Getting Past Messy By Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
There is something so refreshing about having a new plan for life and implementing it at the new year. It’s perfect and that’s the problem. Trying to implement perfection is impossible. It’s like trying to write neatly page after page in a new very beautiful journal. Who wants messy in that journal: tear stains, pens smudges or chocolate crumbs? So naturally the inability to attain perfection wins in the struggle to make the desired change.
Okay, what to do about this? Start early…no really, start your New Year’s resolution in October. That’s what I did and I can’t believe how great my New Year is going.
Last October, I watched the movie Julie/Julia for the umpteenth time, balling my eyes out has I had every time I’ve seen it. “I can write a blog…I have ideas” and my other favorite line: “Julia Childs wasn’t always Julia Childs“ really resonate with me. I love Julie and loved that Julia Childs found her passion at dang near 50 years old. Ahhh, I turned 49 on December 31st. (Talk about pressure and issues of perfection…) After that viewing I watched the special features and when the real Julie said that she knew that if she wrote her blog her life would look different in a year, I thought me too, me too!!!
Maybe it was my upcoming birthday or may it was the confluence of my stars, but finally I said to myself: I am going to run a marathon for my 50th birthday (one year and two months away) and I am going to blog about the process. The best thing about a blog is the accountability and the cheering section. Now here’s the funny part: I was going to run a marathon during my 40th year. For my birthday I bought the books, the clothes, the shoes, everything. Mmm, let’s see I lasted probably a month and I didn’t even start reading the books.
But now there’s blogging (and I have ideas too). I started my blog, Run Mo Run in October. I started to read the books. And then I floundered, but I tried again. I floundered and whined some more, but I tried again. Up and down through my fits and starts I actually began the process, slowly. The process of committing time to my training wasn’t just about time, there was a lot of emotional baggage about putting my needs and desires first, at times before my wifely and motherly duties, that was and is difficult for me. During the two months I let go of perfection and just kept moving forward emotionally and physically.
The process of making the commitment publicly to run a marathon has also empowered me to rent an office and write full time. Amazingly, ironically, coincidently the process for getting into the office, something I have dreamed about for quite some time, was exactly the same as beginning the training for a marathon. There was and is a lot of emotional baggage to cut free.
But, here’s the best part, during the two months it took to paint, move in and start writing matched up with the new year. Now it’s January I find my self training for a marathon and writing in my new office. Perfect.
The failure of New Year’s resolutions isn’t about the lack of discipline to do the task, it’s about stepping over the emotional baggage that holds one back. Working through that is messy and messy is hard to do at the beginning of the new year.