#1: Unopened

Of the several things that lay strewn under the Christmas tree the week after the holiday, the most inconspicuous was the small cardboard box.

“I know we’re over,” he had said way back in the summer when she had ended their relationship, “But I found this and it reminded me of you.”

For months, she had held onto it. Set it on her shelf and admired the festive paper, letting the curiosity eat at her, and the regret of her decisions.

It was the first present she put under the tree as soon as it was up. The small box had been tormenting her for months with its unknown contents and she swore she would open it as soon as she could, even if it was just a reminder of what she used to be, but wasn’t anymore.

When Christmas morning did arrive, the tree was so laden with presents that the small box was nearly forgotten until she began cleaning up the wrapping paper from all of the other gifts.

Christmas morning, she had gotten as far as tearing off the festive wrapping paper before the fear froze her. What if whatever the box contained changed everything?

She stared at it, under the tree for the entire week, the fear enough to eat her from the inside out. As it got closer to the new year, she told herself she would open it on New Year’s Eve and decide if it was something she wanted to keep in the new year or chuck away with the old, but as New Year’s Eve arrived she found herself pulled away to a New Year’s Party.

New Year’s Day, when she awoke, it was still under the tree.

She looked at the tree, slowly starting to dry out, and the other boxes that she had left in the rush of plans after Christmas and grabbed a trash bag. A new year meant it was time to move on.

The next hour or so, she spent breaking down boxes and crumpling up wrapping paper and tape. For the first time in a week she picked up the small cardboard box.

It was heavy in her hand for the size of the box and the memories she was sure it contained. She knew she could spend minutes, hours, days, weeks trying to figure out what was inside.

She already had.

Instead, she dropped it from her hand into the nearly full garbage bag.

Some things were better left unopened.

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Trying Something New

As 2018 approaches, I’m going to be trying something new with this blog.

Lately, my writing has been lacking and I feel like these last few months I’ve just been on autopilot and not enjoying life.

For January, I’m going to try doing a blog post a day. If it works, great! I’ll continue it.

If it doesn’t work, well I tried.

I hope you all have a great new year and are looking forward to new content as much as I am.

The Importance of Goals

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Without something to strive for, to work towards, we are stagnant. No matter what your preferred calling is, whether it be your occupation, your hobby, or maybe even a little of both, goals are necessary.

For several years, I have had goals, both writing goals, and goals in other areas of life. I’ve had both long and short term goals, which in some cases can be interchangable.  Sometimes, short term goals can morph into long term, or vice versa. If a long term goal feels unattainable,  break it into smaller short term goals. For example: If the goal is a burst of confidence by the end of the year it’s not something to start the first day of December. Some goals take time, and that’s not a bad thing.

Sometimes we’re not ready for our goals, we’re scared, or shy, or we don’t have the means to complete them just yet,  or the time and patience. That is perfectly fine, sometimes we have to fail a few times before we succeed. That’s part of learning and the human experience.

If we all succeeded the first time we tried something, we would never learn anything. We would not grow, or advance as a society. Failing is perfectly acceptable, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Of course, we never really want to fail, but sometimes it is inevitable. That’s why I am going to share some of my goals, both that I succeeded and failed in.

Let’s start with 2009. I was in my first year of college, trying to get through Anatomy, Psychology and College algebra. That was the first year I found out about NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org), which takes place in November. You know what else takes place in November? Finals. I had to make a choice between preparing for finals and writing 50,000 words, or fail both. I chose finals, and I succeeded in furthering my progress in my long term goal of nursing. Did that stop me from doing NaNoWriMo the next year?  No way!

In 2010, I got into the CNA program and succeeded.

Then I had to wait three years for my acceptance into the LVN program. Three years is a long time to wait for your goal, and for a while, I lost track of my goals. I like to call those years my “dark ages” and for good reason.

2011- I was dating a guy for most of 2011 (let’s call him Poland). Thing went well for a while, and them my feelings for him died when I met another guy who I deemed more my type (let’s call him Hilter… It’s going to be a complex metaphor). Because of the conflict the rest of my 2011 sucked and I nearly failed classes I needed for nursing school because of it. I was writing a novel at the time and I nearly didn’t finish that either.

2012- Hitler didn’t work out, so I dated Himmler for a month,  and that was like being stuck in a work camp, and after him Goebels, which was one of the worst mistakes of my life. I dropped more classes that I needed (and that counted against me later), I screwed up my sleep schedule, and I nearly jeopardized my chances of getting into the nursing program at all. I was aimless, I had forgotten my long term goals. Even my short term goals and my writing suffered.

And then 2013 came,  I got into the LVN program, and I succeeded. Sure, there were pitfalls In that year too, but there were also triumphs. I made it through all three semesters,  I wrote, I reached some short and some long term goals. I learned about myself and I was able to succeed once I put my mind to it.

2014 was even better. I worked my ass off through the RN year, I met the best man I have ever been with, who I love more than I ever thought imaginable, and I wrote ten (10!) short stories, finished a full length novel and faced my fears and submitted something to a writing contest. I could not have done any of that if I hadn’t struggled through those “dark ages”.

Goals, whether we succeed or fail, teach us something about ourselves and others.

What goals do you have?