In 2010, I turned thirty.
For some people this may mean nothing more than another year of getting older. But, as a person who loves round numbers, and who doesn’t automatically attribute age with physical decay, “2010” and “30” came with their own sense of significance. Something important HAD to happen.
So, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I made sure that my thirtieth year was filled with noteworthy milestones. Eminent among those achievements were that I lost the 20 pounds that I gained when I was 29, becoming as lean as I ever was. And, I finished a story.
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
I’ll never forget the night that I discovered that not only can I do chin ups, but that I could do five of them in a row. Me. A girl who never thought she could do one, so why bother trying. I was elated. I was bursting with a desire to do more, fueled by the idea that I could accomplish anything with enough focus, determination, and pure grit-my-teeth effort.
In that moment, I saw another universe unfold, one in which I attained all the goals that I gave myself simply because I decided to pursue them. I was giddy with this knowledge.
Standing there in the gym that night, I literally asked myself: what’s stopping me?
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
The Litany Against Fear, Dune, Frank Herbert
In my moment of clarity, I had to acknowledge that nothing was stopping me now, and if I thought about it, nothing was ever in my way to stop me from my life goals. Nothing but myself. I was the one stopping me from reaching my goals. By choosing not to act I made the choice not to pursue my dreams.
I was the one who decided that my goals were not attainable. But, I was also the one who can make them attainable.
It was that point that I started to act. I simplified my life. I focused on finishing a novel. And, along the way, I found peace. Despite the challenges, I was content because I knew that I was finally pursuing a goal that I was passionate about.
Though my novel is not anywhere near presentable, it’s finished, a feat that I never thought I’d see. Half a year from my gym moment, I’m affectionately calling my work in progress The Hot Mess. It should be ready for my alpha reader soon; I want to have it beta-ready by February.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
I had so many words to hold on to and encourage me through 2010. Words like…
These words are still meaningful to me, and so I will carry them with me into this new year. Because this time, they hold not only the promise of goals achieved, but also a reminder of the results that come from living without excuses.
That is what I claim for 2011. A whole year of no excuses as I press on toward my goals. Let’s do this.