A Year of Gifts
Committing to something you’ve never done before, especially for a full year, can be scary. A year sounds like a long time. Today I’m at the tail end of one such year and thought it would be fun to share my learnings with you.
On November 5, 2017, I posted my very first blog entry. I had no idea what I was doing or if anyone would bother to read it. But I saw it as an opportunity to share my gratitude for the many gifts life has to offer. I’d use the chapter titles from Whispering Pines, my first novel, as my prompts to write and post an entry to my brand-new website every Sunday morning.
How likely did I think it was I’d actually stick to it for 52 consecutive Sundays? If I'm honest, I’ll admit I had my doubts.
But I’m happy to report I kept my head down, decided I’d keep my promise, and I did it. Today’s post is my 51st and tomorrow it will have been one year.
So why not 52? Because life happens. And that’s OK. We need to leave room for grace in our lives. I gave myself permission to pause when I lost my dear mother. But I didn’t quit. I kept at it and found some healing along the way.
What else have I learned through a year of blogging?
I’ve learned that sharing positive messages has many unexpected rewards. The introspection I do while writing each week helps me feel gratitude for the many blessings in my own life. I also hope I’ve managed to remind us all of one essential point— we are not alone in this crazy journey through life. We all have many things in common, regardless of where we live, how old we are, or what we “do.”
I realized that if I kept showing up, week after week, I’d be exercising my “commitment muscle” (is that really a thing?). Staying true to our commitments can be hard. Quitting is easy. It’s also easy to fall into the habit of quitting many things once we start. But I promise it’s also easier to keep your word if you practice doing so. Along the way, you earn the trust of others.
Of course, one of the more practical benefits of posting an article for “the world” to read every week is I get to practice. We all want to be good at those things we are passionate about, but just like with anything else, writing can get better over time with lots of practice. Thank you for letting me practice on you!
My most sincere hope in all of this is that I’ve inspired a few of you along the way to also take more chances and chase your own dreams.
What if I’d never taken that first step? What if I’d started out saying I’d blog for a month? Or a few months? Wouldn’t that have been easier? A year sounds like a crazy long time when contemplating something like this. I’ve learned there is value in setting the bar high for yourself. Set the bar too low, and attainment of your goal doesn’t mean all that much. It doesn’t boost your confidence. But when you accomplish something after having to push yourself hard, even on those days when you didn’t feel like it, for an extended period of time, you know you’re ready to tackle something even more significant next time. Teach your kids this and the world will be theirs.
Lots can and will happen in one year’s time. But what if one of those things that happen is you start living out one (or three) of those dreams you’ve held close in your heart? Never doubt the magic in that one question.
Again, I’m sending a huge thank you to all of you out there that take time out of your busy days to read my weekly blog. Readership has grown over the months, but many of you have been with me since the beginning. Your support and encouragement keep me coming back to the keyboard.
I never know which posts are going to strike a nerve. Instead of fretting too much about my topics, I sit down and write from my heart. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s no different than so many other things in life.
Now that I’ve hit the one-year mark, it’s time to reflect. Practicing reflection means taking an honest look at something you’ve been doing to determine whether or not you should continue to do it. If you decide to keep going, should you tweak anything or perhaps even do a massive overhaul on it? I’ve been doing some soul searching about that in regards to my blogging.
My dilemma comes down to the same thing we all face—the time it takes to see it through. There is no doubt in my mind that time is one of our most valuable resources and how we spend that time will have a massive impact on the quality and joy we get out of life.
Despite my intent to not “overthink” my posts, some weeks my brain struggles to come up with ideas I feel are worth sharing, and then it takes time to get those thoughts onto paper. Is it time I should instead be spending on writing my novels? My big, audacious dream is to someday become a full-time author. I honestly don’t know if blogging is the “best” use of my limited time.
As I already mentioned, I do feel writing is one way I can reach a broader audience in my quest to help others live a happier life. If I can encourage one, or ten, or one hundred people to take real action in areas of their lives that make their souls sing, I’ve accomplished more than I could have hoped.
It isn’t easy to open up to people. Do I cringe when I admit to some things here? Absolutely. But I don’t know of any other way to be truly authentic. Why do so many of us tend to keep quiet about crucial parts of our lives when so many others are experiencing the very same thing?
When we hold things tight inside, it can make us feel alone. But here’s the thing. We aren’t alone. So many other people are going through the same things we are, and there is beauty in helping each other through the hard times and celebrating together during the good.
An example can be something as simple as our age. There’s no shame in growing older. Yes, I know age is just a number, and it doesn’t define us. But I promise you, I’ve personally learned many life lessons in my 52 years on this earth that someone half my age hasn’t yet had the opportunity, be it good or bad, to experience. Maybe something I’ve learned along the way can help someone else start achieving their dreams a decade sooner than they would have without my encouragement and insight. That’s a humbling thought but therein lies the beauty of opening up to others.
I’m here today with one mission: to remind you that you can accomplish a surprising number of things in one year’s time. You can completely change your outlook on life. Take that one step today. Put all the excuses to the side. Anybody can take one step. And then tomorrow, take two steps. There will be snags along the way, and even if they knock you back a few steps, all the progress you’ve made means you are so much further ahead than you would have been if you failed to start. I don’t care if you are 20 or 80. I know there are things you want to do. Figure out how to start and …start!
I’ll end today with a confession – despite the title of today’s post, I’m not much of a wine drinker. I love the idea of sitting down to relax over a lovely glass of wine but seldom do so because it tends to give me a headache. Bottles of wine often become decorations in my house (if you’ve read Whispering Pines this will sound familiar to you).
Sharing about my very limited wine drinking reminds me of a hilarious story centered on an old bottle of champagne and a summer bridal shower. I’ll save that one for another day, but it’s a simple reminder that our lives are filled with tidbits worth sharing. So I’ll keep sharing my hopes, thoughts, and encouragement with you. But I may need to get permission to share the champagne story!
Now, think one more time about this. If you started something today and kept at it consistently until 11/4/2019, what will you have accomplished? Remember, the time will pass whether you start or not. Make the most of it! Cheering you on, Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!