I Think I Can, I Think I Can…


“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” –Nikos Kazantzakis

As a young girl, I was not confident at all. I was rather insecure actually, probably not much different than other girls though. We think we are not as pretty, thin or smart as the popular girls. We believe we couldn’t possibly do this or that. So we stay sheltered and safe and don’t try new things. In that reluctance, we don’t find ourselves nor true joy.

Here is the thing with that. Those insecurities carry over into your adulthood if you fail to conquer them when your young. Time generally does not make you more beautiful or fit (without effort). So you age, and if you are not actively engaged in your dreams and goals, you coast through life. You become reactionary and a victim to circumstances. If some of those circumstances were painful, you risk becoming bitter and even more afraid to try.

This is a vicious cycle because the more you don’t believe in yourself, the more you don’t try. And the more you avoid trying, the further away you stay from your true purpose in life.

I know this life. I lived this life. For years, I coasted through life as a zombie, a somewhat successful zombie though. I had a job, kids, a marriage – all the blocks were checked for the great American dream. But I was losing myself. I had no confidence, and I would never have fought for my dreams, let alone even risk trying them.

Fortunately though, I am evolving in my age, like a fine wine. Finally I am realizing, that if I want things to happen, I need to work at them. And there is really no darn good reason why I cannot succeed. Of course, I have had to refit my dreams to adult reality.

The childhood dream of being a gymnast is not really realistic in your 40s. But I can tweak that dream into my goals of fitness. I do yoga, pilates and piyo. I may not be doing back flips, but I can still do a fancy cartwheel or roundoff. And when I am really feeling good, I can even throw in a lovely back bend or the splits. I will not be getting a phone call from the Olympic Gymnastic team any time too soon mind you, but my flexibility allows me versatility in obstacle course races and protects me from injury. I am happy with those benefits!

The childhood dream of writing books was put on hold for so many years, it became a fantasy. It was right up there winning the lottery. But now, I am at least writing and feeling more confident as I test my abilities at short stories, poems and commentary. I even have an outline for a book. I am working as an editor in my civilian job and learning tiny details I never considered. All of these steps are building upon each other and at least heading into the direction of my writing dream. So no longer is my writing dream comparable to a lottery win…it is more like playing skeeball. I’ll keep trying and working on winning, and get some prize tickets along the way. And if I work hard enough, all those tickets might turn into a huge wonderful prize. If not? I can still enjoy the game and little prizes along the way, right?

I suppose my biggest achievement was learning to believe in myself. Without that, no amount of talent can take me anywhere. On the flip side, I have to have the wisdom to gauge my talent and abilities honestly. Sure, if I work really hard, I could publish a book, some poems and some short stories eventually. However, no matter how hard I work now, you will never see my gymnastic floor routine representing the United States. Well, not unless they open a middle-age-woman cartwheel only category. I don’t think many would tune in for that though. 🙂

 

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Dreams are Like Water: Necessary & Fluid


As a little girl, I dreamt of horses and gymnastics, I wished that I could fly and I wrote stories about having telekinesis. (Don’t ask me how the heck I knew the name telekinesis back in elementary school! Perhaps I was gifted and then my brilliance was re-gifted to another child later.)

Now, a few decades later, I guess my life is not actually what the school-girl me wished for, but it is really not that far off considering. Considering what you ask? Well, for one thing, considering reality.

The reality of my parent’s finances determined I was not going to get a horse or gymnastics lessons. Gravity determined that I could not fly. My lack of access to the supernatural world or superheroes wanting to bequeath their powers to me limited my ability to move things with my mind. I know. Reality kind of sucks. Big time. I learned that as a kid.

What I also learned over time was that I could still get those dreams. I just had to work harder, smarter, and shape those dreams around the confines of reality.

As a teen, I volunteered my time to teach little kids dance, ballet, tap, jazz and acrobats. This service allowed me to get my own free lessons. Sure, it wasn’t gymnastics exactly. My short, stocky, flexible frame had missed the Olympic window after I passed the age of 7 anyway. But, with those lessons, I at least learned to do a little bit of dancing and flipping. Even now, I can still manage to do a cartwheel and a back-bend. (OK. Not the Mary Lou Retton I wanted to be, but hey, not bad for a 43-year-old who only had local dance lessons.)

When I got to adulthood, I still could not fly. (I know, you are surprised. ) Well, at least not by myself. I had to be a little more creative. I had to take some risks. I had to dish out a little moola…or deploy. As an adult, I have literally flown though. It was just with the help of planes, helicopters, parasails, bungee cords, and zip lines. Each type of flying is different, but each has had a wonder to it.

I did manage to get my first horse a few years ago too. She is not actually the magnificent pure-breed mount that commands attention, but hey, neither am I. What we are together though, is a compatible team that respects and takes care of each other. We go on trail rides. She walks. I manage to stay in the saddle. We wander through nature. I admire it. She eats it. See. THAT is team work.

Now, as for the telekinesis. This one takes a bit more creativity and work. No matter how many times I have stared at objects, they still refuse to move. Unless of course you count the times people have moved away from me after staring angrily at them. That has to be close doesn’t it? OK, maybe a reach there. But how about when I walk by things and they literally do jump of the shelf and onto the floor? My friends call this clumsiness or karma though. I call it, my-awesome-vibe-on-the-world effect. (Because I wear rose-colored glasses.) But, as I age, the adult-me realizes that I have to tweak my image of the telekinesis. The child-me wanted to move things. The adult-me wants to move people. Yeah. I can do that if you consider moving in some of these categories: inspiring, directing and reacting. I think I have moved people a time or two with my words and pictures. I have moved people into to action with some instructions/guidance/advice/military orders. I have moved people to react to my actions. See. I DO have telekinesis after all.

That’s the thing with dreams and wishes, they belong to you. No matter how you change through life, you can still acheive them. It just takes a little hard work, and sometimes, you may need to change the form of those dreams to reflect the stage of life you are in.

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For the Daily Post Writing Challenge ~ Ice, Water & Steam.