13 January 2016

Good Enough is Great: One Word for 2016

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
~ T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets



B
link.  Blink. Blink

The cursor pulsates.  Steady.  Measuring.  Judging. It waits for my Muse to say something.  Anything.

I want this year to be different.  I want to end every day with at least five hundred words on the page. I want to be pain free and overflowing with energy.  I want this year to be perfect.

I want the impossible.

Oh, five hundred words a day is doable.  Pain-free is attainable if I avoid inflammatory foods.  But perfect? Not so much.

My clay dragon was doing so well...
Usually by now I have a word picked out for the year.  Last year it was Adventure.  Although I kicked my writerly Muse to the curb around mid-May and stopped journaling, I did at least try to find adventure throughout 2015.  In August, I took up kayaking – dragged into it moaning and complaining, and then promptly falling madly in love with the river. 

In October, I went to a writers’ conference in Wisconsin, where I managed to kayak the swells of Lake Michigan.  It wasn’t a conference in a remote part of Alaska, of course.  But I still managed to have an adventure of the heart there.  And I rediscovered my passion for writing.

So did I live out Adventure to the fullest?

Only I can determine that and I am my own worst critic.  Some inner demon – installed on my hard drive in childhood – keeps pulling me back three steps for each one I take forward.  It’s exhausting and discouraging.  And such weekly or daily battles drain me.  Make it difficult to even hear the Muse, much less live out what she says. 

L.M. Montgomery once said, “Despair is a free man, but hope is a slave.”  Sounds cynical but it’s true.  Hope may keep you going, yes, but it also keeps you tied – and when that something isn’t healthy or sane or doesn’t give you joy or add to your life in some way, then you have become a slave to anticipation.

It is, however, a new year and there’s something to be said for setting realistic expectations.  For too long, I’ve set them high -- too high for anyone to reach – yet I expected to reach them.  And fell into despair and stagnation when I failed.

Good Enough…is Great!
....and then he just fell apart. :(
Whether or not 2016 is “epic” (as I hoped 2015 would be), is no longer the measure of whether December will find me a better person or a more prolific writer.  This year, I’ve set goals with my ADD, depression, work schedule, and health in mind.  And that means setting my expectations to Good Enough

Not in the sense that I don’t put forth my best effort.  Rather, I will work to silence that inner demon that demands perfection from every single thing I undertake by doing the task and allowing the result to be good enough.  Even becoming comfortable with failure. 


Write every day
Kayak as often as I can
Visit old friends
Follow the Paleo lifestyle to heal my body
Continue making pottery
Send one card or letter a month

If I can do these things and learn to allow myself to be good enough, then 2016 just might end up an epic adventure after all.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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