Some people with goals will work through them quickly, some slowly, and some never stop dreaming. Big and small, we are designed to desire success. Some goals last an hour, and we realize they aren’t for us after all. but the things that get done often nag at us constantly, chewing at the back of our minds until we are compelled to take action which will get what we want. Still, other ideas we’re passionate about, get lost because life won’t slow down for us.
Should we let go after a fixed time, if we haven’t worked on something for 2 years? Should we embrace a minimalist take on our aspiration when we’ve establish a life already? I’m not going to hand anyone an universal answer, but I can share two examples of what I’ve done.
If you’ve read this blog very long, you know that I love Shania Twain. I met her. The path to that accomplishment was long; it took 13 years, and it was not a progress laden journey. Cerebral Palsy, burns, depression, anorexia, countless hospitalizations, and 10 surgeries took place between the day 11-year-old me decided she wanted to meet Shania, and the day I did. Many people believed I would die because I was struggling on so many levels. There were years my ill health was all that was on my mind. And, I didn’t make progress, as hard as I tried, when I worked toward my goal.
But, I couldn’t let it go. When I was able to think clearly I always returned to thinking of creative new methods to make my impossible, my accomplishment. I wasn’t just throwing darts at a wall of ideas. I had to learn and incorporate new information constantly. At my first concert, where Shania read every sign I didn’t have a sign. When took a sign, it didn’t get her attention, so I kept trying, beyond the concert arenas. When my opportunity came it wasn’t planned.
For a slightly more recent example, the book I’m working on. I began writing in June of 2018; I loved this project from the start, but my body would allow me more than a half-hour at a time. Even when I was off of school and work for a weekend, and my weight had normalized from previous anorexic, life-threatening, lows; I couldn’t stay concentrate. My body wanted to sleep all the time.
I dosed in class, at work, and on the ride home, and I dosed after a few hundred words at my writing table. When at my most dysfunctionally exhausted, I stopped writing at all in order to preserve energy for things I couldn’t ignore, missing due dates for college assignments because I fell asleep before hitting the online submit button. If you’re wondering why I didn’t seek medical help, I was looking for answers, the process was extremely slow.
When I found a treatment that helped, a year had passed. My manuscript hadn’t been opened for 7 months, and I was drawn back to it with unfazed enthusiasm. Today was more productive than most, reading through and editing ten pages.
At times, I wonder if I am better doing other, easier, things. When going through long unproductive periods, I struggle to remember that no amount of time will dictate whether I leave an idea behind. If something seems like it has flowed slowly before freezing, I ask myself if it still moves or excites me. As long as motivation remains I’ll keep working over decades until it’s complete, or I’m dead.
Passion doesn’t always follow standards.