The Day You Woke Up

This is the day you woke up.  This is the day you realised you only have so many days left (even if it’s a lot, it’s still a finite number).  This is the day you decided the start living.

Today you realised your talent and passion and vision are too beautiful to take to the grave with you, and since you never know when you’re going to go — you better get that shit out there.  You looked around at what passes for good and what passes for great said ‘When did our standards get so low?’  You saw ‘just the way things are’ and said ‘When did I (and everyone else) agree to that?’

This is the day you looked anew at the distractions of commerce and consumerism and fear of what others think and you decided to release those hungers and instead feed your magnificent soul.  You saw yourself as what you’ve always wanted to be, not as distorted visions claimed you are.  You started loving every inch of yourself today and even if that’s a long journey, you remember this is the day you started, this was the turning point.

This is the day you gave up waiting for —

  • Permission
  • Prince Charming
  • Your Ship to Come In

Instead you swam out to sea, inspired a pirate crew to name you their captain, and took off to claim treasures and lagoons unnumbered.

This is the day you looked around and realised the best way to support those you love is to be who you were fucking born to be — a golden god or goddess of the old stories who people felt lucky to meet, feel lucky to have been born in the same lifetime as.  Today you leave behind, not fear, but reluctance.  You leave behind not humility, but worthlessness.  You leave behind not a desire to do perfect work, but a desire not to show anyone imperfect work.

This is the day hard work stopped scaring you.  You started thinking of hard work as just a heavy door.  You might have to push and push, but it’s moving in the right direction and EVERYTHING you want is right on the other side.  And some people might laugh at you as you push but you cannot conceive of how they can stand in front of the door to their dreams their whole life and never try to even give it a little nudge.  And then be inspired to give it a great big one.

This is the day you woke up.  If you’d already been following the path, today inspired you to run faster.  If you’d been afraid, today reminded you — your heroes had the same fears when they started.  If you’d been cruising along, assuming someday you’ll make the big effort and really start living your life, today said —

And finally this was the day a little voice whispered inside you and every day for the rest of your life you knew that —

THIS is that day.

 

Reclaiming ‘Perfection’

Black Swan

Perfection is a dirty word.  Look up ‘perfection’ quotes and you get everything from the funny —

to the downright hostile —

And I get it, really I do.  Trying to be a perfect, flawless person sets one up for heartache.  Some people spend years before realizing that it’s an impossible standard — we are human, we make mistakes.

By the same measure, some people find having too high of standards stops them from producing any creative work at all, from finishing anything.  That too is bad.

But I will fight to my dying day for the idea of perfection.

Why?  Because why the frick else are we here (and by we I mean creators of all types)?  Yes, I’m not a perfect person, not by a long shot.  And my work isn’t perfect, but it’s as close to perfect as I can make it.  I have high standards and love beautiful, amazing works.  Yes, these works could be The Great Gatsby and they could be Sid Meier’s Pirates! I think lots of different things are absolutely impeccable manifestations of their ideal nature — Hannibal is nothing like How to Train Your Dragon nor should it be.  But to me, both take their basic ideas and push them to new heights.

If you are not trying to achieve perfection in a piece of art or a novel, what is your aim?  Pretty good?  Nice stack of paper you got there?  ‘It’s 43% of what I wanted it to be’?

To me, perfection is just the top shelf liquor of excellence.  Being able to create the best version of your best vision.  When I begin a project — I see, I feel, I know the highest, most splendid version of that story exist somewhere out in the universe.  And my years of honing my sense of what I like tell me when I’m getting closer to that best version.  But like Ira Glass says —

KMBA-Ira Glass QuoteSo, while my taste tells me when I’m getting warmer or colder, it’s only my level of craft and dedication to keep going that decides how great the work will be.  Leonardo Da Vinci said “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” and there is an element of truth to that.  I do the best work I can, polish as long as I can, and at some point realise I’ve reached the limits of my powers for this book.  It’s a little frustrating because I know the future me will be able to write it better, but if I’ve worked hard, I feel satisfied that it is as close to perfect as I can make it at this time.

