Just A Little Bit

Everyone has goals. Everyone has dreams. And everyone struggles to achieve them sometimes. 

Magazines and blogs make millions every year trying to help you unlock the secret to not falling off the bandwagon when in pursuit of your happiness. (The key to mastering your abs on page 7!)

But do you really want to know how to do it?

You do a little. Even the tiniest amount. And you do it every day. And when you’re tired and sore and pretty frustrated, you can look back and see the mole hill you made is actually a mountain. (And that’s a good thing). 

Wanna write a book? Write a single sentence each night. 

Wanna run a race? Start off walking, even just around the block. 

Wanna eat a ton of hotdogs in one sitting? You gotta eat the first one first. 

And in that way, you can do it. The trick is to not let yourself be stagnant in any part of this life. You can only do better if you are willing to work on your own progress. Even just a little bit. 

(Don’t) Give Me a Break

As you may know, I took a week off from blogging last week. (And if you didn’t know that, then don’t worry about it. I’ve been here all along.)

So, why did I do it? Well, have you ever seen a sitcom where the characters pretend to drive, and they sort of wiggle the steering wheel back and forth and the scenery seems to pass by quickly, even though they never change speed? The actors do everything they can to convince you that they’re moving, when they’re really standing still?

I had been feeling a lot like that lately. I was feeling as if I was trying to do everything but doing nothing at the same time. And I had to take a break. Recenter myself. Reorganize my soul.

I thought I was doing myself a favor. I thought I would be able to get some things done that I had been putting off, that had been hard to do when I came home, when I had to type out a couple hundred of words per night. Yet, the words were still there. Even though I didn’t commit anything to paper, I was still writing in my head. Jotting down ideas for blog posts this week, a short story, a poem. I was so happy to find that everything was still coursing through my veins even though I didn’t have any way to express it.

Except when I got into bed. As you can imagine, everything was still there. I tossed and turned with the fullness of my thoughts because I had nowhere to put them or file them away. It was like my mind had to pee, and I couldn’t relieve myself of the urgency.

It turns out that taking a break from writing didn’t help me to get my life in order. It just stopped the flow of it all. (Okay, I’m seriously done with the extended pee metaphor.)

Now, I know that everyone needs to set aside some time for themselves every once in awhile. Everyone needs to take a step back from their life to reevaluate. And even though I fought it, I know that I needed to do this, too. But I didn’t like it.

During the last week, I recognized that it is much, much harder to stop a moving train than it is to try to get one to move. I know that for me, I need to be constantly progressing in order to get anything done.

In other words, if you let me sit in my pajamas all day, I will put off any chores that I had planned. But if I go to the gym and take a shower, I will knock out all of my responsibilities one by one. (And even if you let me sit in my pajamas, I’ll probably still make myself finish a book because I am all about that productivity.)

I don’t think I’ll be taking any more breaks any time soon. And I thank you for humoring me for a week because I had to humor myself. But I can’t really stop. Even when I try.

And so, I ask you to consider this: what has been holding you back? But more importantly, what have you been holding yourself back from?

Progress from the Passenger Seat

I wish I could tell you that my shyness was this cute, quirky trait that allowed me to win over my current boyfriend and star in my own rom com.

But it’s not. It’s this debilitating fear of doing anything outside of the ordinary, of pursuing any spontaneity, that makes me toss and turn at night.

Cue a year ago, when I accepted a new job and had to make the long trek into mostly uncharted territory, I was more than terrified. I was paralyzed. Thankfully, my father was kind enough to take me down several routes so that I was ready for this new aspect of my life: commuting. We spent an entire day driving every possible way, him narrating the rough spots, where to merge, when it would be busy. And me, recording everything in my mind.

Fast forward to the next few months when I had to hype myself up just to drive home. I had to talk to myself the entire way so that I kept focused and concentrated through all of the merges and lane switches. I couldn’t turn on the radio, and I couldn’t do it without a GPS. I could have run that car off of my own adrenaline, a fuel line to my heart.

Fast forward even farther to today. My car was in the shop, so my mom was kind enough to take me back and forth (to and fro?). Watching her drive, although she was relatively familiar with the route, I realized how comfortable I had become. Yes, for some reason, watching her drive made me feel like I had accomplished something. But as I dictated the lane switches and rough patches to her, I recognized something.

I realized that I had mastered the route. Sure, people still pull out in front of me. I accidentally pass through yellow lights. I do my fair share of lip syncing. But I have gained more confidence on the road and in life because of this.

So, the next time you are not sure if you have been progressing, if you aren’t sure if you are moving forward, don’t look at the speedometer. Get out of the driver’s seat and haveĀ a look for yourself.