Life isn’t for you to control.

I had an epiphany while in the shower this morning, contemplating life as the warm water beat against my back. For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to have a plan that would map out my every move to get me where I wanted to be. Whether it was in my education, my career, even my personal life, I have always tried to control everything.

Then yesterday, I tuned into a TED Talk with Muniba Mazari, and she shared her story of an arranged marriage she entered because her father had told her to do so. She goes on to say that at some point in the marriage, she and her husband suffer a car accident, and while he came out unscathed, it was unclear if Muniba would ever walk again. She tells the audience that she came to terms with the news, but when the doctor told her she would never be a mother or paint again, she refused to listen. She asked her family to bring paint to her hospital bed and did exactly what they said she wouldn’t have been able to do. Years later, after leaving the hospital, she adopted a little boy and became a mother, doing exactly what they said she wouldn’t be able to do.

 Muniba says, “Don’t die before your death.” And while her message of doing the things you want rather than being complacent in your life is clear and I hear it, I also feel as if there is an even greater message behind her story. Something that spoke to only me perhaps, but during my shower, it hit me.

Muniba experienced a car crash she surely wasn’t planning on, but she had planned on children and painting. Nothing in my life as far as obstacles could ever compare to Muniba, but I have had moments where what I had planned was upset by an undesirable event, and because of that event, I abandoned the path to my goal. One little upset, and I gave up because I wasn’t in complete control.

And here’s where my epiphany comes in. While I stood in my shower, steam filling up the bathroom, I realized, life isn’t for you to control. Life is full of unexpected, sometimes tragic events, and never will anyone be able to fully avoid all of life’s curveballs, nor should anyone try. Life is meant to be lived through it all. You dodge those curveballs, and keep moving. It doesn’t have to be down the path you had imagined. It doesn’t have to be part of the same route at all. If you have in your mind your ultimate goals, big or small, daily or yearly, how you get there doesn’t matter. It only matters that you do. 

Life isn’t for you to control, but you can control your reaction to life.

2017 Goals

Last year, I had planned on setting goals each month with a long term goal as the grand prize. I think I made it through four months of the process, but like most “resolution-ists”, it kind of fell to the wayside. This year, I have some ideas of what I would like to accomplish in 2017, but some aren’t fully fleshed out just yet. I’m thinking I might create a few monthly goals, but I also have some that I would like to set for the overall year as well.happy-new-year-2017-images

This month:

-Figure out how to lose weight. I’ll expand on this in another post.
-Write 10K words on my new project.
-Continue to Tweet daily and blog at least weekly.
-Have a date night.

Overall year:

-Travel. I have a wedding to attend in Colorado, so this should be easy, but I also want to go to Florida. We’ll see what we can manage.
-Take a vacation. This kind of goes with the above, but I also want to make sure that I take the time to enjoy a break from the norm.
-Graduate. My bachelor’s degree is so close. I will finish it this year!

We’ll see how it all pans out, and I promise I’ll keep you’ll posted. After the excruciating year 2016 turned out to be, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

 

Goals and Criticism

As I was finishing up a few items for the book release giveaways of my latest novel Alyeska, I started to scroll through my previous two novels, See You Soon and The Shoreline, reviews. As a writer, I believe each novel I complete brings me to the next level in my writing like I become a better novelist as each project progresses. Going through some of these older reviews on my past projects only confirms my mindset.

I’m proud of the ratings each of my novels have including my first, See You Soon. This novella was my first go around with the world of indie authors, and I am extremely happy with its performance. Some reviews were outstanding while a few rare comments would appear negative. I refuse to consider them as such because every review is a learning moment. If a reader doesn’t like a certain aspects of the book then it is my job as the author to understand what need was not met by my work on behalf of the reader. Writing at times can be a selfish act, but without an audience, we are only talking to ourselves. That starts to look a little scary to outsiders watching the dialogue between you and you, so it’s best to have someone who wants to listen to you.

As I read through the comments, I realize how much I have grown in three short years since my first novel release. Some of the constructive feedback helped me to become the writer I am today because in those comments that some might take to heart and allow to hurt their spirit, I found enlightenment and a challenge that I gladly accepted. 

So to any and all that find criticism hurtful, my advice is this: look that person/avatar/computer personality in the eye and say, “Watch this.” Push yourself for better, strive to exceed their expectations, but always be sure that you are happy to do it. Always be hungry for more to not only outshine a seemingly below average standard, but to prove to yourself that you can be better.

Disclaimer: you won’t ever make everyone happy which is clear in any reviews you read on anything, but if you find a way to push yourself to meet the goals you set, then the only happy person that matters is you.

I’m going to try to remember this as well as we head into the new year, and I create my resolutions. Hmm. I have to get that list done soon. What goals can I set this year?

New Year, New Resolutions

I’m not one to follow the fad of creating resolutions only to break them three to four months down the road. I have very strong will-power exhibited by my strict diet before I was pregnant, my strict diabetic diet while I was pregnant, and now my more lax, but still stringent breastfeeding diet. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is for someone, including myself, to say they are going to do something, but then do not follow through. It irks me to no end, and I eventually lose trust in the person. If it is me that is not completing what I set out to do then I become my own WORST critic. (Yes, I mean WORST!)

So this year, I plan on doing things a little differently. Instead of setting goals for the entire year, I will be setting goals each month with a long term goal as the grand prize, but not the must meet point. Thus, alleviating myself the stress of not following through if I do not meet the ultimate goal.

January’s goals:

-Write 10,000 words on my work-in-progress novel (that should complete it, but we will see where the characters take me!)
-Blog weekly =)
-At least one date with Hubby
-10 minutes of me time a day (in which I will probably blog or write)
-Wean my daughter (already started, but I would like to finish this item this month)
       and if I complete the above:
-Lose 8lbs. (I know, it’s on everyone’s list, but I’m serious!)

I’ll start with these, celebrate the items I complete (which I really need to learn to do), and see where I end up next month. Celebrating the things I do complete rather than focusing on the things I don’t will be an area I know I will struggle, but by creating these mini goals, I am hoping that I can learn what it means to win battles rather than focusing on the war. Seeing the big picture is one thing; obsessing over it for a year is madness.

Here’s to hoping 2016 will be better than 2015. Cheers!