And if it pushes toward perfection, even if that’s a distant star, I smile at it.  I’m proud of Other Gods and A Caged Heart Still Beats and How to Come Alive: A Guidebook to Living the Life of Your Dreams.  Because they are all perfect in a way, in a way humans never quite are, because we can’t rewrite our lives and relive them.

And in the end, maybe that is what I love about perfect works — they were messy, crazy things full of jagged, broken bits and a thousand mistakes.  But in the end, they form a glorious, perfect whole.

And in that sense, maybe I do believe in perfection for people too.

Quote by Sarah Cerulean

Quote by Sarah Cerulean

 

Awesome Day #7 — Meeting With the Mentor

by Lucas Graciano for the Lord of the Rings card game

Yow!!!  Yesterday (on day #7 of my 8 day ‘stay-cation’) I had arranged to meet well-known and respected writer.  I’ve never really gotten to talk to anyone on that level before, and by contacting them, I had brought myself into this whole new range of experience.

I had been quite nervous before our meeting for coffee.  Luckily I didn’t need anything from them, I was just happy for the time together.  And that went surprisingly well.  Except for violently knocking the table when I sat down (and spilling their drink everywhere), I’d didn’t embarrass myself.  I listened politely, answered questions about myself, my family, and the Athens Writers Association that I’d founded, and after an hour we parted on friendly terms.

‘That was easy’, I thought.

It was after that the trouble started.  I was driving to a nearby Publix to pick up ice cream for my sister.  And I found myself starting to cry.  I pulled it together for the ice cream but then bawled just about all the way back to Athens.

Why? you ask?  Well, I’ve thought about it.  Obviously some of it could have just been released after having been nervous, but I did feel strange, Hero’s Journey, strange.  I felt like my blood had been drained away and replaced by some mystical liquid.  I felt altered.  I was not at all comforted by this Mentor.  They’d talked about hardship and long odds, and the struggle even after ‘breaking through’.  I felt like I’ve been climbing mountains for years, trying to become a better writer, and this Mentor showed me a near-sheer cliff and said ‘That’s the only way’.  It was a deep challenge and it nearly broke my heart to look at it.

I remembered a very different Meeting with a Mentor more than ten years back: at a writing conference, I paid to have Patrick LoBrutto look at my first few pages and talk with me for about fifteen minutes.  It was one of the highlights of my young writing life.  Pat was friendly, excited about storytelling, and gentle with a new writer, both telling me it needed work and mentioning a scene he thought was quite good. ‘Quite good!’ — this from the man who worked with sci-fi gods as an editor for Tor.  I think I love him to this day.

But . . .  That was the Mentor I needed then and this was the Mentor I needed now.  I’ve decided part of what upset me about seeing the sheer cliff, that high bar, was that I thought I’d already come a long way.  And I have.  I haven’t had too many chances to be around more experienced writers than I, and especially not world-renowned ones.  I’ve been writing for 16 years and in the groups I frequent, I get a lot of people who look up to me.  I had to realise that instead of being Master of the Baby Lengues, I was now Baby of the Big Leagues.  By reaching out, by starting the Athens Writers Association, by working hard, I had climbed so far and had now passed through the mist, and met this man, and seen the next mountain.  And it’s a doozy.

But it leads exactly where I want to go, and (after all the tears of vexation have dried) I’m grateful for the help and advice, the warnings, and the chance to meet someone truly great.  Some Mentors are cuddly and their advice tastes more like lembras bread than medicine, and then others are a sear-the-flesh-from-your-bones force of nature that arrive to warn you that you’ve passed over the threshold into the dangerous land of elite heroes.

But they know if they can’t dissuade you, if you still choose to pick your shield and move forward, you will stronger than you’ve ever been before.

Quote from renowned author — “I didn’t get great by being patted on the back; I became great by getting my butt kicked every day.”

Spoken like a true Mentor.

