And what I hear is a lot of “what if” and “if only” and “If I could just” and “So and So is doing this and that’s what I want” and “Why can’t I?,” and Et Cetera. I’m not immune to it, but I am growing ever more Aware of it. Circuitous thinking, round and round it goes, endless. Our desires are always a step farther than our needs, just round that curved corner we can’t see from where we are.
Funny thing is, we don’t remember when we were wishing for that something because when we reached that goal, we were already circling to find the next thing, and that for which we wished for prior has already been left behind.
Don’t get me wrong, having goals and wanting success is not a bad thing. What I am talking about is our discontent or dissatisfaction with what is happening right now; you know, that thing we had wanted to achieve so very much, before we actually achieved it.
So, round and round we go, stepping over successes, great and small, along the way. Oops! I just stepped over the goal of starting my project/finishing my project! Oops! I just stepped over my goal of finding an agent/having my work published/getting paid for writing/querying agents-small presses-lit mags/having someone I respect love my work or encourage me. Oops! I just stepped over my goal of my work being published. Oops, I just stepped over my goal of (fill in blanks). And as you circle, you pass people who are running to catch up and pass you as you run to catch up and pass someone else.
A writer, Michael M. Hughes, is a guest at helluo librorum, and after reading his experiences, this one sentence bolded in my head: “If you have even halting, tentative success, realize how lucky you are.”
So, this holiday fourth of July weekend, or whatever the case may be where you are, take a moment to NOTICE just where you are Right Now, and then, take just a glance backwards to remember how excited you were when This Thing Happened—that first glow, that first happy realization that you met your goal before you left it behind and began the round and round and round.
Each success should be savored. Roll that thing in your mouth like a big piece of sweet hard candy –the good kind not the kind nobody likes –and instead of crunching through it and swallowing it, let it slowly melt before you reach for the next piece.
And remember how there is always going to be someone behind you and someone in front of you and someone running over you or pushing you out of the way, someone who sets up circle-roadblocks in front of you—but if you stop the mad dash round and round and appreciate each experience, you will find some peace.
I know every one of us will forget this advice and/or ignore it repeatedly, but for right now, we have right now.