Well too be fair, it’s not really THE finish line, more like the 5k finish line as you prepare for the Marathon, but either way I finished it-My book proposal. It’s done. It took me three months, (which by the way, is longer than most of my relationships last), but after endless drafts and re-writes I picked my two best chapters, typed up a 15 page proposal and query letter and sent it in. Now what?
Well, I wait, but I also reflect.
When I was Young
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “quitter”, but I never really stuck with things. I’d play softball for a season or two and then not want to go back for a third. My mom got tired of dragging me, kicking and screaming, to piano lessons and everyone in my ballet class just seemed like such a b*tch, I didn’t really want to go. Nothing ever quite fit.
Then I got older and learned you can’t finish everything you want, because you have to make choices. My senior year of high school I chose the Drama club over the Cheerleading squad, and I couldn’t do both my sorority and keep up with my theater rehearsals when I transferred schools. You get older and learn you can’t really do it all.
Then you become an Adult….
But then “you can’t do it all” turns into, “I can’t get anything done.” Sure, everyone sets goals as an adult: pay off debt, get a better job, find someone to spend your life with. Still, we aren’t kids anymore and have a lot of additional responsibilities that get in the way of us accomplishing the longer-term items that will make us truly happy, or get us to where we ultimately want to be. Life becomes more about accomplishing the day-to-day than going for the long term. I mean, how often do we in our adult lives get to hold up that spelling bee trophy, participants medal? We don’t even get fun pizza parties anymore as a reward just for showing up.
Doing things to progress your “long term” goals is overwhelming. There were a lot of nights I wanted to go to trivia, or meet up with friends and I couldn’t because I knew I needed to finish. Sure, selling the book and getting published would be nice, but that’s not why I did it. I did it because I wanted to prove to myself that I could, that even though I’m not a child anymore I can still show up, suit up, and accomplish things for myself. In the middle of this process I realized, I haven’t really finished anything since I left college. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been feeling so lost, because I haven’t taken the chance to prove something to myself in a really, really long time.
What Does it Mean to Finish Something?
It’s so inspiring when people accomplish their goals: losing weight, hitting a zero balance, or getting a promotion. Yet, what does it really mean when we finish something? When we were younger it didn’t mean as much, yet we celebrated accomplishments more. Accomplishing your goals means you have tenacity, to go after the things you want, drive to kick yourself in the ass when no one else will, and the character to see things through. After all, when you fall short of your goals, the only person you fail is yourself.I guess what I would like for you to take away from this post is this: finish something today that you may have put off doing. Something that will help you for the long term, not doing your Wednesday night laundry on a Tuesday. Don’t finish it for the trophy or pizza party, finish something because of what it will say about you, your character and your own values.
I can honestly say I have never worked harder or for as long as I did on getting my book ready. I’m happy, but I also want to weep, because I’m just mentally exhausted. I managed to crank out this post though, my own emotional equivalent of a pizza party. I’m motivated to keep going and working hard on my goals, but not until after a nice, long nap.
Have you finished anything lately? Accomplished any important goals? I want to hear about it!