July 31, 2016: the final day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I will begin by saying how proud I am of myself. Yes, I am patting my own self on the back. It’s something I think we all need to do more of…and something I have felt too guilty to do in the past.
As I have mentioned previously, this month was not only about blogging every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I also committed (via Camp NaNoWriMo) to writing 20,000 words on a short story project I’ve been working on. I traveled for two weeks of the four weeks this month, one of them to pack up a house in St. Thomas and move our belongings back to Texas; the other was a multi-time delayed visit to see family. I signed up for a 21-day meditation series. And we have a HUGE outdoor project going on in the backyard of our home (seriously, my entire back yard is a crazy mess!). At the beginning of July I looked at all of those things present on my plate and I wondered just what the Hell I had done…
“It is better to shoot for the stars and miss than aim at the gutter and hit it.” – Anonymous
Yet I did not back down. I looked at my schedule. I checked out my projects, broke them into manageable pieces, and then…I dug in. I was not quite convinced I would keep up with everything, especially during the week we closed up the place in St. Thomas. But I went for it. I vowed to myself that even if I missed a blog post (or several) or my word count fell short that I WOULD NOT GIVE UP. I would not beat myself up. Instead, I would pick myself up. I would brush off the dirt and go at it again.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
Guess what? I ended up NOT missing a blog post. I made my word count for Camp NaNo. I meditated every day. I did it despite the travel; despite the backyard project. And it feels AWESOME!
Some of you out there grew up keeping commitments to yourself. I grew up keeping commitments to others, but I did not think highly enough of myself to keep promises I made to ME. I did not learn to put myself first until the decade of my forties (which happens to be my current decade for a little more than another year).
There were times this month when I cut short outings to keep my vows to myself…one of them a farewell dinner in St. Thomas. It was so important that I get my blog posted before midnight, before the 24 hours in that day had passed, that I voiced my needs. I knew it was a difference of only about 15 minutes, but I also knew that I was worth it. I am worth it. And I did post before midnight that night. That may sound crazy to some of you; it sounds a bit crazy to me.
Something important I learned about myself in this month is that the world won’t fall apart or stop rotating if I speak up for myself. In the past, the idea of insisting we leave so I could post a blog to meet a self-imposed deadline, especially one I wasn’t even getting compensated for, would have made my heart pound. I would have broken out into a cold sweat and felt I was being ridiculous. That it was more important to spend the time with friends; that they were more important than I am. And those friends we had dinner with that night ARE important. But so am I. They are good friends, friends who understand (and understood that night) how much it meant for me to keep this promise to myself. They not only understood, they encouraged me and cheered me on.
I am proud of how far I have come. Life is a process…I’ve said it before: we are all constantly evolving. It is how we grow, how we survive…how we LIVE. It is amazing to look back at where I was even a year ago and to see how far I have come. Even more amazing to look back 5 years, and ten.
What I know for sure is that this success is but a mere stepping stone to my future successes. I know that your successes are your own stepping stones. We are all evolving. We are all moving forward, even when at times it seems we are not.
“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” ~Jack Canfield
So go out there, set your goals. Dare to ‘fail’. Learn from those experiences which don’t go your way, and rejoice in those that do. Know that one is not better than the other, for each one teaches us a tiny bit more about ourselves and the journey we travel.