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Birthdays, Deadlines and Goals, Oh My!
Nothing like a birthday to remind you that the clock is ticking. And today’s a big one.
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s always a day to pause, take stock, and reassess. Like many writers, I’m all about goals and plans, and, as a journalist, deadlines. And it’s difficult not to feel a bit bereft when you realize you haven’t quite achieved the things you set out too. It’s easy to be too hard on yourself.
I know I am. People remind me all the time. I see all the things I haven’t done, all the deadlines I set for myself and didn’t quite hit, all the things that are still on my to-do list.
Like making a bigger dent in that fantasy. (Which is forever next on my to-do list.)
Or writing a new screenplay this year.
Or finally finishing that project that I’ve been working on now for more than ten – yes ten! – years.
These things loom large on my agenda, blocking all the things I have accomplished from my vision.
Every day, on social media, people are sharing their latest achievements. And while we’re celebrating with them, it’s hard not to feel the pinch of everything we’ve failed at. The expectations are staggering, and it’s easy to feel like you just can’t keep up. But that’s the thing: nobody shares their failures. They tend to those wounds in private, maybe lamenting to a confidante (hi Dhonielle!) who’ll understand and talk you down. So everything we see is lopsided, rose-colored, just the upward trajectory and rarely the setbacks.
So today, while I set intents and plans for the next year, I’ve decided I also have to give myself a bit of a break, and give myself credit for what I have accomplished – especially given the fact that, in the past six years, I’ve been really hard on myself. I got my MFA, co-wrote and published two books, launched a packaging company, and had two kids. Looking back, that’s a lot – and even I can see that, now. Maybe that's the key word: now.
There’s so much I want to do, so many stories I’d like to tell, so many goals on the list. But I have to remind myself, especially now, to take the time to enjoy what I have done, and the people who’ve been along for a really wild ride. I have to remember to account for things like, oh, say, life. And I have to remember that I chose this path for a reason – and it wasn’t so I could be a slave to my computer. Writing is supposed to be fun. I’m very lucky I get to call it my job. But in the end, it’s still very much work, and I have to play, too.
So what’s on my agenda today? This morning I’ll get back to the fantasy project for an hour or two. Then meet my husband for a fun lunch in the city, and spend the evening hanging with the kids and maybe watching a Bollywood films.
And yes, because I'm me, I’ll set some intents for the next year. But one of them will be a reminder to make some time for fun. So along with the screenplay and the never-ending WIP, I'll put learning to knit (for the fourth time) on the list, and make room for a fun-not-work trip or two.
Sounds like a good birthday to me.