“This is it, day 31! You’ve done it! Congratulations. Write about what it feels like to finish something, to be victorious in a goal. This was a marathon, not a sprint. Who cares if you missed a day here or there, or if it took a little longer than you expected? The point is that you finished and that’s worth celebrating. So write these last 500 words with joy, knowing you’ve run the race and done the work. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.”
I like that the prompt today encouraged me to celebrate, even though I took roughly a ten day hiatus with blogging after consistently writing for about 26 of the scheduled days. It was just the amount of grace I needed to feel like I actually accomplished what I set out to do with this challenge.
Challenges and goals are funny things, because I think we all go into them with certain expectations on how we want things to go. I wanted to write every single day, come hell or high water, and only then would I feel accomplished. I might as well be consistent with things every day since all I do is work; my free time should be solely dedicated to accomplishing goals.
I’m pleased to report that my daily writing, which I was doing based on an abundance of alone time, was hijacked by a surprisingly busy and social few weeks. For the first time in a while I was actually going out and spending time with people instead of pensively clacking away at my keyboard. It’s good for me to be relationship oriented instead of always measuring myself with goals; that goes for my interactions with writing as well.
When it comes right down to it and I have a chance to write, if I’m looking at it as a goal that only needs to be accomplished, I miss the pleasure and joy that I usually find in just naturally and candidly expressing myself. I don’t want to spend time writing, I want to check it off my list; I think that attitude doesn’t bode well for my writing career any more than it would in any other sort of relationship.
I haven’t spent enough time in recent days meditating on where I want to go from here in my writing. I have this idea of twice weekly topic blogging, but have yet to really hash out what I want that to look like. I think re-reading the prompts from the past 31 days to see what really made me come alive and just unapologetically focus on those things for my bi-weekly blogs. We’ll see!
Meanwhile, I really do celebrate getting through this. I started strong, lagged off and came back at the end, and for my personality that’s a really difficult thing to endure. I’m fighting the perfectionist in me that’s trying to control my every movement in life. A job well done is one thing; refusing to finish a job because you stumbled or stressed along the way is another and that’s not the kind of legacy I want to leave behind in life.
For now, I am here. I finished! I made it. And I am thankful. It’s a small accomplishment, but I appreciate the relationship I’ve developed with writing more than anything else. It’s something good, so I celebrate that.
“Remember when you were young? You shone like the sun.” – Pink Floyd
Write about childhood. Write about ignorance. Write about dreams and hopes and when you still believed in Santa Claus. Tap that part in all of us that remembers what it was like to be innocent. Don’t speak to the jaded adult; communicate with the child within and help us find that person again.
Greetings from the slacker; suffice to say, I’ve put these last two blogs off long enough. Thanks to some encouragement I’m back on track for the moment.
I feel like I’ve touched on innocence a bit in a previous blog in this challenge (write a letter to your younger self) but I feel like I could go on and on about the innocence of my younger years.
I was raised pretty conservatively (not on the level of the Duggar family though), heavily involved in youth group, home schooled, seasoned with the purity culture movement and didn’t start listening to mainstream music until I was about fifteen or sixteen. I didn’t hold a boy’s hand until after that. I don’t think I even looked at Victoria’s Secret, let alone walk in, until after that because of some sort of well meaning, but misplaced ideal about modesty. I never really felt afraid to be anywhere because it never really occurred to me that anyone would have less than honorable intentions towards me.
It’s interesting–when it comes to innocence I find myself automatically measuring it based on the lack of knowledge and experience during my early to mid teen years. I know I was uncommonly unaware in many ways for my age, so it’s an easy reference point. There’s more to innocence than the absence of immorality, though. There’s this whole other wonderful side to it that gets overlooked because we spend so much time defining things by their negatives.
I played with Barbie dolls until I was thirteen years old and no one made fun of me because I was the oldest of three girls and it was normal for me. When I was I was fourteen, I would have sleepovers with my besties and we all wore t-shirts and jeans and giggled over boys from youth group together. When I was fifteen, the same friends and I went to Driver’s Ed at school and celebrated at the end of it all by getting a hotel room and staying up late watching M. Night films and getting sugar hang-overs. When I was sixteen I started community college and I wore pink cardigans and baggy jeans; boys never looked at me and I wouldn’t have even known how to spot it if they did. When I was seventeen I spent all my free time between jobs down at St. Matthew’s House with dad and all the homeless guys and they were kind to me and treated me like their own little daughter. I didn’t understand the stigmas that people had for the “down and out” people–I only ever saw people because that’s what my dad saw. When I was eighteen I felt real love and heartbreak for the first time and I didn’t even know how to protect myself because I hadn’t developed a hard exterior yet.
The list goes on and on.
I was allowed to experience my innocence to the fullest; I was given permission to let it flavor every area of my life and it wasn’t taken away from me at the upsettingly young age that it is from most people these days. I was a giant dork, but I cherish it because I was allowed to be and was surrounded by people who accepted me as that. I wouldn’t trade that for all the cleverness and self preservation skills in the world.
