Historically sailors avoided the doldrums, a large swath of the earth known for its lack of wind. The dreaded doldrums circling the equator were so notorious that they’ve become synonymous with a season of boredom, listlessness, and depression.
Personally, July has become a season of retooling and introspection as a writer, mother, and friend. The Texas heat crushes my spring exuberance for any New Year ambition and I find myself in a listless season on letting go. Each year brings some surprise and delight but inevitably there is one goal, dream, or ambition that I will have to release. Maybe this year it’s a trip, a DIY project, a workout aspiration, or progress in a writing project. It’s no surprise the midpoint of the year reveals my overzealous goals.
Whatever your goal is, I lean heavily on the wisdom of Courtney Wykoff, creator of Momma Strong. This online workout community gave me a way to care for my physical body while giving me back my most precious commodity, time. My time gets poured back into my family, my writing dreams, and my creative community. When Courtney shared her insights on setting realistic goals, I knew this goal grief could be applied to much more than my workout. It’s about releasing the moments that get away and the projects that don’t come together without losing sight of the horizon. It’s a way to move forward one step at a time from doubt into resilience, fear to fulfillment.
Courtney warns we can get so focused on the perfect new self our goals promise that we, unfortunately, get stuck in a wicked cycle. Overly ambitious dreams and harsh reality leave us feeling broken, discouraged, and stuck. On the contrary, preventing goal euphoria demands an honest life assessment and acceptance in order to progress. It’s an awareness that helped me make peace with the space between my goals and reality. Progress and persistence have become immensely important to me.
- Name your reality.
- Grieve the failure.
- Begin again with a minimally effective dose.”
As a writer, July forces me to name the reality that I spend a lot of my best creative time in the car shuttling children to and from activities, catching up on much-needed rest, or simply stuck in a loop of anxiety staring at the blank page. This month, I’ve committed several pages in my journal to the topic of failure and its impact on my heart. It’s been insightful to see how much less bandwidth and resources I have this year. Grieving my reality has also been freeing, it’s helped remind me that my writing is a personal practice that uplifts my life but doesn’t define it.
Finally, this grieving process allows me to press on, lighter, and with less time stuck in the doldrums of self-doubt. It also helps to walk in a trusted community that can commiserate, share your grief, and generally affirm you’re not nuts, living with purpose and passion is difficult.
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