Friday, March 16, 2012

Things I've Learned These Last Months

I'm alive! I know it has been an epoch since I last posted. I have spent the past several months focusing on health, work, and my novel-in-progress. And I'm happy to say that over those months, I've wracked up most of my achievements in the wisdom and intelligence categories, with a few in the mishaps and WTF groups.

Here are seven things that I have learned:

1) I am not a prisoner of anyone but myself.

I can give away my power to others in regards to time and opportunity, like I'm the slave of these commitments I make. Or I can seize them all and become extreme overlord of awesome and take control of my life and its course. My time is not someone else's to command. It is mine to prioritize with and I can either choose to do something or not, but the choice is always mine.

2) I can kill my own dreams.

I have to try hard not to be a serial killer when it comes to dreams because for some reason, success terrifies the crap out of me. I want it. I want others to see me with it. I want to show it off to my family like a kid with glittering, macaroni-covered colored paper. And the only one in the way of doing this is me. So I have the glue, the macaroni, the Jem and the Holograms blinding glitter, and the paper. It's go time.

3) I can kill my darlings.

It's amazing how I can slay a dream no problem, but I can't quite follow through on the little darlings I create with my writing. I'm an expert at deceiving myself. I was in the closet with the axe, rocking them against my chest and trying to make them quiet so no one knew I was punking out. Well guess what, the closet has some corpses and I have new darlings and a stronger, tighter manuscript.

4) Discipline isn't a reaction.

For those of you who are already disciplined, this isn't going to come as any shock. In fact, you might laugh and offer me a sympathetic smile. But it took this year for me to realize that I couldn't trick myself into eating healthy. I couldn't force myself into more writing time with the elimination of a television from our living room or by tying myself to a chair (I just surfed the net instead). I couldn't coerce myself to the gym by orchestrating some mousetrap of circumstances that somehow herd me towards the gym and have me fall into tennis shoes and sweats.

Discipline is more than just an action. It's pro-action. A premeditated choice to focus on the payoff rather than the immediate gratification. It's a promise to myself that I am keeping and, therefore, gaining more respect from myself for myself. It's not easy, but if it was, it'd be called fun instead.

5) If you neglect the monster of health under your bed, it will rise up and eat you alive in front of your family and friends.

I was committing slow suicide with my lifestyle. I spent my teens worrying about what others thought of my body. I spent my twenties giving the world the finger because I didn't want to be hostage to what others thought (though secretly, deep down, I still wanted that approval and to be accidentally skinny). Now in my thirties, I am a hostage to the consequences of those decisions. I wish I had cared this much about nutrition and exercise 15 years ago. Oi.

6) There are three buckets of control: Yours, God's (or the Universe if you'd prefer), and a combination of both.

I've learned to focus on pouring energy into what I can influence and what I can control and to try and surrender the rest to God. So much energy can go into fretting about something I have no power over and it's paralyzing; or I can put that energy into something constructive. Partitioning circumstances like this has led to more peace within and I can definitely go with that.

7) Tim Horton's has sadistic coffee cup designers.

No matter how many times I ask them not to completely fill up my Tim Horton's cup of coffee because of that flat lid, I always end up wearing some coffee. It's 2012! Get a vaulted lid. Something. SOMETHING where when I hit the accelerator on my car coming out of the driveway, my car and I don't look like we murdered a barista because of the resulting coffee spatter and screams.

I learned more this year but those were some of the highlights. Now I'm ready to get back to my writing, reading, and readying for a powerhouse year of creativity and personal growth. RAWR!

Tell me, what have you learned in the past year that's helped you level up in life?

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