I’ve given up a lot personally – sacrificing time, personal goals, etc. in the name of what I felt was a kind of calling – a calling for the greater good. So you see – I was sacrificing – but I was doing so for the sake of this mission. That calling or mission seemed to make the long hours and hard days worth it. But after the last 25 months, I can honestly say I’ve been thoroughly defeated and I’ve gotten nowhere. The value I hold to the organization – is non-existent (if you’re evaluating based on actions, that is).
In the last 25 months, I’ve lost a great deal personally, staked my reputation on defending someone who disappeared from my life, and I’m now 25 more months removed from the life I’ve always wanted personally. And for what? Have I made any difference at all? Because in this defeat – in settling into the truth that I hold absolutely no value to them – when I’ve given up so much – it feels like I haven’t.
Why do we allow words, without action, to hold us back from taking the leap we may need to take? Maybe that leap is out of a job, church, or relationship? If you’re a person like me, that’s held on, thinking personal sacrifice is worth it – without truly evaluating what you’re giving up – you may want to stop that. Particularly if the relationship, job, whatever- isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. Listen, we don’t need to be selfish & demanding. But we do need to go where our worth is recognized and where there is equality and balance. I’m tired of fighting – when actions have revealed over and over what my true value is to them.
Taking into consideration the paths that brought us to these places – if you’re anything like me, will be important. Take the good things, lessons, and memories and leap into choosing yourself and your future. Invest in yourself and keep your eyes focused on the path ahead. But this time, don’t leave yourself out, like I did all these years.
The cat is out of the bag. I don’t need to hide it anymore. My employer knows that later this summer, I will begin moving on to the next phase of my life. While I actually wanted to do it sooner, I let some things get in the way and then it seemed to be too challenging to find what I wanted. As such, my plan is to aim for summer with the expectation that the economy will continue to get better and opportunities in the field I’d like to move into, expand. I’m dreaming about what comes next.
But whatever happens, I think I finally feel the freedom and the ability to dream again. I am ready to hope again – about what might be possible in the future. After a couple of painful years, I had to get to know myself again. And while the delay has frustrated me – to the point I have been just freaking angry at God, I think I get it all now. Or at least part of it.
Last summer, I started working toward some things and then let those fizzle. But as I prepare for my 45th birthday, I know what I want. I know the type of life I want, the dream I have, the career I’d like, and yes, even the type of relationship I want. I know what I want. It’s not just that I want these things, I think they’re part of what I should be doing with life now. Not pursuing those things I’m meant to, just isn’t going to work for me any longer.
The thing is, I’ve got things to do and a lot life to live. This afternoon, as I think about what lies ahead, as I enter my 45th year, I’m thankful I’m ready to dream again. I’m thankful I can hope again. And I know that what’s meant to be mine, will be mine.
I’ve mentioned that I’m ready for a new adventure & that I’ve got a timeline for making some decisions about the future. The closer I get to needing to solidify my plan, the more convinced I become of this one thing – I have more dreams to chase. When you grieve, it’s easier to lay aside the big, fat scary dreams that require stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s easier. It’s safer. I’ve done that (avoided scary things) since the moment I said goodbye to the sweet boy that made me a mom.
I don’t like easy & safe. I never have. I’m not made for it. I’ve never feared chasing dreams and I’ve never shied away from going after them.
That may mean that I have to travel paths others don’t, but I’ve always been good with that. As a writer and artist at heart, I’m comfortable with the hard things and grey lines. Those hard things make writing and creating, richer. If you’re willing, it also makes you a better lover of people. It makes you better able to love and care for others in their hardest moments. I think it adds more to my writing too. I don’t like to live on the surface. The hard things we face can either make life richer or they dwarf us and make us bitter.
“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anais Nin
I’ve lived in a dwarfed state, because of my grief, much longer than I’m comfortable with. I’m done with all of that though. I am chasing dreams again – whatever that means and wherever that takes me.
So, if you’re anything like me, and you’re ready to chase some dreams, what’s the first step? The first step is letting go. Letting go of what, you may ask? That I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s other’s expectations. Maybe it’s fear of the consequences of heading in a new direction. Maybe it’s a combination of a few things. Whatever it is, that’s your first step – let go.
By the way, the first step is the hardest one. But if you’re chasing dreams, it’s where the meat is. Make. Up. Your. Mind. And. Do. It.
There’s a scene in The West Wing in season 2’s “Two Cathedrals” that I love. If I could have found it for you, I would have shared (below is what happens just before the press conference). The show has spent multiple episodes up to this point, dealing with a popular president’s hidden multiple sclerosis diagnosis. President Bartlet knows he wants to run again. But the looming possibility that by hiding his diagnosis, it will all go up and flames, is consuming the Bartlet White House. They’re all focused on the consequence of what happens when the country learns that he didn’t divulge this important information. They’re worried about the future – all of them.
Meanwhile, President Bartlet is reliving memories of his beloved secretary (that he’s known since high school – she worked for his father) who died in a car accident and is buried the very day he’s going public, with his diagnosis. The truth is, he wants to run again. He believes he has more to do. He has a dream. And in his gut, he knows what he needs to do. But the circumstances are seemingly insurmountable. Their pollster has already given them the skinny – you can’t win after telling the country you have MS (and hid it from the world).
But on this painful day that he buries Mrs. Landingham, he faces down the circumstances, the dream, and work left undone. He fights it out with God in the National Cathedral and has a conversation with “her” afterward – just before his press conference. As he stands there at the podium, soaking wet from an unusual May hurricane-like storm, with questions being shouted out at him, he goes against his Press Secretary’s advice and takes a question from the wrong reporter. She asks him if he’s going to run for President again.
At first, he seems disoriented. And then, and then. His gaze is steely, he puts his hands in his pockets, and he faces the wild press corps. He knows what he has to do. He lets go of the grief, he lets go of the circumstances (all telling him he shouldn’t do this thing), and he lets go of the worries about how hard the path ahead is going to be. The show ends with his Chief of Staff saying, “Watch this.”
He let go and went for it.
So that’s it – friend. Let go. That’s where you have to start. It’s not going to be easy. You’ll face tests along the way. But I’m convinced that’s often a good sign you’re where you need to be. Take the first step and the rest will become clear.
What dream are you contemplating pursuing? What holds you back? What are the chances you’re stuck at what could do wrong? Don’t stay stuck at what could go wrong . . .
I started writing my new novel on October 31st – writing over my daily goal. Yesterday, I wrote until I had surpassed my writing goal by a bit – for a total of 5,952 words so far.
I will be posting my daily word count on my NaNoWriMo profile (https://nanowrimo.org/participants/elainamarie). I won’t update here until I hit major goals. But I wanted to share if you’re still trying to decide whether to start . . .
This is your sign – start writing. I’m chasing goals. And on this chilly Monday, I wanted to encourage you to chase some of your own – especially if you’re a writer.