Monday, March 01, 2010

Lessons in Life

Just Do It.
Are you picturing a pair of Nike running shoes? Some buff athlete breaking an Olympic record?
Speaking of Olympics, CANADA ROCKS!!! Sorry, just had to do it.
Anyway, back to Nikeness.
I used to love that slogan. It inspires action, adventure, purpose. Go out and do it. Whatever your it is.
While I still believe the premise holds merit, I wonder if we need to apply a little caution here.
I mean, let's be honest. How many mistakes have you made in life because you went out and just did it?

This is a picture of the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge along the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. I've seen it, but I would never dare cross it.
My cousins have been across it many times. My son, given the opportunity, would probably take it on without question. The last time we were there he was nine and wanted to just do it.
We said not on your life.
The next time he's over there, I hope I'm not.

Sparing gory details, I can tell you there were more than a few times when I just did it, and I have deep regrets.
On the other hand, I know that there were events where I just had to summon courage, hold my breath and forge ahead. If I hadn't, I would have missed out on many blessings.
Do we do what we want, when we want, how we want, or do we wait, assess the situation, weigh the options? Sometimes I think the latter is the better choice.
What are the things you want to do? What's stopping you?
Let's say you want that $2,000 purple Prada purse. You dream about it. You've designed your wardrobe around it. But you work at McDonald's and it's going to be about five years before you can slap down that kind of cash. For a purse.
Just do it?
Sure. But you'll probably regret it. And I'll bet after you come home working your third job because you've got the debt collector breathing down your neck, that purple Prada purse isn't going to look quite so pretty.
Applying this to writing, since that's what I do...I can look back and see many times when I just did it.
All the manuscripts I sent out before I knew squat about writing. Ouch.
Wish I hadn't done that.
I've taken bad advice and probably given some along the way. Wish I hadn't done that.
I have often forged ahead, desperate to write that book, get it out there and finally, at long long long last, be able to shout to the world that I AM PUBLISHED.
Sad isn't it? But this is my existence. My struggle.
But I am changing.

I am learning to live a little differently.
Although I do not have patience, I am learning to wait.
Although I do not have a great deal of faith in myself and my abilities, others do. I am learning to believe them.
I am learning to trust myself.
I write because it's in me. It's who I am. I have stories to share, characters whose voices need to be heard. If I didn't do it, I'd probably be on medication.
I'm sure there are days my family thinks I should be on medication anyway...but I digress.

I am learning I will not succeed if I don't put in the work. The time and the effort.
I am learning that all the work in the world isn't going to mean much at the end of the day if I'm not having any fun.
I am learning to step back. To take breaks and realize that the world will not end if I write not one word today.
I am learning to enjoy what I do simply because I can.
I am learning that when people need me, nothing else matters.
I am learning the rules. Researching, reading, finding what works for me and what doesn't.
And I am trusting God in the journey.
Sometimes it is a good thing to just do it. Sometimes it's not.
Find the balance. But don't forget to have fun along the way.
And if you ever cross the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, take a picture for me!


Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Loved the bit about medication. :D So much of life is the journey. Glad you are waiting well. And I'm encouraged by all you are learning.

Gorgeous bridge. Wish I could traverse it right now.
~ Wendy

Jody Hedlund said...

Very good lessons you're learning! We do need to be sensitive to where God is leading us, don't we? And that won't always look the same as where he's leading others. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Great and encouraging post!

Georgiana said...

The bridge looks absolutely frightening! Just do it? Not on your life...or mine. Until I lose 50 lbs, maybe more. As to the writing, I've plunged ahead when I should have held back, and it cost me time. Lots of time. Great post!

jenness said...

Just as long as you're not saying you're becoming a plotter. Don't cross over to the dark side. (Read as: don't leave me here alone.) lol

Patti Lacy said...

Great post, Cathy! Love your tone, your wisdom!

Sigh. A goal of writing my best for God really helps keep me grounded. Stable. Not wobbling on that bridge (which, by the way, I WOULD cross and hope to, next fall!)

So fun to be bloggites!