Time is running out: make it matter

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There are three months

left in this decade.
In. This. Decade.

If you’re on social media, you might’ve seen the above words pop up in your feed. Now tack on the phrase: “Take that risk” or “I think you should go for it.” As humanity collectively stands on the cusp of a new season, I’m reminded of the patterns that accompany the inevitable changes, whether in nature or our own lives. A well-known Bible scripture begins: For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. Once trapped in a cycle of repetitive behavior and thinking that prevented me from moving from past to present, over the last year I’ve experienced both loss and gain—culminating in acceptance, forgiveness and blessed freedom from bondage. I’m ready, now, to take that risk. To go for it. To make it matter before time runs out.

Are you ready?

Image courtesy of krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A hokey pokey life

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hokey pokeyOne foot in and one foot out. That’s how I feel—not fully invested in any one thing. I multitask, read a snippet here, tackle a household project there, brainstorm a story idea (or four) for a few minutes, attend this or that function but hesitate to commit to anything more—like ownership or membership or some other kind of ship. Limbo. This is where I’m held prisoner in a familiar cell and I’m not fond of the scenery. It’s always the same: gray. And suffocating. Every second of every day I fill with mindless chatter and running and tasks to keep me from taking risks—from ripping off the band aid and allowing myself to bathe in a life of color, fluid and ever-changing. If I remain too busy, there’s no time to think about what I’m missing. If I keep my eyes fixed on the to dos, I will never have to acknowledge that it’s always been my choice.

Are you living a hokey pokey life?

[Image credit Ambro and FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Losing our footing

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[Image credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn]

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  
To not dare is to lose oneself. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Some dares you could lose your footing permanently, like if you jumped from a dangerous height.  But I think Kierkegaard is talking about the risks we take when we step out of our comfort zones.  At first, we may feel like we’re falling, out of sorts or kind of fuzzy around the edges.  But then our vision typically clears and we see that we’re unscathed and, perhaps, better off than before we leapt.  And as I’ve blogged about countless times, if we don’t take the risk — or dare — then we deny a piece of ourselves.  It’s like saying our dreams don’t matter … our goals aren’t worth pursuing.  I read a book once where that happened to the protagonist.  When all was said and done, he ended up with regrets over chances not taken.  I’d rather lose my balance.

Are you willing to lose your footing for a good cause?

A sneak peek

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[Image credit: farconville]

Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
~ Paul Theroux

When it comes to reading, I typically select fiction.  I think it’s easier to escape into someone else’s imagination, made-up places and people and events.  And other times, nonfiction helps me relate or be encouraged by another person’s real-life trials and triumphs.  When it comes to writing, however, I tend to stick with the former but draw on real life to fuel the hopes and dreams that make up the second chances Theroux talks about.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re denied a certain life — unless it is through circumstances beyond our control that we find ourselves in the place we’re standing.  But I think if we allow it, fiction enables us to try our ideas on for size before Someday rolls around.  A sneak peek, if you will.  Or a second chance without life’s inevitable risks and no regrets.  How cool is that?

What’s your passion: fiction or nonfiction and why?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

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[Image credit: mrpuen]

Last night I was reflecting on my life and how in one area, everything seems to be lining up.  Each piece of the puzzle is falling into place — except for the few stray ones that can’t be positioned until the timing is right.  But then I started to feel conflicted.  Just because something looks and feels right, doesn’t automatically mean it is right.  So I took a mental step back and asked myself if what I’m waiting for and working toward is worth the risk.  And before I even formulated my answer, I realized that in this particular situation, it’s not solely up to me to decide the outcome.  However, nothing can or will be gained if I keep my feet firmly planted, mentally or otherwise.  Consequently, at the end of the evening, I returned to my place in line … unless I hear differently.

Are you a risk taker, or do you like to play it safe?

Explore, dream, discover

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[Image credit: taoty]

20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do
than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

One of my friends was told she was crazy to pursue her dreams.  That her aspirations would likely fail as so many who have gone before her.  She posted this on Facebook and received an outpouring of support in response, several mirroring the words of Mark Twain.  As for me, I don’t want to look back Someday and regret not: losing my heart, taking a chance, following my goals.  Because Someday, it will be too late.  A few months ago, I was faced with a choice between one of two things.  Before making the decision,  I asked myself which one I would regret.  I didn’t have to think twice, made my commitment and never looked back.  Thanks to another friend, I’ve heard this is the key: once the choice has been made, no second-guessing or disappointments are allowed.  Sometimes this philosophy is hard to stick to.  But as life continues to move forward at warp speed, I realize more and more that I would rather take the risk of falling, than never leave the starter’s box.  I figure that skinned knees are a lot easier to fix than unrealized dreams.

How are you going to explore, dream and discover today?

On your mark, get set …

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[Image credit: digitalart]

The scariest moment is always just before you start. ~ Stephen King

Go!  It doesn’t matter what it is.  Fear of the unknown can give us a nasty stomach ache, crippling writer’s block, a case of stage fright or keep us from taking chances, big or small.  But I believe if anything is worth doing, then risk — making a fool of ourselves for one — is part of the package deal.  Maybe it’s a speech you’re called on to recite in class, you’re entering your first ever race or you’re ready to begin writing that novel you’ve been dreaming up for years.  It could be a blind date, day one on your new job or putting yourself in a vulnerable position.  If you’re like me, after all has been said and done, you most likely find yourself thinking that wasn’t so bad.  If only we could skip the hard part and dive right into the main event.  But then we may just miss out on learning something new or stretching ourselves to become stronger and more self-confident.  At least it should be easier the next time around.

What’s the worst thing that can happen if you take that first step?

Wiping the slate clean

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In the game of life, we don’t get a second chance.  We’re born with X number of allotted years and when they run out, we’re done.  No extra spins.  But while we’re making our moves and setting the course for our future — attending college or jumping right into a career, getting married, having kids, buying our dream home, playing the stock market — we’re sometimes afforded one of those rare opportunities or two for a “do over”— to spin one more time.  For me, after more than two decades since my high school graduation and working in one career, I returned to college and completed my Bachelor’s degree, and  now I’m employed in a field I’m passionate about.  And after 18 years of mediocre motherhood, I was given the chance to parent an adult child and the dynamics that come with it.  Perhaps more importantly, if we’ve been hurt or wronged someone along the way, we may be fortunate enough to collectively wipe the board game clean, put the past behind and start over.  But it requires laying it all on the line — spinning the dial to see if you lose it all, or you’re the big winner in the end.  Only you can decide if it’s worth the risk.

Is there a “do over” you’re hoping for?

Letting go … for now

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[Image credit: dan]

Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go.  ~Author Unknown

I have big expectations for 2012.  24 of them, actually.  In my post what have you got to lose?, I mentioned my desire to take deliberate chances, or risks, during the year.  Not one, but many.  For some time now, I’ve been struggling with an important decision.  Although it was by far one of the hardest I’ve had to make pertaining to moving forward with my life, it wasn’t so much the act of doing as opposed to letting go … the relinquishing of a dream until circumstances allow me to wholly live it Someday.   And since a chance is defined as a venture or gamble, luck, fate, destiny or good fortune, I’d like to think my future will shine brighter because I took a chance to let go of one desire — sacrificing  a piece of my heart in the process — while focusing on my more immediate goals.  For now.  If I didn’t believe that, I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to let go.  But it’s when we make these tough choices that we see what we’re truly made of.

Don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens
The Main thing is not to hurry.
Nothing good gets away.  ~ John Steinbeck

Is there a dream you’ve relinquished, either temporarily or permanently, because it just wasn’t the right time to pursue it?