“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
~ Mark Twain ~
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
~ Mark Twain ~
“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. 🙂
Politics, religion and toilet paper. What do these things have in common? If you immediately thought, people full of…close, but no. They are all connected on differences, the varying differences of opinions that people can have about them that is.
There are donkeys and elephants that seemingly argue about every topic considered, and probably even when considering the topics to consider…or so it seems to this apolitical girl. Then comes religion. This is when you think peace, love and joy would unite people through the disparities. No, it seems to do the opposite. It causes people to divide, fight, and in some cases, even kill. Then a much simple issue, toilet paper, has been known to cause great debate in some homes. Some prefer two-ply and for the roll to spin out from the bottom while others prefer quilted and the roll to dispense from the top.
I admit, life would be a heck of a lot easier if we would all agree and get along. Apparently, this has been impossible since the creation of humans though.
As a child, I quickly learned to avoid confrontation. As an adult, I became skilled at choosing my battles. There were just so many things not worth arguing over. Then, on the other side, there really are.
Critical issues surround life and there are a variety of viewpoints to nearly all of them I am sure. Some people are so set in their views that they cannot even consider another though. And THAT is where the problem lies. Well, at least according to Aristotle.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
I take that statement to mean that to respectfully disagree, you need to be listen to both sides. You need to consider all the angles. You need to weigh the options. Once you have all the facts, and only then, should you consider what viewpoint you prefer. And that’s just the thing, it’s a preference.
I may prefer one candidate over another. I may personally choose to practice one religion over another. However, I still listen to other sides and opinions. Learning about other options helps me widen my knowledge not only about the subject in general but my own viewpoint as well.
For example, in learning about the Jewish faith (from my boyfriend), I researched my own Christian beliefs. I compared some of the differences and read more to see how and why there were different views. In trying to figure out who to vote for, I listened to candidates speak and read on topics. I’ve never chosen a candidate because of a political party. Some years I have selected one party while the next, the other. Frankly, some years that I have voted, I didn’t even pay attention to who was in what party. I just knew that I liked their arguments, stances on issues and appeared the least corrupt option. Never in any of these choices though, do I feel that I am always in the right. I will listen to other arguments and respect them. Why not? I mean, isn’t there always more to learn in the areas of religion and politics? I think so.
Now, as for that toilet paper issue. I can respectfully listen to your debate on quilted versus two-ply. However, if you try to explain the benefits of dispensing your toilet paper from the top of the roll, I will close my ears. I’ve done my research on that topic already and there is nothing really more to discuss. Case closed. Toilet paper that dispenses from the bottom is clearly the superior option. Conversation closed.
January is about hope and change for many people. I am no different. Who doesn’t look forward to a fresh start from time to time?
However, I had no time to start new things in January. Instead, I had to finish up some old tasks. I am no longer a commander in the Army Reserve, but once again a public affairs officer. But before that could happen I had to complete a majority of my pending issues. My huge 824-page project at my civilian editor job had to be completed, and I am now ready for a new assignment. My crazy hectic travel schedule between the two jobs is now over as well. (At least for a while anyway as my new Reserve position will require some occasional travel.) Though eating out was fun during that here-and-there living, I am looking forward to some time at home. I am excited about getting into a new routine and eating healthy again. I look forward to organizing my office/exercise room that still remains in boxes since moving to my new house. I am looking forward to some order in my days, some calm.
It is like February is my January. It is my time to start fresh, reorganize, unpack and create a new routine. So as I wrap up this January day, I think – Happy New Year. Anything is possible as long as I take it one step at a time.
Do you have any new routines you are starting to make?
For Writers’s Quote Wednesday
Be Writing on Wednesday
Life hasn’t always been easy. There have been ups and downs. Sometimes the downs were so low that I never thought I would survive, and at some moments I thought, I didn’t even want to. Fortunately though, I have always hung … Continue reading
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