How to evaluate progress in your life.
Isn't this how we all feel sometimes? Progress can seem so slow. It can be so hard to take a step back and say, "Wait a minute! Inching is good as long as it's forward. And look how far you have come!"
I am taking stock now, looking at my blog, my writing, my personal life, my self. I am thinking of all that was hard this year, what has been a gift, what I have learned, and what I still feel compelled to examine.
I used to believe, or more accurately, wanted to believe that everything in life could be easily categorized. And now, ten days out from my 45th birthday, I can see that categorizing life and all that it offers, unlike items in your home or work space, is just plain hard. You can claim a loss but easily find the gift inside that loss if you dare to look. You can admit a mistake and take the time to learn from it in a way you may not have had the mistake never been made. You can say you just didn't do something because you couldn't when really its time has not come. One of my biggest quandaries is trying to determine when I am avoiding something versus simply not being ready for it.
Many of us (me included) like to use the word 'time' as an excuse, but I firmly believe time will
be there for the things we value. What you call forth will come if it is the thing that is supposed to be done. Sure, a little gumption is always required but if the proper space is in your head and a sincere desire exists, it will come. I can apply this to my writing, to crucial conversations I have needed to have, to moments with those I love that I will hold inside my heart until I die. What doesn't get done, I am learning to understand, actually comes from the fact that it feels more like a should rather than an honest desire. Adulthood is full of "shoulds". Being real and honest with ourselves helps us strip many of those away, but it's not easy and part of life is simply fulfilling obligations. Learning to do those with a sense of grace and wit is a goal of mine.
I have also learned that the word "balance" is misleading and can be harmful to your psyche. In a year, you might be able to look at it and say, "This was the year for shaking up my routine. I found a new class at the Y I liked, I read three book, I tried to cook more often." But hour to hour, you do what you can with as much intention and purpose and sincerity as you can. Every day is different and life happens and our responses to it can be as varied as the events that occur. Patterns and predictability are fantastic until the unexpected occurs and you must deal with it. Since there is too much outside myself for which I have no control, the achieving of balance in life is happening more inside my head. Do I need to tell you I have a LONG way to go with this one?
As for writing and blog progress, I wanted to revamp by blog and I did with the help of Jerry Windley-Daoust, a writer and friend who has his own site called Windhovering. We still have a little more tweaking to do here and there, but it's good enough to start on my other goal which is to get some more readers. The stuff Jerry has done behind the scenes of my blog should make it a little more reader-friendly. Tell your friends, share, do whatever cyber tactics work for you. I would like to triple my readership by the end of 2014 and if you are willing to help, thank you! The commenting section is pretty easy, but I will also be looking at Facebook should you want to tell me what you think. I would love to hear!
Finally, I have started my book and have two chapters under my belt. It is hard and I cannot imagine not doing it. Many writers before me have paved the way and I will not lie...I am standing on their broad shoulders and stealing all of their tricks! I have found/created a writing group that has challenged and encouraged me and I feel good and ready and in the zone even when the shitty draft/clunker chapters wake me from my sleep. I love all of it with equal measure.
My intentions and path feel clear and the work load is up to me. At times I feel I have no safety net except for the patient, funny, and ever present love of Big Man and my Things. In moments of panic and doubt, I know deep down that I have all I need inside of me. Now is the time for me to metaphorically click my ruby slippers and come home to myself through this book.
My journey is not a race, and for the first time ever, I feel as patient and persistent as a little inchworm. Here is my homemade talisman, a reminder that I am in it for the long haul and I hope you will keep me company!