to drop off to pick up to errand to pick up, which I find exhausting, but every single thing was a good thing that was worth the work.  I’m getting the house ready for Advent, which is my favorite liturgical season.  And we’re getting burgers for dinner, partially because I got home at 4:30 and realized that cooking would probably make me feel a little crazy, and husband happened to be there to see me realize that, and to suggest pizza, which I did not want.  So burgers it is!

    I made time for a shower today, and I made time to post on this blog. Tomorrow looms as another super busy day, but I will make time to write some content for one of my blog projects, and I will make time to read some of this new book that husband ordered about making a million dollars in 12 months, which is totally our (prospective) thing, and which may have elicited a response of “hey, they stole our thing!” from me when he first held said book up for me to see.

    And now. I’m going to go to bed at 8:30. Because I’m that tired.

  • I posted this all by myself! Win! And I made it purple, because I can!

  • Wide Open

    Just when I was feeling super overwhelmed and underwater, it looks like my schedule will be opening up.  

    We will be dropping most of 9 year old’s appointments (and it’s a good thing!)

  • Choosing Overwhelm

    When there’s too much to do, and not enough time in the day, and there’s just no way you can figure out what’s next…. how do you respond?

    Wait a minute!

    Step back further. Are any of the first things I said even ‘facts’? Are they indisputably real?

    We choose, at a very basic level, how we interpret everything. We are creating our own experiences.

    Seeing this is not something that comes immediately. Often, we become aware of our choices at closer to surface level. However, by reflecting and meditating on what’s happening interiorly, we can start to see that we are actually capable of choosing all the way down to the level of our perceptions. What is “a lot to do in a day”? What is “too much”? What is “bad”?

    Do we choose to be overwhelmed? Or do we choose to find another way of seeing what’s in front of us?

    If you’re irritated by this question, I invite you to be curious about your own response.

  • It beats a Zero

    My mom always used to say, about outcomes that might not have been thrilling but were still good (like making a few dollars selling something she made, even though it took way too long to do) “It beats a zero”.

    I decided to write every day, because one of the things I struggle with is perfectionism. Without the “every day”, I won’t ship. A crappy blog post that’s shipped is better than the perfect blog post I never finish.

    I suppose this blog post “beats a zero”. And today, that’s enough.

  • Choosing a stance

    While reading this book Straight Line Leadership, he talks about choosing interior stances.

    What stance could I choose with my kids, who are driving me batty today?

    All of them are having meltdowns. And there I am telling them “The problem is how you’re thinking about this”. Meanwhile I am getting angry because they’re all screaming and not listening to this great insight I have and immediately applying it.

    It’s quite possible to recognize you are choosing something, but not see what you could choose differently.

    He says that until you can see the distinction, you can’t use it, and I am seeing this in practice. I could not quite see how I could be different.

    Perhaps the stance is simply accepting that this is expected and normal and part of parenting – kids whine a lot, they are hard to raise, and I should stop expecting them to be grown-ups (while still aiming for them to become, at some point, grown-ups). To see an opportunity in their meltdown to love them.

    After some time away, doing some errands, I was able to come back and have all the kids help me make pizza, which in our house is a full afternoon of work. There were some complaints and whining, but this time I tried to see this as an opportunity, and the rest of the day was better.

    You can always, at any point, choose something else. It can be turned around.

  • Whatever the muffins I want

    I feel overwhelmed.  I keep getting confused about what this blog is supposed to be about, and husband keeps reminding me that it’s supposed to be about our experience of this crazy year.  So really, I can write whatever the muffins I want, because it’s all relevant.  

    What is my role?  Before we started this endeavor, I was pretty clear on what I was supposed to be doing with my days.  I knew that I wasn’t always scoring a perfect 10 on getting all of the things done, but at least I pretty much knew what the things were.  I was the lucky one.  When husband would voice his uncertainty about what he was supposed to be doing with his life, I didn’t really get it.  I had a whole list of things I was doing with my life, that I had to do with my life-caring for the kids, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling 9 year old, picking up carpool from 6 year old’s school, grocery shopping, toddler-policing, nursing, driving to appointments, etc.  More than enough to keep me busy, and to give me a feeling of purpose.

    But I’m on board with this new vision.  I signed on to be a partner in this money making operation (that sounds wrong, and reminds me of our 6 year old carefully freehand drawing copies of one dollar bills, convinced that he was making a fortune).

