Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ready, RESET, Go!

A new year is, for many, a fresh start; it impels us to disregard past memories, forgive foolish mistakes and prepare ourselves for 12 forthcoming months that encompass unknown discoveries.

But what if we could press a reset button any time we wanted to have a do-over, or to simply be presented with an alternate outcome for experiences that were unfavorable, yet unforgettable?

Despite everything I accomplished in and prior to 2018, I didn’t feel successful. I know that may seem a bit strange, but I’ve reluctantly accepted the fact that I am a perfectionist. And although the term may carry a positive connotation in various other instances, it’s the most apparent cause of my anxiety... 

I hate missing deadlines. 
I panic when I don’t complete tasks. 
I sleep when I’m frustrated. 
I hide when I’m unproductive.
I curse and cry when I’m unable to write. 

So this year, I’m pretending as if God has gifted me with a reset button. 

Rather than reprimanding myself for failing to meet my own standards, I will focus on what I’ve done correctly and relish in more moments of personal reassurance.

Each day that I rise, I will press an imaginary reset button and it will figuratively erase the emotions that seek to ruin my mood. Most importantly, (this will require unlimited effort), I will trust God more and stop trying to control, alter, and reshape every aspect of the preordained life that He has designed for me and only me.

The biggest lesson that I learned during this past cycle of 365 days is that fear complements failure. In most cases, we fail when we are afraid. Also, failure doesn’t look the same for everyone. So, previously, when I stated that I didn’t feel successful, I meant that I spent too much time dwelling on the things I did not accomplish, and the opportunities I did not pursue, such as, but not limited to:

The five-year incomplete draft of my second novel, Date Knight.

No matter how detailed my outline may be, or how much time I’ve reserved during weeknights and weekends to develop the plot and welcome character chaos, it’s as if the words are being held captive inside my brain. 

Reneging on an overseas teaching offer that would have allowed me to be closer to my husband when he’s away completing contracted work. 

In February, I “secretly” traveled to NYC for an interview fair and received on-the-spot offers from schools in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Haiti, Morocco and Qatar, respectively. I had to accept one of the offers within three days; I was temporarily excited about returning to Kuwait. I submitted all requested documentation and was informed of my departure date (August 26th). Just a couple of weeks into my summer break, for illogical and regretful reasons, I changed my mind and resumed my teaching position in Jacksonville. In hindsight, being nominated for Teacher of the Year shortly after backtracking helped sooth the sting of forfeiting tax-free benefits, but I still catch myself wondering, "what if"...

Extending instead of resolving my financial debt(s).

Budgeting while broke, I took personal and business trips to NYC, Vegas, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dallas, Mexico and New Orleans, purchased a new car and swiped the hell out of my credit cards. Somehow, my meager teacher salary combined with income from iWrite4orU editing projects has allowed me to still afford to pay my bills.

And here is where I wish I could press the reset button to replenish my bank account...

Surprisingly, I’ve been super productive these first two weeks of 2019, mainly due to eliminating the distraction of social media. My thoughts are much clearer and inspiration heckles me at odd times, though not as often as it did when I was fresh out of college. 

I’m glad that I still have the urge to activate my purpose, even when its impact appears to be lessening. I haven’t been as deliberate with my motivational messages or as active with my online presence because I’ve been deeply devoted to self-care. Between physically releasing tension at the gym and completing mental exercises on my therapist’s couch, I’ve come to understand that my body is the defender of my creativity. I must consciously take care of it if I will continue to share what I consider to be my most valued and unmatched talent: writing.

After almost two decades of exerting my ability to express, it’s not unusual that I eventually became worn out and depleted. Which is why this button is now a fictitious accessory that will be utilized to maintain my sanity. Whenever I reach the point of feeling overworked and overwhelmed, I will re-set and re-member that perfection is not a prerequisite for success... and also pray that I won’t ever again be stressed AF and start growing gray hair before 2020.

Happy New Year,