How to Reevaluate Your Life

from lifeinblush.com/blog

When you decide to reevaluate your life, remember: you are not looking for easy answers.  At this stage you are only trying to ask the right questions.

10 QUESTIONS

  1. What’s my dream life?  If you could have anything, no holds bared, what would you be doing, day in and day out?  It’s fine to have a big goal (climb Everest) but try to drill it down to a 24 hour picture.  Dream lives still involve many of the things you are already doing — so what’s different?  Imagine being excited to get to work — where do you work?  What does your house look like?  Who are you married to, if anyone?
  2. What do you want (do you really, really want)?  Dreams and fantasies are often funded by the unbelievable.  “I’d fly off to Paris in my private jet.”  “I’d be married to Tom Hiddleson.”  We think getting a great life is so impossible that we literally make it so; you might as well say you want to live on Jupiter and marry Errol Flynn — it’s as likely to happen.  So instead, take time to get to the heart of your dream — past the money and movie stars — and figure out what you really desire.  Maybe you’ve never been to Paris — but if you saved up all your ‘fast food’ money for two years you could do it (and be much healthier).  And maybe you long to meet intelligent, joyful people and have become discouraged by the potential romantic partners in your job or social circle.  Ask what makes your dream great.  Most times it’s not just having more money in your hand.
  3. What’s making you unhappy now?  Think about the last week or month — what were your most unhappy moments?   Who/where/what did they involve?  It’s hard to admit, but if you don’t come away happy from seeing someone, then that’s someone you need less of in your world.  Life is short, and unless you birthed them or adopted them, you don’t owe anyone your happiness upon this Earth.  We’ve all had friendships and relationships we’ve tried to ‘make’ work.  Well, today you found your get-out-of-jail-free card; I’m officially telling you it’s okay to let things that don’t work GO.  Believe me, you’ll be making room in your life for much better things.  If debt or your weight are making you unhappy then even a tiny step toward a better life will improve your mood.  And if your job is the problem, hang on . . .
  4. Do I hate my job?  I just saw a Pin that said something like ‘When asked what they would reevaluate after winning the lottery, 51% of people said ‘their job’.  Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it feels right.  To me that also says that, in addition to not liking their job, most people are afraid to leave because of finances.  This is a tough one — we need money.  But how much of it?  Could you get by (and be happier) with less?  Instead of imaging winning the lottery — imagine you already have.  According to one estimate, the worldwide median household income is less than $10,000.  So if you’re household makes more than that, you are already living the high life.  So maybe a different job (even if it paid less) would be something to think about.  And know there are people out there who are paid well to do your dream job; the first step to joining them is acknowledging you’re unhappy where you are.
  5. Am I filling my life with ‘time-wasters’?  Everyone deserves ‘down time’, ‘fun time’, or a break but everything in moderation.  Playing video games can be amazing but 6 hours a day for five years may not lead to a fulfilling life — unless you’re a game designer.  The same way, the amount of human time spent on Facebook is astounding (and I can be as guilty as anyone, though more often it’s Pinerest for me).  Just try to imagine the world, the power, and the individual lives we could build with that excess time.
  6. Why am I sad?  You may not be sad, but if you are know that a few small changes can make life great again.  You don’t need to throw out everything, you just need to realign your life with your heart’s desire.  And if you have a problem that seems very hopeless — know that there’s probably a group, meeting, hotline, or program for people battling the same troubles as you.  Reach out and get help.
  7. What am I impatient about?  For me, it’s becoming a full-time writer and then traveling the world.  And I know I’ll get there.  But when progress feels slow, I wonder if I need to go get a college degree, move jobs, move cities, SOMETHING to prove I’m not stagnant and not going to be standing here in one place forever.  If this is you, and you are doing something that should have the payoff you’re looking for (a breakthrough in job, becoming your perfect weight through a diet) then I suggest you give yourself a place in the future to re-reevaluate that one goal and decide if these small steps aren’t adding up to something big.  For example, I’ve decided to write three new amazing things then look at whether I need a different day job, education, what-have-you.  Until I have those three novels or plays in front of me, I won’t worry about how long I’ve been at my day job while ‘planning’ to become a full time writer.
  8. What’s on my ‘bucket list’?  One of the things about this year is I’ve talked to some older people I know who never have done the items on their bucket list and now wonder if they’re too old.  While I’m a total believer in doing as much as you can as long as you can, it is easier to climb a mountain in your 30s or 40s than your 70s.  Whatever your age, part of the un-fulfillment you might be feeling is because the big things just sit on a distant horizon and never get any closer.  You need to pick a before-I-die goal, pick a date (even if it’s a year or two out) and start planning, saving, and/or training for it NOW.  Our lives are short and precious, leave nothing important undone.
  9. Why am I asking this question now?  You Google-searched for this question (or are just a fan or friend of mine) — why?  Are you fed up with the way things are going?  Have you been trying to make changes but still feel far from your goals?  The important thing is to feel empowered — this is a great moment.  As soon as you start really looking at your life, you may get depressed, scared, and feel hopelessness.  But the important thing to know is that this is an important first step that some people never take.  You are now officially on the road to your dreams.
  10. Am I ready to be bold?  There’s a saying, “Are you really happy or just really comfortable?”  You have come to this place by your choices; some parts of your life work great and some need to be switched or fixed.  But if you are at the point of knowing you need a change, then realize you really have nothing to lose.  Start by cleaning your house and giving some things away, then make that bucket list plan, then start seeing what parts of your life make you happy and what things need to go.  Envision your dream and walk toward it.