    So what exactly is my role…in all this?  Cheerfully watching the kids while husband takes half of Saturday to set up the e commerce website?  I was not that cheerful.  Trying to find something to sell on the internet?  Starting 20 blogs and hoping one of them strikes gold?  Watching youtube videos about SEO to feel like I’m doing something or contributing something?  The guy in the third video said to just get out there and start doing-don’t get bogged down in trying to learn everything first.  Thanks, youtube guy.  

    So I’m trying to find my place, and I’m feeling uncertain and inexperienced.  I don’t like that feeling.  I like to do things that I know how to do.  I like to know the procedure, and be comfortable with it.

    And meanwhile, it’s November.  I am so busy.  And I am so tired.  The days keep rushing by and I keep feeling like I can never get caught up, can never get my house to a state that gives me peace and energy instead of anxiety and a feeling of a constantly draining battery every time I look at a pile of onesies waiting to be stain-removed, a dirty kitchen sink, or the signs of casual destruction that dot the landscape of our home-a pencil sketch on my bedroom curtain, sock bins overturned yet again, and the like.

    So that’s my experience right now.  Confused and overwhelmed.  Tired and kind of grumpy.  

    I’m just going to stop there.  It’s my blog, I can do whatever I want.

    Also, for some reason husband was talking to the kids earlier about how it is possible to drink your own pee, but only once, and then he decided to do some research to find out if that’s true, and he came across some very committed explorers of knowledge on quora or reddit or something.  Very committed.  Look that up if you are feeling like your day is incomplete.

  • Ethical Conundrums

    A good friend texted me to ask about the ethics of one of the ecommerce businesses the wife and I are working on (i.e. is it aimed at a sufficiently good thing, or is there any reason to do it other than making money).

    My first reaction to this (which was actually just him asking the question for himself) was anger.

    I was angry because I used to wrestle with exactly those questions. What’s the point of this? So I build up this business, now what?

    These lines of thinking seem to be predicated on the idea that I will actually succeed at what I set out to do, and that I have some sort of grand control over the universe.

    However, after I collected myself, I thought more. Do we have the same standards for how we spend our time? If something sounds fun and interesting, how much do we interrogate it?

    There’s a word for people who micro-interrogate all their actions and motivations – scrupulous.

    So are we just avoiding getting started, falling prey to more discouragement (which is of course not from God), giving in to “pretty thoughts” (I got this from Metanoia Catholic when they were talking about nice-sounding pious thoughts with terrible life trajectories)?

    I have to conclude, in this case, yes. It’s just putting too much weight on just getting started.

    As long as you’re not doing anything actually immoral, it’s okay to do something just because it sounds fun, and maybe even better, because you might actually be interested in it for whatever reason.

    Maybe you’ll learn something about something, or about yourself.

  • Your actions, not you, have effects

    Remember, it’s the deed—not the doer—that gets you the results that you are after.

    Straight Line Leadership, Dusan Djukich

    All your feelings, all your mental noise, all your fear, all your hesitations, all your talking, all your enthusiasms, all your excitements, all your desires…

    None of those get the results. None of the qualities of the doer get the results.

    Only the deed gets the results.

    The rest of those things may make it harder or easier, but they don’t actually make it happen.

  • Saving the day

    October flew by at a pace which I found perturbing.  Why?  Because I knew that November and December would be even more whiplash paced.  So now we’re here, nearing the end of the year, and I’m wondering where it all went.  

    It’s Thanksgiving.  We usually host, but this year we had planned to go up to my brother’s house, 2.5hrs north of us.  The kids were really excited to see the house (we haven’t actually made it up there since our oldest was a toddler, and to hang out with their uncle, aunt, cousin, and other family members.  And to have apple pie.  My oldest was really set on having apple pie.

    So of course, a couple of us got sick.  We didn’t want to get my parents sick, so we decided to stay home.  The kids were devastated.  At least the oldest 2 were.  The 3 year old didn’t really seem to notice–she’ll probably suddenly realize sometime next week that we had to cancel our plans.  It took her like a month to realize that our next door neighbors/tenants had moved away.  And the baby didn’t care.

    When husband and I realized that our plans had evaporated, we decided to make the best of the day God had given us.  We made a quick plan to cook up a last minute Thanksgiving feast, made a run to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up the missing essentials (the clerk laughed at me when I asked if they happened to have any cooked turkey…apparently you have to order that weeks in advance).  They did, however, have a turkey breast (which we later realized was not entirely thawed) and lots and lots of heavily discounted chicken.  

