That big fat scary word has been on my mind lately. Accomplishments - also known as success. It arrives in my thoughts with such grandeur that it requires a perimeter of lights and mental jazz hands. There’s an oomph to the way it sounds, a kind of graceful bluntness. It’s big and it means big things. It brings glory and victory and leap-for-joy moments of happiness that are gone sometimes before the champagne bottle is even uncorked.
To say that I’ve struggled with this word is a severe understatement. This word has branded my life. As a Type A personality, I feel like I walk around with a tallied list tattooed to my forehead.
What have I done in this life worth anything and was it enough? Have I jumped high enough, ran fast enough, bruised my butt enough times just to prove to myself that I can keep getting up?
Of course, it’s impossible to talk Accomplishments without the addition of its gossipy, evil counterpart: FAILURE. And it seems like half of my accomplishments turn into failure simply because they didn’t turn out the way I first envisioned.
An example of this would be Motherhood.
I remember being pregnant and rubbing my belly shiny while lovingly whispering all my hopes and dreams to the wriggling body inside of me. Even nearing thirty, my naiveté rivaled someone from “16 And Pregnant”. Once that screaming, gooey, writhing thing popped out, those hopes and dreams got sucked into vacuum cleaners, absorbed into puke rags, and wrapped up in 10+ dirty diapers a day. All of my happy ideas of letting my child roam the wheat fields (not literally), carefree and content, were swept under the rug of teaching him not to bite me – or other people. Every single day of motherhood is stacked with success and failure all intertwined into one drooly, tantrum-throwing package. But what will I really remember when I look back on this experience?
Our adventures. His smiles. Favorite books. Little quirks that set him apart from other kids. The timbre of his laugh. The heart-tugging pitch of his voice. The pure joy of just simply looking at him and thinking, “Damn, he’s perfect.”
Years from now, I won’t really remember all the diapers, or the sleepless nights… Okay, yeah I will. Because I never forget. Never. But that’s still not the stuff that’s gonna matter.
And neither will all these little nomadic periods of my life where I feel like I’m floating and not accomplishing anything.
I have to keep telling myself: It’s okay if the finish line looks a little different or is a little farther off than I originally hoped. It’s okay if I don’t read 100,000,000,000,000 books this year. It’s OKAY if I don’t write a novel this year.
Live in the present, Megan!
Step outside, inhale the smog-filled air for the pure joy of it. Take in a sunset once in a while. Watch a movie without fidgeting thirty times a minute wondering what you really should be doing instead of sitting on the couch like you have Restless Leg Syndrome.
The finish line is there. I just can’t see it yet. And maybe when I get there, there won’t be cascades of streamers or flashing lights or gobs of people cheering me on, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t GET THERE!
Because when I do GET THERE, Oh baby, it’s gonna be beautiful. Even if it’s just my husband and a high five. I’m going to enjoy the moment, suck in the pressing excitement of what I’ve done, then go out and watch a sunset. Or a movie. (Sitting still is optional.)