from periwinkleporte.files.wordpress.com

 

June 2015 update: Please visit my new site ‘How To Come Alive‘ if you’d like to learn the 25 things that have helped me most in achieving my dreams.

How to Start Living the Life of Your Dreams Today

quotablecards

quotablecards

This is about to be a huge cop out because the answer to the question above is to remove the first two words from the title of this piece — there’s your answer.  But hopefully my explanation will be more satisfying.

There’s a lot of dithering, planning, dreaming, whiteboard and index card use, and fantasizing that goes into planning the life of your dreams.  And that can be good, but even better is the day you take action.  And the best kind of action (to me) is just acting like you’re already living the life of your dreams.

It’s easy to get fixated on the crack, crevice, Grand Canyon-sized hole between where you are and where you want to be.  But when you jump, you don’t look at what you’re jumping over, you look at where you want to land.

For myself, it’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago I had published no books (now I have two), there was no Athens Writers Association (which I founded) and all my dreams of being a professional writer felt like wispy clouds on a distant horizon.  But today I feel like I’m on an express train zipping toward my destination.  How did I do it?  How does anyone?  Without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned so far —

10 Tips for Living the Life of Your Dreams

  1.  ‘Fake it till you make it.’  I use to dislike this idea, like somehow you were lying to the world.  Instead, I’ve come to see it as a powerful technique to re-train your brain to see you as a winner.  Instead of seeing yourself as out-of-shape and wanting to eat a donut, imagine yourself as your perfect weight — you feeling amazing in your body, you go for runs, and maybe donuts have lost some of their appeal.  See yourself as a winner making a choice rather than as a loser denying themselves a treat.  This also means you have to starting talking about yourself, your dreams, and your talents in positive terms.  You’re not lying to anyone — you’re just remembering that ‘I just published my first book, and I’m very excited!’ is as true as ’50 agents turned me down so I finally made up a copy and self published it.  I keep them in a box under my bed.’  You’re the hero of your own story, and you’re on a journey —  honor how awesome you are for even trying to make a big change.
  2. Start today.  No one expects perfect; in fact my current favorite saying is ‘Progress not perfection’.  Instead, see what you can do on this day that will echo in eternity.  I’m not kidding — a simple walk could be the start of a lifetime of health and fitness.  Picking up that guitar and playing for five minutes does get you closer to being a master.  No matter how small the action, do it.  But the trick is to see these actions as the beginning of long term habits, not as one-offs that should change everything.  But know this, when you make the time everything does start changing.
  3. Realize that even small actions can put you in elite company.  Now I am not saying you don’t have to work damn hard to get to the life of your dreams, but believe me, you would be shocked how little time it takes to become an inspiration to others.  Most people have un-achieved dreams and just seeing you eat right for a month, or write one book, or even get up on a stage for five minutes can make you someone who’s done what some others never will.  It’s a good feeling to inspire others — and you’ll find yourself inspired to ever-greater heights.
  4. “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.” — Tina Fey.  Just being willing to do something you are unsure about is a surefire way to start astounding yourself.  In the Athens Writers Association, there have been some big, even scary, ideas — like doing our first public reading or publishing an anthology — but that willingness to say “Yes, we can” translates into action and confidence.  People love solution-finders, and they tell others (including your dream-job boss) what bold, great things you are doing and how you were willing to put yourself out there and learn something new.