    We spent the day cooking with our children.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to cook with kids, but it’s kind of a pain.  They do everything wrong, they make giant messes, they swarm you and they fight over who gets to do what.  It’s enough to make you feel like it would be easier to just do it yourself. 

    But lately, I’ve been trying to push through all that mess and annoyingness.  Because on the other side is children who are an actual asset to our organization, and who have the confidence that comes from owning a project.  On the other side is a home where everyone contributes and is appreciated.  

    So I brought my 9 year old into the kitchen with me and told her to make cranberry sauce.  She’s pretty spacey and also likes to feel every single ingredient she adds, but she is also really motivated to learn to cook, willing to work and to do messy jobs, and to put up with all of my ocd control freak overcorrections.

    She made the cranberry sauce.  Then I told her to make an apple pie.  This was a real labor of love (for her, making the pie, and for me…teaching her to make a pie).  She made the crust, adding way too much water after I had told her 3-4 times to stop adding water when the dough had a certain consistency.  She peeled the apples, pausing all too often to eat the apple peels, which she can’t get enough of.  She cut up all of the apples, even though she wanted me to do it, because it’s hard.  She mixed up the filling, rolled out the pie crust (folding it and making it too thick), and assembled the whole thing.  She wanted to add decorations, so I told her to roll out the extra crust very thin and cut out a couple of leaves.  I came back a couple minutes later to find big round pie crust balls around the perimeter of the pie.  It was kind of a mess, but it was wholly hers.  She put it in the oven, dutifully checked on it, then finally took it out of the oven.  She was so proud of that funny, lumpy pie.  She was so proud of herself.

    At the beginning of this whole get out of debt adventure, back when husband thought I wasn’t on board, and was trying to convince me to be on board, he asked me some questions that came from his coach.  One of them was something like “How can husband show up for wife?”  That sounds really awkward without our names.  Anyway, that question got me thinking about how I need to show up.  What I need to do and be if we’re going to accomplish this ambitious goal.  And one of the things I came up with, is that I need to commit to helping my kids become more helpful.  That’s going to be really messy and annoying for a while, and it’s a whole extra thing on my shoulders, when I’m already feeling like I’m drowning in shoulder things.  But it’s worth that big investment, and will have rewards we can’t even conceive of right now.  

    I think in order for them to be helpful members of this family, we have to treat them like helpful members of this family.  We have to give them real responsibilities and allow them to fail…and to succeed!  9 year old made a pie today!  She helped save Thanksgiving.  She joined us in rising to the challenge of making the best of the day God had given.  She should be so proud of herself.  We both did the hard thing and came out better for it.  Today was a win.  Thank you God for the opportunity of today’s illness.

  • Thanksgiving

    In our theme of paying of our debts, I realized that we need to pay off the debt of learning how to deal with our kids at their most difficult.  Maybe they’re not more difficult kids than other people’s kids.  Maybe we’re just more difficult parents.

    And even if they’re the most difficult kids in the world, we love that we have them.  Our life is so interesting and fun because they’re here. They are absolutely hilarious.

    My son this morning has collected all of his maps together that we got for free, seemingly inspired by our current entrepreneurial activity, and has asked me to help him set up a stand outside on the street to sell maps.  He has been trying to sell these maps to the contractors working out back for the last week, alternating between $25 and $50 asking prices, while his older sister yells “Don’t buy those maps, he got them for free!”

    Our 3 year old asks some amazing questions: “Mommy, are there monsters in heaven?  Are there toys in heaven?  Can I see?  Can I see it when we go to there when we die?  Mommy what is the amount of heaven?”  When she was 2, she told me she was going to “toot me outside” (cook) and was going to eat me up.  She’s an insane little munchkin who adds so much to our life.

    I’m so grateful that we have these kids.  If I step back out of the hard pains in the moments, I can see that everything about this life we have is amazing.  

    Can I at the same time that I am striving for something new also truly appreciate my life and operate from a place of peace and gratitude, instead of pushing myself, and beating myself up when I’m tired?

    Can I be truly grateful and operate from a place of desire and abundance?  

    I don’t want to be someone who is annoyingly positive all the time.  I want to acknowledge that things are sometimes not ideal, or hard, or crazy, and help others to see the opportunities in all of our sufferings, and to see that sometimes even our sufferings are truly awesome.

