I haven't exactly kept to some of my goals for The Year of More as I’ve obviously done things which have resulted in the abovementioned confessions.
I’ve bought four items of clothing – a black skirt for work, a dress to wear to a fancy dress party (which I didn’t end up wearing as I was sick and couldn’t go out to have fun) and two pairs of tights. Oh, okay, and a pair of tog/bather/swimmer bottoms as my others were a tad too snug (too much information??).
And they were too snug due to all the chocolate and ice cream I boldly declared I wouldn’t buy.
I’ve also bought a DVD. Okay, so I’ve bought two DVDs. You have this way of just getting this information out of me! The first DVD I bought was ‘Before Midnight’ (you can read all about that here http://www.theyearofmore.com/blog/how-much-would-you-pay-for-love) and the second one was another copy of ‘Enchanted’ as my current copy got stuck inside my DVD player and never came out again.
I know how much she would have absolutely loved that movie so I watch it every year on her birthday and anniversary. And on other random days when I just feel like watching it. I know it’s silly but it makes me feel close to her. When I was a little girl, one of my absolute Favourite Things To Do, was to spend Saturday afternoon cuddled up on the lounge with Mum as we watched movies on TV. Our favourites were musicals but we both loved a good western as well. And musical westerns, well they were just the bees knees.
By the way, I know I could use the acronym TYoM so you don’t have to read The Year of More in full each and every time but I really like using Full Words. Sorry. I usually write ‘laugh out loud’ too. And ‘oh my goodness’. I just love full written words. It’s such a shame they’ve all been shortened by The Text Message Monster.
Okay, so all these confessions got me thinking about when we say we’re going to do something and we don’t.
Or when our goals don’t exactly turn out how we might have intended.
Or when we set ourselves a goal that is simply unrealistic.
I’m more aware of where my money goes.
I’m saving more money than I usually do.
I have created The Most Kick Ass Spreadsheet with each day’s expenditure nerdily listed in it.
I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in ages.
I’m not spending as much time shopping.
I’m decluttering and donating unused items.
I’m enjoying nurturing my inner child by drawing on my blackboard.
I’m having an enormous amount of fun writing to you about all of my quirky goings on.
And most importantly, I have created more Joy in My Life, which was definitely one of my major goals.
As you may know if you’ve read my post about my childhood typewriter Ollie (http://www.theyearofmore.com/blog/have-you-ever-taken-a-drop-in-pay-in-exchange-for-greater-job-happiness) I never had a bike as a child. In fact, not only did I not own a bike, I never actually learnt to ride one. I have a vague recollection of someone trying to teach me but I was so wobbly and fearful, I suspect they gave up. Okay, so it was most likely me that would have given up. I wasn’t a very adventurous child. Putting myself in physical danger wasn’t really my thing.
Anyway, so fast forward to my mid-thirties and for some bizarre reason I decided to spend my tax refund on a bike. And a helmet. And some crazy contraption to put on my car so I could take The Bike places.
So I went to the bike store with a friend and carefully selected My Very First Bike.
He was purple and I was so excited that I finally had a bike.
I have a fear of falling. From pretty much anywhere and from any height. So things like skateboards and bikes are as terrifying to me as planes and Very Tall Buildings. Actually, they’re even scarier as I actually feel really safe in planes and once I even managed to jump out of one quite successfully. (It was the biggest adrenalin rush ever.)
Plus I had a Very Traumatic Bike Experience when I was a little girl when I fell head first over the handlebars of some random boy’s bike, attempting to ride down Billycart Hill.
Billycart Hill was steep.
Very very steep.
And downright scary. I can’t imagine I actually wanted to get on that too-big-for-me bike and ride down Billycart Hill to my possible death, err, to the bottom. But someone would have pried a book out of my hands and I would have done it because Everyone Else Was. It was quite clearly a perfectly terrifying example of peer group pressure.
I ended up donating a rather large chunk of skin from my foot to the asphalt on Billycart Hill.
Because I ‘shoulded’ myself.
I thought I 'should' be able to ride a bike because that’s what people do.
In my mind, everyone else on the entire planet could ride a bike and I couldn’t. And I honestly thought there was something wrong with that.