Currently laying in that stillness that comes from being the only one in the dark living room, wrapped in the faint light of the TV screen. David Bowie is peering at me from behind the word ‘Labyrinth’. The fan has a steady and low hum. I can hear the dogs stir on the floor every so often. Dad was out here earlier; I could hear him crack open a Mountain Dew (his favorite) from my nest on the couch. I can hear the rain, gentle and soft outside the window.
I love couches–I think they’re the most lovely places in the world. I find so much comfort in a good stretching-out, couch rest.
There’s been so much going on behind the scenes for me lately, which so many new things and things up in the air that it’s a wonderful change of pace to sit still and just wonder at it all.
My dance showcase is this Friday, which is amazing to me because I swore up and down that I’d never do it. It also means it’s almost been a full year of lessons, so who knew that casual trip would amount to this journey I’ve been on.
I’ve almost made it the full 31 days here, which is exciting and now I just need to get my game plan together for the future of my blog.
I’ve reconnected with some people this past week; I’ve been so social I almost don’t even recognize myself. But it’s not bad–I’m excited about things again. Maybe I’m not as big of an ice queen as I thought. That’s all I can say for now, but it’s been very, very good.
There are a lot of options for the future too. And really, if I’m being honest, none of them are bad. I know I feel like things have to be a certain way, and I have to do certain things, but I’m surprised by how much I’ve grown to like things here. It’s all sort of vague, but maybe we’ll expound on it later.
I guess all I’m saying is that right now I’m enjoying this really excellent balance of excitement for the future (whatever it is) and a calm contentment for how things are now. I’m blessed and I’m in a season (eat your hearts out, I’m using Christian-ese non-ironically) of knowing that I’m blessed and being able to see it. It’s not forever, and there will be more dips to come on this road, but right now-things are looking pretty lovely. Everything is temporary, though, so I’m going to glean whatever I can while I’m here.
So this is an “I’m thankful for right now” post. I know Jesus is behind it, as he always is. It’s just so much easier to see it right now–and I say those words because it’s usually so rare that I get to say them. Remind me of that next week or next month when that belief is challenged by circumstance because it will be.
Thank you, Jesus. I’m deeply appreciative of the fan mail this week.
“A little morbid, but this is an important exercise. Without a life to write about, the words we craft become somewhat empty. How are you living a story worth telling? Imagine what someone might say at your funeral if you were to pass away unexpectedly. What would you WANT them to say? If that day were today, what would you regret? So take some time and write the ideal eulogy and then go live like that–make it true.”
Nothing like thinking about death on a Sunday morning.
What I Would Want People to Say at My Funeral
I would want people to remember me as a bringer of light. I want to be remembered as someone who brought life and energy and joy to whatever place I found myself; but I want to be remembered as being honest when days were difficult. I want people to be able to say that I was kind to others and looked for ways to reach out, even when people were emotionally prickly. I want to be known as consistent and dedicated to those in my life who mean most. I want people to remember me and think, “That girl knew how to love”.
I want to be remembered as someone who was honest. Being joyful and positive as much as possible, but counterbalanced by an ability to connect authentically with people from all walks of life, regardless of issues of orientations or race or religion. I want to be remembered as someone who loved Jesus and in turn knew how to love others. I want to be remembered as someone who was a home and a safe place for others; someone who could help others feel less lonely and less lost.
I want to be remembered as someone who wasn’t scared of life, but would still try new things even if she was. Hopefully my life will could be an encouragement to someone else who struggles with worry, fear, anxiety or perfectionism that you don’t have to let that stop you from drinking in all that life has to offer.
I want to be remembered as someone who didn’t try to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’, but a catalyst so those previously silenced can speak for themselves. I want to be remembered as someone who worked the background, while pushing the real heroes to the forefront. I never want anyone to remember me as someone who was afraid to get my hands dirty or do the hard work that needs to be done. I never want to be remembered as the one vying for the spotlight. I want to enable others to fulfill the roles that God has given them.
I want to be remembered as someone my parents could be proud of raising, and my sisters could feel proud to look up to. If I think I’ve ‘saved the world’, but my family doesn’t feel proud of me or like I love them deeply, even to the point of death, I’ve failed.
I want to be remembered as someone who followed Jesus, and listened to Him, regardless of outside pressures from the world and from the church. This is possibly the biggest desire I have; let me be real. I don’t want to be perfect, but I want to be real and to be close with Jesus. That’s the only way that all this other stuff will come together, anyway.
I want a lot of things to be remembered about me, but I’m not sure how close I am to being there. Some days I feel so far from all of this, but I’m thankful that (for now) I have time to grow and work on thing things I feel are currently out of reach. I’m a baby yet, and there’s (God willing) a lot of life left to live.