March 19, 2021 – A Sense of Accomplishment

There are so many things in life that take perseverance and commitment and discipline, especially when those things are specific goals we have set for ourselves. Of all the things in life, when we finally achieve those goals that we have sought to complete, there is no greater sense of accomplishment. Today I am feeling particularly good because I finally finished painting the trim in the bathroom. Physically, I felt pretty lousy during the process but I was determined to complete it once-and-for-all and now I can finally say it is d-o-n-e! I no longer set huge, taxing goals in my life; I recognize my limits now and work within them. I know that painting the bathroom trim seems like a pretty insignificant goal to some, in fact, the ‘me’ 10 years ago would have scoffed at such a goal. That ‘me’ was used to painting two bedrooms in under a day. Not anymore! I’m happy with little things like keeping up on the laundry, walking my dog every other day or spending less than $5 on a homecooked meal.

That’s the great thing about goals, they needn’t be anything monumental. I applaud the people that set goals such as competing in marathons or climbing to the summit of Mount Everest, but that’s not for me. I’m running on half a tank nowadays so my standards aren’t what they used to be. Moving into an apartment or a house and having everything unpacked and put away over a weekend was something I used to strive for and accomplish up until I reached around 30 years of age. I had a lot of energy back then! We purchased our most recent home 6 1/2 years ago and I still haven’t unpacked all of the boxes; however, I’m nearly a quarter of a century older and as I’ve said a time or two, this ol’ gray mare just ain’t what she used to be! Each day I try and set small goals. Often I reach them, but more often than not, I don’t. My goal of vacuuming and/or wiping down and donating a bunch of furniture we don’t use or need any longer has yet to happen.

I have two wingback chairs overturned in my bedroom, they are both eventually going to end up at Goodwill or the Salvation Army or one of the thrift stores in our community. Do you know how long the chairs have been in that state? I’m embarrassed to say it, but at least 9 months. Each morning I wake up and think to myself, “Today’s the day!” Each night, when I go to bed and see them still in the overturned position, I think to myself, “Oh, crap! Well, maybe tomorrow.” I know it has to be driving my husband nuts. He’s a ‘get stuff done’ kind of guy and a neat freak. Waking up to a sink full of dishes has a tendency to rub him the wrong way. Imagine how waking up to those chairs every morning must make him feel! There’s also the old medicine cabinet and vanity light just inside the entryway to our home and a huge pile of donations in the corner of the laundry room that continues to grow. I will get to all of it ‘someday’.

Have you ever had people set goals for you? The one way to ensure I won’t do something is to demand it unless there are dire consequences (for me) if I don’t complete the goal. I can think of two instances offhand. The first one was when I was a kid and my stepdad set daily goals for me and two of my older brothers in the form of a ‘chore chart’. I hated doing chores but I did them anyway because the consequence was ‘hell to pay’ if I didn’t. When I went through basic training, I also completed all of the goals that were set for me by the training instructor because once again, if I didn’t complete them, there would be ‘hell to pay’. I didn’t like scrubbing latrines and ironing my underwear and making my bed so I could bounce a quarter off of it. The only thing I wanted to use my quarters on was calling home on a payphone or buying candy in the vending machine. I could give a toss about bouncing a quarter off a bed.

As a child, there were a lot of goals that I failed miserably at and was, therefore, unable to achieve a sense of accomplishment. Learning how to play the piano was a disaster. After trying to learn how to play the piano and an acoustic guitar, I decided playing music was ‘not in the cards’ for me. At my first and only piano recital, when I sat down on the bench and readied my hands above the keys, my mind went blank. I completely froze! My piano teacher eventually signaled for me to ‘exit stage left’. I did the same thing when I tried out for flags and the cheerleading squad in high school. After hours of practice, when it was my ‘time to shine’, I stood there like a deer in the headlights. During high school, I had also set out to join the Air Force Academy. After graduation, I had intended to go to the academy for 4 years, become an officer, serve for 5 years, and then get out and become a school teacher. That goal got sidelined when I came down with mono as a junior.

As an adult, I’ve accomplished many goals, especially when it comes to weight loss. I gained weight and I lost weight and I gained weight and I lost weight and I gained weight, you get the point. With great pride, I can say that as of today, I have successfully lost 40 pounds (plus or minus 1-2 pounds) and kept it off for a year and a half! That’s a big deal for me!! When I was forty, I lost approximately 75 pounds, but after a year I gained nearly all of it back (after telling everyone and their brother that I was NEVER going to get fat again). Famous last words! I felt such a sense of accomplishment during that short period of time and once I put nearly all of the weight back on, I felt like such a failure! This time around, I have a greater sense of confidence that I will be successful at keeping it off. My reasons for getting healthy are different now and I’ve done a lot of work on myself to stop self-sabotaging.

My skin didn’t bounce back like it used to but I still feel better not lugging around a bunch of extra weight, which brings me to another goal, self-acceptance. That’s one of my greatest goals and I hope to achieve it eventually. Hopefully, it won’t happen right before I take my last breath! That would be a major bummer and terribly ironic at the same time!! At least I can say I’ve accomplished a thing or two in my lifetime. Some things that come to mind are as follows: 1) Raising three children that turned into some pretty terrific adults, 2) Having a lasting marriage, and 3) Getting my Associates Degree. I also won first place in a Halloween contest several years ago (dressed as an Oompa Loompa) after coming in 2nd place the year prior, and just this past fall, I finished the entire Rosetta Stone Spanish Program (Latin American Version) after digitizing all of my old VHS tapes. Muchas gracias!

What’s next? Well, what I’d like to do is have my own show at an art gallery, get my upper and lower body strength back, and publish a book (in no particular order). I do realize that these are enormous goals, my own versions of running a marathon or climbing to the summit of Mount Everest. They are all going to require perseverance, commitment, and discipline (three things I sorely lack in). If these goals that I have set for myself don’t happen in this lifetime, I guess they don’t happen; however, I’m going to try and chip away at each of them with the energy reserves I have left and if I am able to successfully achieve even one of these three goals, that will definitely be something to celebrate! I still haven’t gotten around to cleaning the sink full of dishes tonight so I hope I’m not setting myself up for failure. Anyway, wish me luck! And if you’re working towards your own goals, I wish you all the success in the world! Hasta luego!!

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