I believe the most important step in living a better life and getting closer to your dreams is showing up. Especially showing up when you don't want to.
Over two years ago I joined a gym . Mainly because they were offering a free month to teachers and other adults who worked with children and because I had seen more horrifying photos of myself on vacation. I never found success in a gym offering machines and aerobic classes with perky instructors toting boom boxes (the reference to boom boxes should tell you how long it has been since I was a gym member).
My new gym offered boot camp style classes and nothing else. The workouts were so hard. Initially, I toppled over doing side planks. I couldn't complete 45 seconds of mountain climbers. I struggled with "girl" push ups. (Actually "girl" push ups are now called "modified" push ups. I have seen lots of "boys" doing "girl" push ups.) I looked exactly like a woman who had forgotten to take care of herself in about twenty years. But I kept showing up at boot camp, three to four times a week whether I wanted to or not. It was hard work, but I am reaping the rewards of showing up. More energy. A trimmer waist. New friends.
Prairie friends, you may remember my dental woes. (If not check out February's blog, "Prairie Grl Says Goodbye to Wisdom Teeth.") Last week I showed up at the dentist, exactly 6 months after my last cleaning. I almost cancelled because I hadn't finished the prescribed course of treatments and didn't want to be chastised. But. I showed up with a strong spirit and refused to be bullied by the hygienist. The dental hygienist blathered on about my tartar build up and my aging gums. It didn't matter because I was feeling too proud of myself for showing up. Before leaving I scheduled the necessary treatments and will show up for them. I am visualizing the day when the hygienist won't kvetch at me.
Recently I joined a writing group of women. The catch? We are all writers who don't consistently write. This is not an uncommon problem as I have been I nonwriting writer for years. I showed up at the first meeting with no writing to share. I showed up at the second meeting with nothing to share. But, something happened at that meeting. I realized that I needed to start showing up in front of a blank sheet of paper whether I wanted to or not. I hated all the excuses that were rummaging around in my head.
You can't write because you have three children who constantly need snacks.
You can't write because your cat is needy.
You can't write because the new Oprah magazine came in the mail today.
You can't write because you don't have the perfect journal.
. . . and on and on and on.
If I can show up at the gym and the dentist - I can start showing up to write my books and become a writer who writes.
Showing up is not all of life, but it counts for a lot.
- Hillary Clinton