Lately, my “to-do list” has been taking up a lot of ink. I’ve been doing my best to keep it together and not forget anything important along the way. As I talk to friends and co-workers, I realize I’m not alone; we all have a number of things to do each day.
Taking up a large chunk of our lists are the goals and dreams we have for the future. Yes, there are the short-term goals, such as “make it through the three o’clock meeting without losing it” or “work out three times this week.” Then there are bigger, long-term goals such as: finishing school, finding a mate, getting a new job, starting a business, running a marathon, etc. The problem with such goals is that they require a lot of work and attention; there are many things attached to them that need to happen before we can even imagine the dream coming true. For example, someone in the midst of getting an MBA has quite a bit on his or her plate, just to get the degree. Chances are this person also has a job, family, and roughly six million odds and ends from laundry to retirement savings to worry about each day.
Let’s face it, life is busy. So busy, in fact, that the sheer pressure of our jobs, lives, families, and the daily grind constantly threatens to wear us down enough so that we forget our dreams and simply stop trying. I feel the grind every day as I work and live my life while pursuing my writing goals. Whenever I get discouraged, I think back to some advice my mom gave me while I was in graduate school. I called her one day and complained about how hard it was to balance work and school. I hinted at taking some time off from school to catch my breath. She quickly discouraged me from this, and told me to hang in there. Her logic? She reminded me of a mantra she’s repeated for as long as I can remember, “this too shall pass.” She explained that the time would pass whether I was in school, or not. So, why didn’t I just continue so that in the end, I’d have something to show for my efforts? She also threw in the reminder that it’s often true that the busier we are, the more we accomplish.
She was right. Stressed as I was, I pressed on and finished my program. I think of that often as I try to balance writing with work and life. While I’m often tired and just want to throw in the towel, I carry on, remembering that time passes regardless of what we do. It’s up to us to figure out how we are going to spend that time.
Below is a quote from Paulo Coelho that brings this together…
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
Here’s to going for all of our dreams, and making it all the way to the palm trees.
Today Begins With Yesterday
Today begins with yesterday… sort of a weird way to start the New Year. Isn’t New Year’s Day all about fresh starts, after all? But on this New Year’s Day, as I kick off this new blog… The Great Search Blog… I want you to begin your New Year by thinking of yesterday.
What were you doing at precisely this moment yesterday? Perhaps reflecting on the year and crafting some resolutions for 2013?
Now, I want you to think of last New Year’s Day. What were your resolutions or plans for the New Year?
Chances are they might be very similar to the resolutions you’re making this year. Hmmm, let’s consider my resolutions for 2012. I vowed to spend more time with family and friends and less with technology. I was going to write more and finish my novel. One year later, while I’ve made headway on some of those items, I have to say that my resolutions for 2013 are exactly the SAME! Does that make me the world’s biggest loser? Is it a sign of utter defeat to have basically the same resolutions year after year? Or is it a sign of something else?
For the sake of making myself and everyone else feel better, I’m going to say it’s definitely a sign of something else. It’s a sign that our lives are essentially a work in progress. Realizing this, we do what we can to improve our lives. We all know that there are no perfect days, there are no perfect lives. Yet, somewhere in the human spirit, we have it in us to hope for more perfect days. So…we begin each new year (and new day for that matter) with the vision of better times ahead. This continual cycle of improvement is what propels us forward and leads us to do bigger and better things. It’s what gives us hope when times are tough, and what makes us want to repeat the good feelings fostered from positive encounters and successes.
That is also why New Year’s Eve and Day are such big days for reflecting on yesterdays (365 of them) and deciding what went well and what didn’t go so well. It’s a time for us to choose new goals and make solid declarations of the things we want to have in our lives that we currently lack. It’s kind of like January 1 is our opportunity to begin a search- for the things in our lives we’re missing, from a new relationship or new job to a new outlook or new way of living. January 1 marks the day we get to have a clean slate and move forward.
Each moment we are here on this planet, prepares us for the next one… and, moving forward is what it’s all about. The Great Search blog is here to inspire you to find whatever it is that will make you healthier, happier, and more content. As we move forward in 2013, I wish you all the best on this fabulous journey!