Welcome to 2018
Every year around mid-December, I am overcome with a rush of impatience for the current year to end and the new one to begin. For some reason, I, like many others in the world, seem to wait for the beginning of a calendar year to set new goals, bemoan the failure of last year’s and allow myself to base my happiness on expectations (some not so reasonable) that I have for this new period of time that lays before me.
2017 was a difficult year for me. I fought many bouts of severe depression. I had some unexpected and somewhat unwelcome changes in my career. I found myself mid book #2 in my series and unable to finish. My daughter had a terrible car accident which totaled her vehicle and had me summoned to the hospital at 4am. A parent’s nightmare, to be sure. I did not want to go into the new year with a feeling that I would be experiencing more of the same. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity possible to make this new year, this new set of 365 opportunities, the absolute best they could be regardless of what life throws at me. What life throws at us. I think that is where many people get derailed. Including myself. I would start each year with a list of goals and improvements I wanted to make in my life. I would plot out intricate plans and schedules, buying planner after planner, color coding calendars and seeking out new apps for my phone that would help me in the process.
What I couldn’t plan for were all the twists, turns and bumps in the road which the very process of life tosses into our carefully laid out plans. I didn’t need better plans, or even more realistic goals (though it helps). I needed the ability to be more flexible. More Adaptable. I needed to see interruptions to my day’s plan as opportunities. It sounds trite, but I realized I was missing out on what could be exciting or at least interesting, opportunities.
The last week of 2017, I noticed a surge of 100 day videos blowing up my feed whenever I was on Facebook. They were inspirational, motivating and in some cases quite surprising in the results achieved. As a writer, I spend a lot of time with a computer or with a notebook and pen. I’m in my head more than I’m in the world. I want to do and participate in about a hundred other things at any given moment or time, but what I end up doing is a few tried and true tasks that are in my comfort zone. When I was young, I’m not even sure I HAD a comfort zone. Everything was an adventure. Now that I have a family to support, responsibilities at work and at home, my time and ability to take risks seems more limited.
When I was young I was fearless, I didn’t always feel the need to worry about consequences or outcomes, just experiences. Now, I consider myself more careful. I spend more time thinking about what could go wrong, or what obstacles could appear in my path, that I hesitate before taking opportunities which might help me grow. I don’t get as much joy out of the experiences I do have. This is something I’d like to change about myself.
In the course of watching far too many of those 100 days videos, I found myself drawn to this one I’m about to share with you more than once. Not only is this a scary, scary premise for me… opening myself up to rejection and failure for 100 days in a row, I think it is a necessary experience everyone should have. In today’s world, fear seems to play a much larger part in our decisions than ever before. I encourage you all to listen to this wonderful talk and I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences if you decide to try it.
I’m wishing you all a wonderful new year and for those writers out there still struggling to get your manuscript seen or published, I encourage you to seek out rejection and all you will learn from it. Wear your rejections with pride, because they will not only make you a stronger, better writer, but a stronger and better person as well.