I’m smack dab in the middle of my life. I admit that gives one a bit of a pause. What have I done and more importantly, what will I do? An accounting leads me to believe that this year should be more than possibly the end of times. It should be the year of A.S.S. (Accomplish Some Stuff) and not just be the year of P.A.S.S. (Potentially Accomplishing Some Stuff).
Most folks I know have some sort of a “bucket list” and I’m no different. But for this year of 2012, I’ve decided to focus on one thing: doing more of what makes me happy and less of what doesn’t. And if I’m going to focus on that, then I’m going to need to get busy so I can A.S.S. instead of wish for some stuff or want some stuff.
- Finish my young adult historical novel. Its in the second round of edits and I’m feeling good about it. Not splendid mind you, but fairly good.
- Stop being petrified over the amount of work that above process will take and just do it already!
- Finish outlining my second book (WIP).
- Turn WIP2’s outline into a kick-butt young adult thriller.
- Lose 12% of my body weight. My baby can now read. It’s time to get back to the weight I was before I got pregnant with him. (I originally picked 10% but Mister Soandso encouraged me to embrace the whole ’12 thing. What the heck, go big or go home, right?)
- Train for my first 1/2 marathon.
- Finish my first 1/2 marathon in under 2.5 hours and be SMILING when I cross that line.
You might notice a theme going on with those items. They are all things that take loads of effort and tenacity and commitment. And they are all things that I have the potential to accomplish. But here’s a secret. I hate the word potential.
Yeah, you read that right. I hate “potential”. I haven’t always hated potential, but the older I get and the greater the gap between “potential” and “realized”, the more “potential” makes me cringe.
When a teacher notes a student has the potential to do “x”, two things are being recognized. A) “Johnny” totally has the skills to do something great. B) Johnny isn’t using those skills. In other words, recognizing someone’s potential also recognizes there is still a big chance that potential is going to fizzle into the sadness of failure.
And I don’t want to have the potential to write a published novel. I want to fraking write a novel that gets published. I don’t want to have the potential to run a half-marathon, I want to own that medal. I don’t want to potentially become more fit and increase my overall health, I want to master that action. I don’t want to potentially do all kinds of things.
But in order to make 2012 the year of A.S.S. I have to do one thing more than any other thing. I have to believe in myself enough to make it happen.
And I am terrified I can’t do that.
Once I was that little girl. The one who always had the right answer and told all the jokes and always was in a good mood. And so no one ever looked very closely at what was right there, hidden in plain sight: a terrified kid just one second away from losing it all. So when adults told me I had the potential to do something, I hid that terror under a bit more shimmer (hello Doctor Who) and worked just a bit harder, and slept a little less, and did whatever until I made it happen. If I wanted to make something happen, I simply worked harder until I accomplished that thing.
But I think I wore it out or broke it or misplaced it in all the moves. And in order to have more of what makes me happy, I need to find whatever it was that allowed me to accomplish stuff before instead of simply having the potential to accomplish stuff.
And so I’m not sure if I can accomplish my goals. That no matter my potential, I am not going to accomplish. At least not in any timeline that makes me happy. And that worries me big time.
Remember what Langston Hughes said about dreams that don’t happen? Those dried up dreams affect more than the dreamer. And I don’t want my kids to tell their friends years from now, “My mom really wanted to do so many things, but she just stopped…”
So that means I have to find that something once again. I’m going to need to dig deep and approach life fearlessly. I’m going to need to believe. Because I really need to accomplish some of the things that have been eating at me — making me feel discouraged and depressed and all the other feelings that guarantee I spiral down to that dark place where I can’t accomplish things and can’t be happy and just can’t be anything more than a shadow of my potential self.
Prepare yourself reader. There will probably be whining ahead in this next year. But I really hope there will be cries of jubilation as well. I think I can do this, especially with some good people in my corner. In fact, we can all do this. We can support one another on our journies of accomplishing more of what makes us happy. Let’s go get some A.S.S., shall we?