Today I’m trying my hand a flash fiction because as John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Like six word stories, they pack a powerful punch in just a few words. Here goes:
In the midst of a month of madness, she was plucked from the pressures of puppy parenthood and advising anxious students who only recently realized their imminent return to school required registering for and funding their education, and drove across the country to Colorado attend the nuptials of her fiancé’s niece.
Despite the availability and legality of certain mind altering substances, the only thing she needed to experience a Rocky Mountain high was to walk among the aspens, breathe in the air, and respond to the call of the wild.
The Olympics are here! This song has been running through my head since the opening ceremonies, so I thought I’d share it with you.
Since I only knew the first line, it was high time for me to Google the rest of it. I discovered this fabulous video of Peter Allen and his pink pants, maracas, and joie de vivre that screams of all things Rio – at least in my imagination.
The Olympics are a grand global get-together. They allow us to be a part of something spectacular, break down the barriers that separate us, and for a brief time intricately connect us to the stories, hopes, and dreams of those who live all over the world.
It’s thrilling to be alive in times when humans are faster, stronger, smarter, and more determined than ever.
The competition compels everyone to perform better. Even the caliber of the commercials rival that of Super Bowl Sunday.
But on the other hand, it seems to bring out this unchecked need to grab for the gold. The time or points between first and second or even first and seventh are so minuscule, and yet the difference somehow declares one person a winner and another a loser.
These athletes have all made it to the Olympics, for goodness sake! If they feel bad for not getting a medal, imagine how the rest of us feel for not getting off the couch.
Of course, no one expects us to perform physical feats like an Olympian. However, I suspect we all have Olympic expectations of ourselves in fields where we could be contenders.
For example, it isn’t enough for me to write a blog post. To go for the gold, I should also write for O magazine, More magazine, the Huffington Post or other trendy publications. I should also have a book on the New York Times best seller list and be booked on several talk shows. At the very least, my followers should number more than a few friends and family members.
Or so I’m told. Personally, I feel like I win every time I connect with you.
How do we let Olympic achievements guide and motivate us to become our best? How do we write our own stories based on what we’ve learned from theirs? How do we go for our own kind of gold, silver, or bronze and know that is enough?
I’d love to hear what events you’d be competing in if you participated in an Olympics dedicated to all the things you excel at.
For example, would there be a trivia contest, a baton twirling with fire fest, a dog walking decathlon, a poetry slam, a bubble bath battle, a coffee drinking debate, or a clothes changing charge?
Which of these events – if not all – would you be favored to win? Which would you be delighted just to get to participate in?
Your Olympian efforts matter. I’d love to play your anthem and hear about your achievements in the comments below. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what do you do after 31 days of getting stuff done?
You begin again.
You get more stuff done. Just keep swimming. Or writing. Or working on your projects, relationships, fitness goals, wedding plans, dream vacation, degree, or whatever your thing may be.
Because life isn’t just a sound bite of the sensational or a slice of nice, consistent progress. It’s the whole enchilada. It’s a series of fits and starts. It’s one step forward, two steps back. It’s continuously changing the toilet paper roll.
I keep this Begin Again stone on my writing desk to remind me that no matter how many words I’ve written, every day is an opportunity to write more and improve my craft.
Just as you would never expect one meal, one night’s sleep, or one workout to fuel you for life, you can’t expect to do a difficult thing once (like a 31 day challenge) and be good to go indefinitely.
Challenges catapult you out of your comfort zone and into your evolutionary zone.
This is where things get interesting. This is where the ordinary becomes the extraordinary because you have become extraordinary in the process. You may not have noticed the transformation because it occurred in the context of your ordinary life.
But somewhere along the way, the discipline, desire, and doing became ingrained in your brain. Not doing what your new habits dictate now probably feels stranger than doing them did in the beginning.
I have to admit, on Monday I felt a bit like our new puppy Ruby feels when she goes in her crate and Bob or I disappear for awhile. Although my house, my hubby-to-be, and my dogs were happy to have my full attention once again, I was feeling some separation anxiety from this community we’ve created together.
So this morning when Ruby woke up at 4:55am, I decided to use her wide awake time to begin again and write. Ruby also informed me that she would like her own blog, Pinterest page, or Instagram account. Stay tuned for The Life of Riley (Ruby O’Riley). A zen dog with a blog, Pinterest page, or Instagram account. 🙂
Habits are fascinating things. They shape our lives for better or worse. If you’d like to learn more about them, here are a couple of resources I recommend.
- Watch this short video on The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Download worksheets from Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
If you participated in our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge, I’d love to hear what new habits you formed. If you didn’t participate but have some insights or experiences with learning new habits or breaking old ones, please share in the comments below.