Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hang on 2016, I'm not ready

Like everyone else, I look forward to New Years as as good of a time as any to shed the baggage that built up over the previous year and begin again with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility. A collective sigh as we hit the reset button.

But as I look at 2016, I'm overwhelmed with the projects I've envisioned for myself:
  1. 12 marathons in 12 months
  2. ramping up Team Drea for another year of racing and fundraising
  3. selling our house and moving somewhere that makes sense for my current/impending physical needs
  4. writing a book
I look at this list and realize: no wonder I'm paralyzed about what to do first.

You see, all my prep to launch these projects got waylaid by the fact that I've basically been sick since the tirasemtiv submarine struck in mid-November. My sore throat on Thanksgiving Day turned into a cold that stretched into my Raleigh visit, followed by a new cold two weeks later that turned into a sinus infection and stretched through Christmas. Largely thanks to our parents (and always DP), Christmas was "successful" (great food, presents wrapped on time, we even sent out cards for the first time) and everyone had fun, while politely ignoring the soundtrack of my constant nose blowing, coughing fits, and an even-less-understandable-than-usual speaking voice. But all the time I was counting on to get ready for 2016 got wadded up into some mucus-filled tissues on the couch....

So yesterday, when the house was finally quiet again and I finally had the energy to survey the scene, I had absolutely no idea where to start.

Instead, I puttered around the margins, not digging into anything, putting away Christmas presents and cutting up Blue Apron. Needing some sort of direction to latch onto, I put on Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes memoir. In her 2014 commencement address at Dartmouth, she talks about dreamers:
They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with "I want to be ..." or "I wish."
"I want to be a writer." "I wish I could travel around the world."
And they dream of it. The buttoned-up ones meet for cocktails and they brag about their dreams, and the hippie ones have vision boards and they meditate about their dreams. Maybe you write in journals about your dreams or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. And it feels really good. You're talking about it, and you're planning it. Kind of. You are blue-skying your life. And that is what everyone says you should be doing. Right? I mean, that's what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right?
Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change.
Oh right, the hard work part. We all know this, but it sure is easier to dream big about what we'd like to do over the next year. To wait until all the baggage is shed and Christmas presents are put away and we're ready to wipe the slate clean and hit the reset button. But that's not usually how it works and why many New Year's resolutions fail. 
So that's where I am at the moment. I'm excited about my goals for 2016, but I'm at the Eve of New Year's Eve feeling a little more weighed down, worn out, and behind than I'd like to be.
What I learned in 2015 is that time passes regardless, but you get to decide how you want to spend it. 
What I know about hard work is that sometimes you just need to start somewhere. Pick the most logical place and start digging. Let the satisfaction of little victories build into momentum towards your goals (which are more concrete than dreams). Once you're moving again, make the lists and plans that will serve as the bridges and pathways to link you to your goals. 
But just start. So that's what I'm doing.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016.


  1. Wishing you and DP much happiness in 2016!
    Bmom and Bdad

  2. You can do it!!! Happy new years

  3. Great post! Thanks for the motivation!


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