  5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.   Truth is, the road to your dreams is scary, often unmarked, and filled with the sensation that you’re going the wrong way.  And that’s when you’re on the right path!  Everything you’ve been doing in your non-dream life is probably stuff that’s been working ‘okay’ for years, but as Jack Canfield says ‘Everything you want is on the other side of fear.’  If you’re serious about living the life of your dreams, be prepared to feel like an out-of-it, loser, miscreant for the next five to seven years.  Then all your dreams come true.  I think it’s a pretty good deal, but damn, it’s not going to be comfortable.
  6. Work hard.  Sorry, but that’s the price of admission.  You have to find something you love so much you’ll give untold hours, weeks, and years to it and still want to give more.  The great thing is, being willing to work hard is all it takes to separate you from the ordinary masses.  And trust me when I say you can work so hard and do great things.  You just need to break free of the feelings you learned in school or in that job you hate and recognize that working hard at something you love is already ingrained in you.  Just remember being a little kid building forts, chasing bugs all day, playing with your friends — back then play was hard work, and you loved every minute of it.  Reclaim your awesomeness.
  7. Let go of what others think. Their life path is not yours.  If you know you’re going in the right direction, then that’s all that matters.
  8. “Do good work and share it with people.” — Austin Kleon.  Part of the ‘living’ vs. ‘planning’ is being willing to share your work (and hopes and dreams) with the wider world.  Now, that doesn’t mean trusting your innermost secrets to the person who always poo-poos your every idea at work.  Dreams are precious things — find like-minded people and get excited.  Take a class, join a group, and then start putting your talents out into the world.
  9. Feel the momentum.  Writing a page a day can mean writing your first novel this year.  Losing a pound a week is losing 52 pounds by next spring.  Don’t worry about falling off or having a bad day, just look for forward progress week to week and month to month.  Using the weight loss analogy above, you could have 70 ‘off’ days between now and next May and you’d still lose 40 pounds.  You could fall off for two months and still come out of the year an amazing champion.   Now you want to be on track as much as possible, but know that keeping going, not being flawless, is the secret to success.
  10. Power though.  When I was writing my nonfiction book last fall, I would sometimes feel tired, out-of-sorts, and like I might not be doing my best work.  But I keep pushing forward — edit if I was too tired to write, work on a cover if I was too distracted to edit.  I looked at it like a football game: it’s great to have a long run and score a touchdown, but even if a play only gets you a few more yards down the field, you are still better off and closer to the goal.  And by the end of the year, magically, I had a real book I was proud of.  No one (not even me) could tell what I’d written when I ‘didn’t feel like it’, or what parts needing to be rewritten five times — in the end it was a great, unified piece.  But it would be easy to still be writing it, waiting for the perfect moment, letting myself off easy when I was tired or busy.

Just dedicate yourself to doing something you love, to achieving some great end, and then put in the time and hard work to make it happen.  Stop planning and start living today.

And . . .

93845a950d70bec42228863d0e9abeeb

Oh 2014, What Can I Say About You?

DSC02095

 

Now, all last year (2013 for those of you playing along at home) something was up.  I started to feel uncomfortable about some parts of my ‘day’ job and about some of my friends etc.  What had seemed fine for years was suddenly unbearable (at least, for a few bad days).  Then, it became a super-busy holiday season at work and everything else kind of fell away.

