Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's holding YOU back?

     As you know I have been on a big introspection kick of late.  Thinking a lot about my goals and dreams and how to reach the goals and how to re imagine my dreams to fit the curve balls life has thrown my way.  You already know about my goals for the controllable part of my health.  Did you know that when I was a kid I wanted to be a writer?  I didn't quite know what that meant but I imagined myself sitting at home clacking away on my typewriter creating stories like the ones that I loved to read.  I also wanted to be an actress.  I spent a lot of time, while reading those amazing books, imagining different ways that I could say the words on the page.  Being a military brat and moving all the time gives you ample opportunity to reinvent yourself and acting would give that opportunity on a regular basis. Inside I knew that acting was a very long shot so I kept going back to writing.   I imagined myself living in a city somewhere, just me and my pets, writing all day, eating dinner out every night, wearing designer duds and just plain being "fabulous".  Think Sex and the City from a teenage, 70's and 80's mind. Then life happened and I tucked those dreams away with my childhood. 

     Fast forward over 25 years and here we are.  I have been married for 25 years, raised a pretty terrific young man, worked hard, at times played equally hard, and have tried to live my life without regrets.  Are there things I would do differently?  Absolutely, but I only have one regret- and that is not making the move out here a)while I could have spent more time with my granny and b) the "child" were younger and would have had to come with us.  I have learned some very hard lessons along the way but they are just that- lessons that have shaped my life. 

     One thing I realized this weekend is that while I will never be 25 again and 45 is approaching faster than I would like, though I will never be Nora Roberts or James Patterson, Steven King or JK Rowling, I have written and published an article in my college magazine as well as my little e-book, I have written this blog for over two years now with no designs on stopping, and I have another e-book ruminating in my brain.  It looks like I have, while just doing something that I enjoy and without really thinking about it, fallen back into chasing that writing dream.  The only twist is that I have been working in the non-fiction arena rather than writing that Great American Novel.   

     While I was working through this goals and dreams thing this weekend I was wondering what it is that stalls my progress.  In terms of my goals, it would be easy to "blame" my RA and my Fibro for not exercising- but that would be a cop out.  Yes, my illnesses make it very hard for me to get out there and exercise like you see them work out on The Biggest Loser or Heavy, but that has nothing to do with my eating and it's sure as heck not stopping me from walking, from doing a yoga video at home, from "playing" on my Wii-fit.  It would be and has been easy to blame stress and the fact that my other half is a smoker for not quitting smoking but really- last time I was down to 1-2 cigarettes a day and vaping happily away on my electronics when I went back to smoking.  So what is stopping me?  What is holding me back from achieving my goals and really pursuing my dreams? 

     I think maybe part of it is the work.  I think about how much more work it takes for me to lose even a pound now that I am in my forties, much less the over 60 I would like to lose and it just makes me feel exhausted.  It makes me feel exhausted the way even thinking about spring cleaning makes me exhausted.  Confession- the best gift I could ever give myself would be to hire a housekeeper one day a week- I just plain SUCK at housework.  I think that maybe, despite the fact that when it comes to my job I am a workaholic, I expend all of my energy in that direction and have very little left for the rest of my life.   Our jobs are the way we support our family and for so many years it was such a struggle (even now it's not quite a cake walk) that I had to pour my energies into doing the best job possible to make sure that I kept that job and it's just become the way I work.  At one time, I gave myself time once a week for real "me" time (seeing my best friend/hair guru on alternating week from a mani/pedi).  At one time, I was on the go so much that I was easily clocking my 10,000 steps a day without having to work for it- it was part of working two crazy jobs on my feet constantly.  For a long time, working in the restaurant world, I had someone else to cook my meals when ever I worked who was a professional and could suggest great meals that were healthy as well and when I was home, the rug rat would eat healthy stuff as well as the "crap" that my hubby enjoys so I could cook whatever I wanted to suit us all and it would get eaten.   These days there is not too much "me" time- and I most assuredly don't have my standing vanity appointment.  I prefer to spend my time at home with my husband, my puppies and my parents whenever I can.  These days I alternate between 3000 steps and 13000 steps- depending on what's going on with my job.  These days, with only two of us eating- one who needs to lose weight and one who could stand to gain at least half of what I would like to lose; cooking a meal that could do both things is a trial.  All of these things that are going on these days are 100% my choice.  Where I direct my energies is my choice.  I just need to figure out how to  balance the old me and the new me and still be at peace.  For the most part I LIKE who I have become, I just have to find a way to fit in the work I need to do to reach my goals with the rest of my life.  I have to stop letting the excuses get in the way.  I have to stop letting that little voice bully me. I have to get past that little voice that reminds me that my illnesses are always there and if I do too much I could set it off.  When I do that- I am letting the RA and Fibro control part of my life and I have worked so hard to not let it be all that I am about that I have to break this last hold.