That there was something wrong with me.
Because I knew I couldn’t venture onto the road with The Bike just yet. We were only on our first date afterall. I needed to take things slowly.
Only problem was, I seemed to have forgotten that I still didn’t really know how to ride a bike.
And I secretly still dreamt of one with training wheels and a pretty basket with little tassels flying out as I rode down the street.
On the footpath.
In front of my parents house.
Because that’s where you learn to ride a bike.
Not on your own, on a busy bike path when you’re 35.
And it did.
Things went okay for a while. To my utter amazement The Bike and I managed to stay upright for a few kilometres of bike path.
See, even now, this feels embarrassing to be admitting this happened. But you know what?
Why on earth did I think I would so easily be able to do something I had never been taught?
I wouldn’t try to write a computer program if I didn’t know how.
Or I wouldn’t try to build a bridge if I didn’t know how.
So me and The Bike are coasting along enjoying the view (to be honest, I think I was too nervous to really be enjoying anything) and I thought I was doing okay sharing the bike path with Other Peeps and Their Bikes when all of a sudden two people yelled at me for not ringing my bell or some other such bike related task I’d never been shown.
That’s the thing, if you’re out on a bike, people expect you to know what you’re doing. Which is more than fair enough.
At that moment, the minuscule amount of confidence I had started with, plummeted into the earth beneath The Bike’s shiny new wheels and I knew the odds of us making it to Date Number Two were quite slim.
I took The Bike home and kept him in the garage for years until I finally gave him away.
That wasn’t a particularly happy time of my life so I found lots and lots of similar failings to beat myself up about as well.
Until something within me shifted and I drove in one night and had what Oprah would call an 'aha moment' - I thought, ‘I don’t need to be able to ride a bike!’ and from then on it became a reminder to never tell myself I ‘should’ be able to do something. Especially if it's something I've spent my entire life quite happily Not Doing.
And to remind myself that beating myself up isn’t a very kind thing to be doing.
And to especially remind myself that I am capable of so many wonderful things, so it’s okay to let go of the ones I’m not that good at.
And bike riding definitely appeared to fall into that category.
There’s the slightest of chances I would have been better off sticking with the training wheels and basket.
We compare how we look.
We compare what we have.
We compare what we can do.
But I didn’t hear those words and think, ‘I’m going to climb Mt Everest’ or ‘I’m going to become a brain surgeon’ because for various reasons I wouldn’t, (a) enjoy, or (b) be good at either of those pursuits. But my heart heard those words and knew that there are many skills I have and I can put those skills to great use Out in The World. It's often a case of simply working out what our skills and passions are more than anything else.
Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on what we feel we’re not good at, rather than putting our energy into what we are fabulous at!
And even though I may not have stuck to The Rules for The Year of More as well as someone else who creates a Blog and declares they’re going to do A, B and C and actually does A, B and C, I am really proud of what I’ve achieved so far and I am super proud of the changes I’ve made in my life and the self-awareness I’m gaining about all sorts of wonderful things.
And I’m super proud of the fact that I can openly and honestly share my successes and failings and quirks and vulnerabilities and fears and dreams with you via this Blog.
Because we all have them.
The most successful people in the world have failed.
They’ve been vulnerable.
They’ve been afraid.
They have dreams just like you and I.
And some come true and some don’t.
If life is about learning and growing and experiencing, then surely it's better to trip and fall, and question and ponder, and check in with yourself - your heart and your soul - than to simply follow a formula and achieve a goal?
If someone sets themselves the goal of losing weight and they lose 20 kilos by sticking to a strict diet, they may never actually figure out why they put on the weight in the first place.
Or if I had forced myself to learn how to ride a bike, I may never have worked out that I was doing it for The Wrong Reasons.
So if there’s something you want to do, give it a go. And don’t weigh its success so much by the end goal, but how you go along the way.
What do you learn?
How do you grow?
How do you feel when you stumble?
What do you do to pick yourself up and start again?
And if you’re doing something Because You Think You Should or Because Everyone Else is Doing It, check in and ask yourself:
'Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.' Louisa May Alcott