Everything, that is, except my big dreams for 2014.

Because 2013 had awoken me up, and made me realize that it was time for a change.

For so long stability was all I wanted.  After some rough personal years (2002-2005) that saw my parents divorce, my mom die and my sister and I have to do a BIG move/cleanse, things had just become peaceful and steady and stayed that way for years and years.  I’d honed my writing talents in pseudo-secret and just enjoyed life.

But now things were changing and 2013 asked the question —

Good question.

So then 2014 began, and it began with a rush of enthusiasm and goal-setting.  And that lasted all of four days.  Then the biggest cold snap in my lifetime in North Georgia happened, and while that doesn’t sound like much to you insulated city dwellers, it caused havoc for those of us with exposed water pipes.

Things burst.

Many things.

And unfortunately, the next three months became pipe problems, flu, pipe problems, flu, pipe–etc.

It’s been the hardest time for me personally since those tough years of the early 2000s.  And yet, even as it’s been happening I feel like there’s this energy and power to 2014, like it wants to be a year of great change.  And, while the changes have been time-consuming and challenging this year so far, I recognize and am grateful that each one is still small and not at all bad on the scale of life changes.  Nothing bad has happened to me; I just feel like a ship breaking free of its moorings.

So now the weather has warmed, flu season is passing, and the pipes are (almost) fixed.  Now what?

NOW WE KICK IT INTO FUCKING OVERDRIVE.

I’ve learned so many special things in these first few months, even as I felt like I was being drug backwards, and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

I’m going Paleo.

I’m thinking about breaking into TV writing (Reign here I come!).

I want to cycle 50 miles.

And I still want very much for this to be the most exciting and transformative year of my (and your) life.

Who’s with me?

Winter Wonderland

 

Like a lot of people, I’m snowed in right now (this picture was taken before most of the snow fell).  But if you can’t move forward with all your big plans right now, then just take a moment and enjoy exactly where you are.

Take a deep breath.

You are right where you are suppose to be.

And everything good is headed you way.

Now go play in the snow.

Who’s Inspiring You Right Now?

As I get excited about 2014 and living the life of my dreams I was thinking about the quote —

And that got me thinking, which five people in my life are doing what I want to do more of?  i.e. who’s inspiring you right now?

So, without further ado, here are the five people who are doing what I want to be doing (since these are people from my own life that most of you don’t know, and since I don’t know how they’d feel about being the subject of a blog — I have made them into archetypes for us).

THE ARTIST

This person inspires me by living the artistic life every day.  He’s a writer who’s sharing himself online and by reading, teaching, etc around town.  He’s doing more and more work, and getting better and better all the time.  The world at large hasn’t caught onto his brilliance yet, but he has, and he’s happy to follow his words into places (and genres) he’s never been to before.  I don’t know what his day-to-day life is like, but he makes you believe in the dream of writing in cafes and small apartments, soaking in the cities and breathing out genius.

THE ENTREPRENEUR

 

 This woman has transformed a rocky past into a rock-solid future, and found obvious peace, joy, and prosperity along the way.  She’s very successful, has three businesses, and a staff that loves her.  She’s selling well without selling out.  But the thing that really sticks in my mind is when a similarly middle-aged woman told her about a ‘fantasy’ dream life and business.  The Entrepreneur told her it was possible and told her a few first steps she could take.  But the other person laughed and put it back in the ‘fantasy’ box where her dreams likely would stay.  But the Entrepreneur is a person who’s pulled their dreams into the open and done the hard work (but oh so worth it) of making them come true.

 THE HERO

This woman has had some hard knocks; her body and her brain chemistry would be a challenge for any of us.  But she continues to fight, look for answers, improve herself, and vanquish her fears.  And she does all that while being one of the kindest, sweetest, and best people I know.  Whatever size problem I’m dealing with, I try to remember to tackle it with the cheer and grace this woman brings to every day of her life.