     As for my dreams, those are a bit more complicated.  The first thing that is holding me back is a bad case of the "what if's".  What if I am not good enough?  What if I start and just can't finish?  What if I don't deserve to reach my dream?  The second thing is that I am not quite sure how to rework this huge dream to fit where I am now in my life.  I will never be that picture that I had in my head when I was a young girl.  Then again, not many people are.  Writing is not quite as glamorous as I had imagined.  Okay- it's just a job like many others.  I have had a wonderful reality check, courtesy of social media, by interacting with one of my favorite authors M.R. Sellars.  Murv keeps it real.  He is from and still lives in the Midwest.  He loves his wife and child.  He talks about cooking and laundry, housework, deadlines and all of the things we all deal with every day.  He's funny, he's engaging,he's creative and he is just a "normal guy".   He just happens to write books that I really enjoy for a living.  Just "knowing" him has allowed me to see that I don't have to give up what I have if I want to chase that dream again, I just have to re imagine what that dream looks like and what I want that dream to be. 

     Ironically enough, I received my "Thought for Today" Oprah.com newsletter and the title of the newsletter today was "Who are You Meant To Be?"  Since I actually started this blog post yesterday and have an unexpected day off today, I sat down and opened this post, read through what I had written yesterday, minimized the window and opened my email to see that sitting in my inbox.  It was a sign for me that I am on the right path.  I haven't read the articles yet.  I didn't want to read them until after I finished this post because I didn't want them clouding my thoughts while I work through this.  This blog helps me get my thoughts in order.  For me it's like having a conversation with you so I have to focus in order to make myself understood rather than letting things swirl around the way they usually do in this brain of mine.  This blog has been a training ground for me.   It has allowed me to find my voice.  When I wrote Chronically Positive and in the new work (tentatively titled Chronic Living) I write exactly as I write here.  I write from my heart and I write as if we were just talking.  When I think back, when I tried to write fiction,  I had such a problem with whether I would write in first person, whether I would narrate or whether I could just tell a story.  Dialogue killed me.  It just wasn't good because I could not find my footing.  What a gift you have given me by engaging in this blog and helping me find the way I was meant to write.  Am I a genius, nope.  Am I the best writer in the world?  Not on your life.  Do have room for improvement- absolutely!  But I am learning and when a post strikes you enough to comment or to share it with others, you show me what works and for that I am always grateful. 

     So now I have figured out what it is that's holding me back.  I just have to find the strength to get over those obstacles and achieve all that I desire.  So what's holding YOU back from your goals and dreams?  If you have reached them, how did you do it?  Where did you pull the strength from that allowed you to reach for the stars?  My newsletter that I mentioned before begins with a quote and I leave you with the quote from today because I think it's so very appropriate:

“Only by owning who and what you are can you step into the fullness of life.”

                                                                                                           — Oprah

I think I am well on my way to owning it, and I am very much looking forward to stepping into the fullness of my life.  I cannot express how grateful I am for having this arena and for you being my sounding board.  No matter how often I post, I give thanks for this forum and that anyone actually reads it Every. Single. Day. 



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