    Everyone always talks about how the hardest times were their favorite times.  When I was having health problems for a bit over a year, my wife and I grew closer than ever before.  My prayer life deepened.  I grew a lot.  I am truly grateful, now, that I had to go through that.

    Can I have that gratitude in the moment?  When it’s hard to see how this is good right now?  

    It’s a beautiful American tradition to call out a day every year where we specifically give thanks to God for our lives and every blessing He’s given us.

    I want to see the blessings that are there all the time, even when they feel like a headache at the time.  To see the good and be grateful for my cold or my screaming complaining kids.  

    Can I live from a sincere place of gratitude?

  • Barely

    “It’s too hard” – the common refrain of my son when asked to do almost anything that isn’t his preferred activity at the precise moment in time, even when those things are actual solutions to the problems he is whining about.

    It is difficult to remain patient in these times.  How can it be too hard, when you aren’t even trying?  

    And then, when he does try, he often finds it only takes about 2 minutes.  All that fighting and resisting and whining and kicking and screaming… for way longer than 2 minutes… to avoid doing something that takes 2 minutes. 

    As someone who has the same exact problem of massive procrastination and avoidance around certain kinds of work, I ought to be more sympathetic. 

    But I’m not.  And perhaps I’m not because the way I get myself to do things when I don’t want to is by beating myself up about it.  “Just do it. Quit whining.  Move already.”  Those are probably the nicest things I say to myself in that vein.

    Today I barely managed to barely meet the commitments I had set out to get done by today.  It was a long week, I was tired, I was sick, and a lot was going on.

    But I got them done.  

    Do I feel good about this?  No, I feel like I pushed myself into doing it.  

    And maybe that’s why I want to push him to do what he should do, instead of whining about it.  Because I see all the same things in him that I beat myself up for.

    I’ve been learning recently that we can choose at a much more fundamental level than I previously understood everything in our life.  

    But I sometimes don’t want to make a choice to see things differently.  I want to make the lazy choice that lets me off the hook for change, that lets the problem keep being “out there” so I don’t have to be the one to fix it.  Sometimes I just don’t want to.

    So for now, I am going to put a pin in it, go to sleep, and hope I get a little less sick and tired.  I don’t want to force me right now.  I don’t want to be operating out of that place. 

    I want to cut myself some slack, so maybe I can cut him some slack too.

  • Strong desire overcomes fear

    I had the conversation I planned to have this week with my boss, in which I was pretty transparent about the uncertainty of my plans for the future.

    Telling your boss that you are not completely sure you plan to keep working at a place is a conversation I would not have had a year ago.

    Why was it possible to do this now? Because I know what I want to do. And if I can keep doing that where I work, I will, but if I can’t then I am pretty sure I am going to leave.

    I am more afraid of giving up on my vision for the next year than I am of getting fired. I have something I really want, and my other fears are starting to become small and irrelevant.

    And that all felt really possible and good yesterday, but today I am feeling under the weather, and had to deal with 2 production incidents in the last 48 hours, deal with a home improvement project and some miscommunications with the contractor, and then my wife is accosted by an insane person at a grocery store parking lot, and… I forget what else. It was a long day.

    To be honest, all of those things are the kinds of things that typically set me up for a funky mood, and a lot of negative energy, and a lot of looking for reasons that I should quit. Because I’m tired.

    But I somehow still managed to write the article I intended to write, and now I am writing this blog post to wrap up the day.

    Quitting doesn’t mean you get to rest anyway. At least not in a restorative way. When you give up on your dreams, you end up feeling more tired.

  • This was supposed to be a travel blog, Part 2

    Life is hard and scary.  Bad things are going to happen.  Hard things are going to happen.  Something big, bad and scary is going to happen to you, guaranteed.  And once you start living your life in fear, it’s easy to find the next thing to be afraid of, and the next and the next, and so on.

    Life has changed for us since that European adventure in 2018.  We’ve added two little ones to our family- we’re outnumbered 2 to 1.  Our kids are, let’s say, unique individuals,  and sometimes trying to accomplish anything feels like dragging a piano through quicksand, with all of the fighting, whining, kid politics, complex emotions, special needs and senseless destruction we have to deal with. 

    It’s easy to feel like we’re spinning too many plates and there’s just no space for another plate.  But I think it’s the same as the fear thing.  When you get used to saying life is too hard or too busy or too whatever…you can always find the next thing to hold you back.  To convince you that your dreams are unreasonable, or imprudent, or too crazy for right now.  When then?  

