Welcome to IDK’s first bloggy blog! Instead of talking about the random bullshit in my life or the on-goings of IDK, I hope to actually write about something a little more focused. This week I’m going to start on the idea I call, “The Fear of Finished”.
The “Fear of Finished” is simply the fear of being done. It is something that tons of people fight everyday. Not just artists or creative types. Everyone, at some point, in some capacity will experience this paralyzing terror. It’s in our work, our play, and our relationships. I will attempt to talk about all of these, but first let’s get to work!
The Fear of Finishing Work
Who fears finishing work? I can’t wait to finish and get the hell out of here!
Escaping your chosen hell for the day isn’t exactly finishing, but I see your point.
I didn’t choose this job—
Shhh. Yes you did. That’s for another day though. The grown-ups are talking now.
So onward then! The fear of finishing work is a combination of fallacy and insecurity. We see these examples best in the fear of commitment, the fear of judgment, and the fear of emptiness.
The Fear of Commitment
The fear of finishing work stems from the fear of commitment. Labeling something as “finished” is making the commitment to never revisit or edit that piece of work again. Those indefinite commitments of “never”, like other commitments of “forever”, are terrifying! And with good reason, I mean what if someone finds a mistake and you can’t go back and fix it? Or if your skills increase and now you know you could “do it SO much better!”? If you have grown through the course of this project, GREAT! That’s the idea! Put those awesome new skills to work on the next project instead of torturing yourself with the failures and struggles of the past. People will only really care about what you did recently anyway. But that brings us to the next topic!
The Fear of Judgment
This fear of judgment of a finished project is why we have the phrase, “Yeah, it’s okay, but it’s a work in progress”. Bullshit you non-committal pussy! No one wants to call it finished out of fear of hearing, “That’s it?” either from ourselves or from “critics” (friends, family members, random people who mean nothing to us until they say something negative about our work). Fuck ‘em! Sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we do this work in the first place. But what do we have when we finally lay our project down to rest and call it finished?
The Fear of Emptiness
The fear of emptiness is caused by the logic that states, “If working on this project has caused me great joy, then not working on the project (through finishing it) will stop that joy”. This lack of joy from ceasing the project can cause a great emptiness within ourselves that we tried to fill with that project to begin with! It is possible to combat this with a novel thing called the Sense of Accomplishment, but most people are not content with that for too long. Something positive like that might, I don’t know, raise our self-esteem or quality of living? Horrible stuff really. The fear of emptiness is also a fear of finding our next project or next job. As creative thinkers, we can create our next project or next job just as easily as the first one! But what to do? This can cause anxiety because there are so many options. Endless, indefinite options! And as we covered before, indefinite things are scary, right? You’ll figure it out.
Finally, the fear of finished is rooted into us as human creatures, because finishing something disrupts our homeostasis. We want to keep working on a project because we feel comfortable and safe within those boundaries. Finishing a project means that we will have to start something else, which is really the common fear of the unknown. “What’s next?” This question finds its way into every moment of our work, play, and relationships. Of course, the project we all really fear finishing is the project of our lives.