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Friday, April 20, 2018

Why Not Achieving Your Dreams Can Be the Best Thing Ever


 Here is my case for being grateful when we fail:

I wrote a book about ten years ago. After I wrote it I thought, I’m done! Now to send it off and wait for the book offers to roll in. (Why are you laughing?)

So every few years I drag it out, dust it off, and try to polish it up before I send it out to be rejected by a new set of publishers and agents. It’s gone through about ten million ‘first drafts’.  

I finally bit the bullet a month or so ago and paid for a real editor (Joan Dempsey - thank you so much!) to take a look at the first 100 pages.

She didn’t cost as much as some of the other editors I researched and her feedback has been priceless. Not just on grammar slips and annoying writing tics but also character development and obstacles to the flow of the story. I have solid direction and focus (finally) on making my story a truly great one.  Baby steps. 

I was listening to a motivating speaker the other day and he was saying…find your passion and you will find your purpose! Find the thing that makes you forget about time and do that.  And I rolled my eyes. Right? How many times have we heard that? It’s an empty phrase.

I mean, yeah, ok, you should find that anyway, because it makes you HAPPY. And someday, if you work really, really hard, and you’re very focused, maybe you can make a few shiny coins from the thing that makes you forget about time passing. 

But in the meantime you’ve imbued your life with JOY and purpose and that spills out and blesses other people. It just does.  It’s like a universal law. When you’re happy, you infect others around you with happy too.  And space to find their own joy.

So what makes you forget about old man time? If you’re like me, it’s not just one thing. For me, it’s writing. And gardening. And reading. And yoga. But not meditating. (Am I done now?  Am I done now? How many minutes have passed? What’s that tickling feeling on my big toe? Is that a bug? Is it that giant spider we found last Saturday?)

And I’m not looking at the clock when I’m shoving a whole chocolate bunny in my mouth I’ll tell you that.

But do you know what really makes me feel like if I died tomorrow I won’t have regrets?  

Helping kids. Whether it’s sending a note to say I’m thinking of them (like Kaitlyn and Dylan) or finding that shy one that’s hiding in the back and bringing them out of their shell, helping kids makes me feel like…me. So does writing. And gardening.

I think the benefit of not finding success in the career you love is that it lets you be other things too. Would I still be working to apply to a masters program in school counseling if I had three bestselling books? 

No. 

Would I be Benji and Ellie’s mom? I don’t know.  Probably not. I wouldn’t have gone to work for Big Oil and wouldn’t have met my husband. My whole focus and being would be dedicated to writing another bestseller.  I wouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by my other joys, to my detriment.  My life wouldn’t be as rich and full as it is now.  I wouldn’t be a pretend-organic-farmer or a a mom to Benji and Ellie.  

So, thank you Universe.  Thank you for allowing my biggest, oldest dream to not come true, I am sincerely grateful.  I’m going to go hug my babies now.  My human babies.  Tomato plants don’t like to be squeezed.

“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”  Saint Teresa of Avila.