Sometimes, I take on challenges that are meant to push me. I enter no contest, send no submission, or start any challenge with the intention of anything less than winning/acceptance/success. This despite my track record of losing/rejections/failure. My mindset is always such that I will succeed, even with something like NaNoWriMo…in the middle of a busy photo business season…while taking 4 classes…while trying to balance life. I NaNo each year knowing I only won once, knowing many stories have been abandoned. I do this because I approach everything with the attitude that is the most positive, because I know even if I don’t succeed, I tried. I made progress. Steps were taken, or at the very least (or the very most, depending on how you view it), I practiced art.
I start a book knowing it’s likely impossible for me to finish writing it within the 30 days of the contest because sometimes, every once in a while, I achieve the impossible. And I begin the last month of the year with over 200 miles still left to walk in my own 1,000 Miles challenge. Nothing like a tight deadline to really help me press on.
But sometimes I mess this up pretty big. Like the wedding I took on shortly before the start of the fall semester. (Or the fact that I took on 4 classes to begin with, one of them being math.) Processing a wedding is a big deal for me. I am very selective in general, and I spend a lot of time on images because I’m obsessed with details. (I’m trying to accept this about myself but also work on streamlining that better.) Time got away from me, and every time I sat down to work on the wedding, a million other deadlines pushed at me. I dropped the ball and delivered the final package later than I promised. I felt horrible.
And since then, school went downhill. That’s all I’ll say about that for now. Suffice it to say, I dropped many of the pins I was juggling during the Season of Delicate Balance, and for all the ways I do feel bad and defeated, I also feel just fine. Because regardless, the world did not end. I made mistakes and had failures just like everyone else. Ultimately, as Brené Brown talks about, I was in the arena, and that’s what counts.
I’ll win the next bull fight. Or I won’t. And that’s OK too.
I had a long conversation the other day with someone who was wondering if they really loved the career they were in. They had worked really hard and they initially REALLY wanted it. But now, a few years in, they weren’t so sure. And all I could think is, at least you tried. At least you won’t wonder one day, “What if I had tried?” Now you know. Now you can make a new decision. Because whatever we start, even when we think we really want it, it’s not etched in stone. And even if it is, stone can be broken.
Start something impossible. Change your mind. Aim high. Move sideways. Just don’t sit idle trying to get all your ducks in a row first. While you’re busy making all the plans, someone else is creating based on the same idea. You won’t always succeed (Queen of that!), but you will learn.
Each new day is the chance for me to begin again, to dream bigger and start new impossible ideas. The day I stop aiming for that which seems impossible is the day I stop living.