This post was first posted on my other blog, Fix Your Mirror, and I thought I’d add it here.
I starting writing when I was 19 years old – poetry, essays, short stories, whatever the mood dictated. The timing makes me wonder if my own daughter will shortly find her first life’s passion. I never learned to write in school. Yes, they taught it, but I didn’t want to learn. I wanted to write like me, not like someone else.
Instead, I waited in vain for my voice. Waiting is not at all the same as goal-setting, as it turns out.
I had a similar experience with photography. I had been obsessed with photography since I was 12 years old. I have seen thousands of books on photography – certainly every one in every local library I’ve ever been near. I looked at picture after picture – but could never bring myself to read the “how” or study the “why.” Again, I didn’t want to learn the “correct” way to take a photo. I wanted to learn how I take one. This innate stubbornness caused me much consternation over the years. You see, my “voice” was louder than my words. My “sight” was far brighter than my photos.
Not surprisingly, I rarely matched on paper what was in my head. Finally, around the time unhappiness at home and boredom at work had squeezed the last of my hope, I stopped. I didn’t write or take a photograph for around 10 years. The voices ceased, the images, thankfully faded. I had grown up I felt.
In truth, I had merely quit. I had dreams with no goals, goals with no work. Failure was the inevitable result.
We “grown-ups” bury our dreams in the backyard in a box with the Easter Bunny, and shed a tear as Santa burps out a eulogy in a faded, dirty red suit. No dreams for us, we say. No imagination dare we have. We go to work, we make our cash, we cover the stink of “ordinariness” in fancy colognes and wear pretty baubles to distract others from the emptiness in our eyes.
But dreams were not meant to die.
This year, this minute, I declare my dreams possible. I reach to the heavens, clutch at my Father’s cloak, and do his bidding for me. Dreams are what life is for. Dreams are love, and love is God, and God is Good. All day long.
Today I declare my power over mediocrity. I sing a eulogy for mediocrity, for halfway trips, for seats by the shore. Today is the day we start across. Today is the day we love, and hope, and believe… and then do.
My loves… if you can name it, you can claim it. Believe, have faith, give praise, do the work. Life is good, then you die. Make yours worth living.
When first I wrote this piece, I listed 5 outlandish goals: marry my best friend, write a book… others more far-fetched. Well, I met my best friend, because I looked. Then, I married her. In addition, am now working on my fifth and sixth books.
The first goal didn’t work out the way I had hoped, but I accomplished it. And, not coincidentally, it was she who helped me accomplish my second goal. I had picked a best friend who had similar goals I did. My remaining goals depend solely on my work, and translating my goals to specific, measurable, relevant action steps. Then, I work through each action. Try it. Before you know it, you’ve met, or even upped your goal.
Goals can be accomplished, through faith in yourself, knowledge of your strengths and non-strengths, and work.
My last goal was, “Die having made a difference, having mattered, having reached the other shore.”
I’m holding off on completing that one, for now. But I will reach the other shore, I promise you that. It’s just a small matter of learning to swim across.
Love keep you strong,