  • This was supposed to be a travel blog

    This was supposed to be a travel blog.  In fall of 2018, I got the urge to do something crazy.  I convinced husband that we should take our kids (then 4 and 1.5) to Europe.  We thought it might be our last chance for a long time, since European travel might be near impossible if we were blessed with a third child.  It was really hard, and really annoying, and really loud, and extremely fun, memorable, and satisfying.

    We got excited about doing hard things and taking our family on adventures.  We were going to travel, we were going to explore, we were going to share the beauty of creation with our children, and with the world.  We were going to start a blog!  I can’t even remember exactly what we were planning to do, because it all fell apart, and life was very hard and confusing for the next 3 years.

    A month or two after we got back from our Europe trip, husband got sick.  And he was sick for the next year, on and off.  His mysterious health issues took over our life for more than a year.  I was afraid to plan anything, afraid to commit to anything, lest I have to cancel and let people down, or change the arrangements I had made.  And I was afraid he would die.  The mysterious health problems eventually mysteriously resolved, but by then, we were in 2020.  And we all know how that went.

  • Keeping the End in Mind

    Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits lists Habit 2 as “Begin with the end in mind”. This means keeping our end in mind when we set out to do something. It’s hard to do a particular thing if you don’t know what it is, but you will do something even if you don’t know what you’re doing simply by doing at all.

    So if you want to accomplish a particular thing, you must have that particular thing in mind when you begin.

    But this, I am learning, is not enough. You must also keep the end in mind.

    When you begin on a path that is long, it is easy to forget what you are trying to accomplish, and to get off track. To start doing good but less important work. To start doing side quests that feel like you’re taking action, but are not strictly essential.

    You must keep referring ALL of your decisions back to the end you are pursuing, or you will likely end up somewhere else, or end up where you’re going much much later than you could.

    Sometimes, there are long side quests needed. Perhaps before you can start a new business, you need to read a few books about a particular topic. Perhaps you need some expertise.

    But do not be tempted to think that there is no such thing as wasted learning.

    I once knew a man who in the process of trying to learn to code learned 4 different text editors. After he had settled on a favorite editor, he decided he wasn’t typing fast enough, so he learned not just one, but two additional keyboard layouts.

    There is definitely wasted learning that we do – learning that gives us a new skill that does not in any way affect the bottleneck, or attack the actual obstacle that is in our way.

    It’s important to ask “Am I making progress, or just making myself busy?”

    When you can’t figure it out, it’s better to do something instead of obsessing about making sure you’re doing the right thing. But a quick check-in on your plan every day or week can save you a tremendous amount of wasted time, or time doing things that are totally irrelevant to your purpose that you don’t actually need to do.

  • Tired

    Last night 1 year old and 3 year old apparently conspired to keep us from sleeping.  To be fair, we helped the cause by staying up until 10:30 watching a movie.  I got maybe 3 hours of sleep last night, and I feel pretty exhausted.  

    But I took a shower!  And I cleaned my stove.  I worked on one of our business ideas.  I made a whole meal for a family that just had a baby.  I fed my family and rallied the kids to clean their “zones.”  And I wrote my blog post.  Today felt like a fail because we were so tired, but we managed to drag ourselves (or allow God to carry us?) through the discouragement and exhaustion and get a few things done and mostly just not completely lose heart and give up.  So that’s something.

  • Making this blog Real

    If you are reading this blog, you likely do not know that its posts have been living in a Google Doc for almost a month.


    Because rather than put up artificial barriers to the commitment of writing every day, we decided we would just start writing every day, and start putting the posts out when we finally got everything set up.  

    As of this writing, I am still writing in a Google Doc.  

    But now, instead of it being a way to keep momentum, it is feeling like a huge momentous task to transfer these over, and it is becoming less real rather than more real, sitting in this Google Doc.

    As a small act of faith that our efforts are not entirely pointless, we are committing to publish this.

    And if you’re discovering this blog, and never saw this post, you might not have known the compromises we made at the beginning to just get started.  

    By the time you read this, you may never have seen the “Sample Page” in the menu we left for at least a month, the fact that we didn’t change from the default theme for (when are we doing that?), etc..

    It’s so easy to see things done in a finished state, and look at that massive gap, and say “I can’t do that”.  

    A big gap is just a lot of little gaps all stacked up.  If you start crossing each one, you’ll usually find there’s a place in the middle of every jump to land.