After graduating in June (and making the decision not to walk at my own graduation because I’m a social pariah) I decided to take a reflective stance on my life. Up until that point my life had been defined by my role as a student. My primary purpose and goals had always revolved around school and the idea of losing that role left me afraid of losing my own identity. If I wasn’t working towards the acquisition of knowledge and good grades I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. My biggest fear was falling into a lazy slum. I was afraid I would suddenly lose the drive to continue improving and growing so I decided to briefly draft up a mantra for my new “adult” life (my mantra can be found here).
One of the most important aspects of setting goals is checking in with yourself. Roughly five months later and I have moved across the continent, started a new job (eek I guess I should say almost completed a new job), started dating a new boy, taken up baking as a hobby, recommitted myself to running, began writing a novel, started reading the news every day and reading real books (that aren’t text books) a whole lot more…etc. Today I want to take the time to examine my progress and congratulate myself. Making time to write daily, to run when I’m anxious or to read the news are not trophy worthy accomplishments. I don’t expect a medal for allowing myself to start believing in love again and I certainly wouldn’t demand external recognition for the small steps I’ve taken to become more aware of the world around me. Yet, I want to recognize myself for my progress. I know my mind and my heart better than anyone else in the world. I know the sort of person I hope to become and I don’t believe I could properly grow into her without taking small steps every single day.
The perfectionist in me will never be completely happy or fulfilled with what I have done. I can’t feel happy with graduating because I’m anxious to move on to grad school. I’ll never be fulfilled finishing a half marathon because I haven’t yet completed a full marathon. When I find someone who gives me butterflies and treats me with respect I will spend my time worrying about everything that could potentially go wrong between the two of us. I will never reach my idea of perfection; it’s just my personality to reform “perfect” once I reach it. However perfection doesn’t need to overshadow progress. Let’s try not to let our inner perfectionists belittle the very real steps we have taken in the directions of our dreams!
How do you encourage yourself to keep growing and improving? How have you changed over the past six months? How have you stayed the same? I can’t be the only one with a deep rooted fear of a stagnant life. I encourage you to take a moment today to reflect on the areas of your life you are making progress. Let’s live our fairytales but remember that real life fairytales take chapters to reach happily ever after and we may very well still be writing the first pages.