Today marks an important milestone for me. In both my fitness – Couch to 5K – and my writing – the novel “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – I’ve crossed the halfway point. I wasn’t really paying attention. This whole project is, after all, about focusing on the moment not the outcome, but when I finished my last run, the program I’m using sent me a message that read: “Congratulations, you’re halfway done. People who make it halfway tend to finish. Keep it up.”
I am halfway done. I’m 30,000 words into my novel. I’ve maintained my blog and journal schedule. I’ve even just crossed the 50% line in Spanish fluency on Duolingo. All in a month. All without really thinking beyond the tasks of any given day.
I’m not one to celebrate a job half-done. It’s not my nature. I like finished projects. I like to think about daily tasks I’ve completed. But this small acknowledgment, programmed by a stranger I’ll never meet some time ago, gave me a moment’s pause. That I’ve made it halfway is one thing. That I’ve made it halfway without feeling like I had to try too terribly hard is something else entirely. It makes me think I’m on the right track.
I had coffee with my friend Curtis this morning. It’s the first time we’ve sat down together in a few months. The last time I saw him, I was frustrated by the work I was doing, frustrated that I could never make the time to do the work I wanted to do. Since I’ve seen him, I’ve made a plan and have been sticking with it – successfully if my app is be believed.
So this morning I took him through the plan. I told him how I broke down impossible goals in to manageable bite-sized nuggets. He’s not the type to sit down and read a blog post, but he spends his life helping organizations and individuals manage through change. Saying it out loud, telling him the story start to finish, I felt proud. He too was proud, of the work I had done and corner I had turned. But more importantly, he lent some perspective to what I was doing.
I made this plan, this list of goals and daily tasks, for myself. I made it because I was sick and tired of feeling like I had ideas and aspirations that weren’t going anywhere. Curtis knew I felt that way. He’s known it for years. Catching him up on things – and you might want to read blog posts from the beginning of the year (they’re numbered) if you don’t know what I’m talking about – he said I seemed different, calmer.
I’m the type of person who beats himself up over past mistakes. That’s gone.
I’m the type of person who feels frustrated by a perceived lack of time. Took care of that.
I’m the type of person whose mind wanders, for whom any idea is worth pondering. I’ve built some structure to help channel that.
He told me how useful, if I can keep going, this experience will be- not just for myself, but for others. It was reassuring. I certainly didn’t set out to create a some sort of guide or template for other people, but he told me lots of people feel the same frustration I was feeling. It was validating to hear a person I admire talk about my work as being useful. It made me feel good and, like the little notice from my app, served as further motivation to keep going.
I needed that more than I thought I would.