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Monday, October 30, 2017

Finishing What You Start

Recently when I was packing up my Mother’s apartment I couldn’t help but notice the number of unfinished projects she had lying around. Projects started with an earnest wish to complete, but something came up of more importance or a better idea came to mind. Whatever the reason that project was set aside for another. Left in a dejected pile.

How many such projects had she started throughout her life and then left them by the wayside. How many good intentions had she had to finish this embroidery project only for it to be set aside so she could crochet another baby blanket for a family member. I wonder how many of those blankets still exist today.

Is that what will be noticed the most; when it is time for someone to lovingly go through my possessions at the end of my life. The boxes of notebooks filled with all of my imaginary worlds. The half finished or barely began stories left to gather dust. What of my own craft projects that I set aside one day and just never got back too. Is that what our life boils down too? Dust covered projects and unfinished dreams.

I found myself packing those projects back inside their boxes, unable to cast them aside permanently. Even though my mother will never finish them, she has begun anew. Now her projects are simple colored pictures in a children’s coloring book. Letters scribbled in an unreadable hand, their contents never understood. A pile of books sits beside her bed, some started. Others never opened. I asked her if she wanted any of the crocheting projects left in small piles throughout her home. She looks at me in bewilderment; their memory was gone.

Now I sit here writing my latest project it would seem. A first draft almost is written, just a few clicks away. I never have reached this moment in all of my years of writing. I sit in shocked silence as I contemplate the achievement. What happened to make me stay the course; to finish this time? What was the change that occurred to make me sit and write each day? The only answer that I can find is those boxes of unfinished projects lined up against the garage wall. I don’t want that to be the only thing I leave in this world.

I find it hard to believe that a year ago I began this adventure of writing my first book. And now I am writing its final pages. I wonder if by turning fifty, my focus changed so drastically. Where before I would have started the project, only to be drawn away by something new, halfway through the writing. I know there are other people who can say the same thing about their own projects. What makes us buckle down one day and say that this is the day I finish what I started. Is it crossing a milestone of some sort, that prompts the action?

I know for me when I made my mind up that I wasn’t getting any younger that I would have to realign my way of thinking. I would have to make a promise to myself that I would see my book in print. I would finish this project, and in doing so it would prompt me to finish the next one and so forth and so on. I made the adjustment in my thinking from “I love to write but I’m not good enough” to “I am a writer and I am good enough.” It is amazing what a simple change in your mindset can accomplish for you. By thinking positively about your dream, that you can actually feel all the possibilities now open to you.

I know as I reach that page where I will write “The End”, that I have only to look through those boxes lining the wall of the garage to find my next book. That is my goal moving forward. To finish all of those half begun projects, so when it comes that time to go through my belongings it will be to decide what to do with all of my books. What to do with all my notes, research, and story planning. And for me, that will be a life worth looking back on. 

What kind of projects sit forgotten, lining your proverbial garage? Why don’t you pick just one today and commit to finishing it? Open up your mind to all the possibilities that are waiting for you. And don’t forget to keep a positive outlook throughout it all. I wish you luck and remember to always love fully and laugh often.   

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