Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 05, 2013 - 2 comments

Shoot for the Moon...

“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”  - Les Brown

I can remember writing out this quote with fat Crayola felts in high school and taping it to my bedroom wall for inspiration.  At that age, with my whole life stretching before me, I set my dreams as high as I could.  My goals were things like “End abortion” and “see all of Russia saved.”  

Fast forward a few years to a time when I had my small group girls write out their dreams.  I wrote out a stack of my own on little slips of coloured paper, and I still have them, all fastened together with a clothespin and sitting in my night table junk drawer.  My aspirations were a little more focused by that point and included things like “start a greeting card company” (check), be fluent in Turkish (75% check), have eight kids (that’s looking a bit unlikely at this point), be a Mandarin-English translator at the Beijing Olympics (hard to do when all I can do is count to ten and ask where I can buy chocolate.....), eat Swiss chocolate on a picnic in the Alps (didn’t make it to the mountains, but I did down some incredible truffles on a layover in Zurich this summer), and ride a canal boat in Venice (still waiting for someone tall, dark and handsome to share that one with.)

Now, It’s New Years Resolution time again, and I’m laughing at myself because most of my 2013 “dreams, goals and anticipations” are the ones I set last year but have yet to accomplish.  Turns out I aimed way past the moon and only managed to hit a couple of nearby stars.  I am only inches closer to finishing my writing course this year than I was last year.  I did manage to sit a few cafe tables away from my favourite Turkish photographer, Ara Güler, but didn’t meet him, let alone go shooting with him as per my goal.  I only finished two of the ten books I’d put on my reading list.  (Granted, several others are nearly done and I did read a whole pile that weren’t on the list).  Didn’t take a photography course in Turkish.  Didn’t get any articles published.  (Or even submit them in the first place....)  Didn’t get married.  (Though I can’t take full blame for that one.)

It’s would be easy to look back on my list of unachieved goals and feel disappointed in myself.  But instead I am choosing to celebrate all the things I did accomplish (many of which weren’t even on my list), as well as the things that were simply given to me as gifts of grace.  I finished the 20th Century Turkish History Chart I’d been researching towards and working on for almost two years.  I made a photo book about Istanbul.  I won honourable mention in a photography contest.  My writing increased in frequency and quality.  I cleaned out my crazily disorganized office cupboard, washed the windows a few more times than the previous year, stuck with my exercise plan all the way til September when things kinda dwindled, stayed more on top of my tax receipts, and was much more disciplined with my time and my entertainment intake.  

Beyond that, I look back on 2012 as a season where I grew in leaps and bounds spiritually, greatly improved in language, became more solid in who I am (and who I’m not) and threw myself wholeheartedy into all those “distractions” (a.k.a. people and relationships) that may have “stolen time” from my carefully crafted schedule but ultimately matter more to me than “getting my writing hours in” and bring me far more joy than “checking items off my to-do list.”  

So much of what makes a year great can’t be measured or marked as completed.  And as such, I am declaring 2012 a success.

In the spirit of shooting for the moon, I have made my list of goals for 2013, and I am comforting myself with the fact that the ones that have been forwarded from last year’s list are there simply because they are still important to me.  His mercies are new every morning, and January is a fresh chance to refocus and realign my life with my priorities.  Not every item on the list is blog-postable, but here are the internet-friendly ones:
  1. Get married.  (Okay, perhaps this is less “goal” and more “anticipation.”  Believing for divine help in accomplishing it!)
  2. Write something every day, totaling at least 2000 words a week.  (To be upped as soon as I get into a good rhythm.)
  3. Post at least one blog entry a week.
  4. Submit writing samples to Alaturka and Skylife magazines and get at least two articles published.
  5. Finish my Matador U writing course by December.
  6. Exercise five days a week.
  7. Record interviews with my language helper and make a good start on writing a book about her life and how Turkey has changed over her lifetime.
  8. Read a novel in Turkish.  
  9. Successfully make macarons at home.
  10. Have a long layover in a European city I’ve never been to before. 
  11. Spot a Turkish celebrity.  (No German tourists posing as Turkish movie stars allowed!)
  12. Master the art of really foamy Turkish coffee.  (I can make the coffee fine, but the foam is hit and miss.)
I am happy to report that this makes two blog entries this week, I have exceeded my 2000 word writing goal by 1091 words, and my abs are really sore from a good pilates workout yesterday.  

Here’s to making it to the moon this year!


I love the post - and especially the list.....but could you amend #9 to read: - successfully make macarons at MY MOTHER'S home? - that way I could drop by for a taste test!! (and a visit) :)

Ha! Sure thing. :) I'm sure it will take several attempts to get it right!