Here in New Hampshire it is common wisdom that certain garden crops should not be planted until Memorial Day weekend. In the past it was because there was still a chance of a killing frost, even up until the end of May. With the warming of the planet, I don’t know how many gardeners still follow that guidance. Nevertheless, the end of May has always felt like an ending and a beginning.
What skills do I want to grow?
Step One: Know Thyself.
If I had a magic genie lamp, and could make three attainable wishes, what would they be?
1- To be as fit as possible, considering my age. My desire for this has grown exponentially in recent weeks. I gaze with deep envy when I spot someone my age who is a healthy weight and reasonably spry. I mentioned this desire to a friend a couple weeks ago, and her response was, “That’s a very reasonable goal.” I was taken aback. A reasonable goal? You mean I am not kidding myself? Her response has had a lasting impact.
2- To be a published author. In order to do that, I need to devote focused chunks of time each day to writing, and not just writing in my journal, or even here on my blog. I need to select one of the three writing projects I have on the back burner, and focus on just one of them until it either starts to sprout real potential, or proves it is not truly compelling. My plan is to work on one book draft for four weeks, and only then evaluate my progress toward the ultimate multi-month goal.
3- To be a published illustrator. Again, this is where study and practice come in. I love the illustration shorthand used by illustrators like E. H. Shepard of Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows fame. When I take the time to actually copy one of his illustrations in my own sketchbook, I learn so much more than I would by simply studying it visually. Of course the only way to make this skill my own is through practice, practice, practice. Truth be told, I already own enough empty sketchbooks and blank pads of paper– no more vegetation need sacrifice their lives in my name. All I need now is begin in earnest, every day.
Three wishes, three activities that will give me joy, and that are simple to do. All that stands (and has ever stood) in my way is Impatience and Unreasonable Timelines. The goals have always been fine– the timelines, not so much.
Encouragement and evaluation don’t mix.
My life-long journey toward these three goals has been stumbling at best because I have tried to encourage myself while at the very same moment I was evaluating my progress.
It can’t be done! When looking at my own work, evaluation comes more naturally than encouragement. Oddly enough, that is the exact opposite of how I treat my friends.
The good news is that with awareness, change becomes possible.
I am not married to my past, so today I choose Encouragement most every minute of the day, and I save Evaluation for special occasions, moments in time that I select in advance. In the meanwhile, I am free to fly. How about you?
If you could have three simple goals for the next growing season, what would they be?
Could you reach those goals in few months, or maybe a year?
During that time, could you be kind and encouraging to yourself, assessing your progress only monthly?
In the meantime, could you maintain faith in your ability to reach the next milestone?
Can you start by simply wondering what your three secret dreams truly are?
I believe in you, even though we have never met. Tag, you’re it!