THE HARD WORKER

This man recently got the ‘dream job’ handed to him on a silver platter.  Lots of money, living in a big, exciting city, and getting to do what he loves every day.  I guess some people are just lucky, huh?  Wait a minute though — this guy also makes plans and goals all the time, spent his own money (and time) to better himself, and spent years before this ‘breakthrough’ honing his talents and turning himself into a dream hire for the company of his dreams.  Then he applied, risked rejection, and flew himself out there for interviews.  Oh, and all that money?  He was willing to ask for a little more and they happily gave it to him.  And yes, among the many things he’s taught himself, one was how to negotiate.

 THE STAR CREATURE

This woman doesn’t belong to this Earth, and I mean that in the best way possible.  She doesn’t connect to much of the rabble of our modern world but instead she’s inspired by the greatest artists in history, the most profound thinkers, the most beautiful moments of nature.  Life may overwhelm her senses, but only because she sees everything, feels everything.  And believe me, when you see everything, you miss nothing.  And when you miss nothing, you become a hell of a creative force.

So, that’s mine.  Now tell me, who’s inspiring you?  And what are you going to do about it today?

How to Make February the New January

“Get your hero up a tree, throw stones at him, then get him down.” — old saying in playwriting

So, a month ago, I was real excited.  And then what happened?  Life.

Those who know me know I haven’t been myself lately.  I have been quiet and tired.  Since January, my sister and I have had pipes burst, the well’s power shut down, a longer run of low temperatures here in Georgia than I can remember in my lifetime, snow, no indoor water, and the top third of a dead tree fall to the ground 30 feet from us — which was funny (especially since we were on our way to fix the well) but it was really close too.

None of that matters.  Or more precisely, none of that’s slowing us down.  It’s February now, time for us to re-find those 2014 goals and enthusiasm and I challenge you to do the same thing.  This is going to be the most frekin’ exciting year yet of our lives and that all begins by picking back up those goals, dusting them off, and saying —

We OWN this year.  Let’s prove it.

My 2014 goals —

  1. Cycle 50 miles in one day
  2. Publish my novel ‘A Caged Heart Still Beats’
  3. Publish my novel ‘Fall Street’
  4. Be in the best shape of my life (hard not to be with goal #1 😉
  5. Go Paleo for two solid months
  6. Write something new that is the best thing I’ve ever written
  7. Do yoga every day of the year starting now
  8. Make my home the most inspiring it’s ever been
  9. Do 12 adventurous things I’ve never done
  10. Get rid of 1/3 of my possessions

Can enrolling in an imaginary academy change your life?

Actually a building in Cotswold, not Sumar Academy.

Ah Sumar Academy.  I’ve just arrived here two days ago and I’m already learning so much.  I’m a little home-sick and a little intemidated but mostly I’m excited.  People graduate from here to do GREAT things.

Oh, BTW, did I mention this place is totally only in my mind?

From classic English stories to more modern takes like Hogwarts, there’s a lot of appeal to the idea of packing up, leaving your old world behind you, and submitting yourself to a whole new world of challenges that a boarding school or academy offers.  So when I decided to change my life this year, I imagined myself at a wonderful place of high standards and higher learning.

Part of the goal here is to live my ideal life each day, so life at the school has rules that help me to do that.  Such as —

  • It’s always clean at Sumar Academy.
  • It’s an honor to be a pupil here so looking nice and acting with pride is required.
  • There’s daily yoga and exercise and we write every day.
  • There’s also teachers and classes for inspiration and ‘fun’ daily — those things must be pretty important.

So far I’m excited and the first session lasts two months.  If I like it (and they like me), I can sign up for the next session.  People who graduate here leave for amazing lives and I can’t wait to be one of them.  Did I mention they only serve Paleo food here — wild.

Oh, by the way, they mentioned your name and said you have what it takes.  Now this place is hard work, but if you join us you’ll be in the elite.  Of course, your head master or head mistress may be a little different than mine, but I’m sure they’ll challenge you and change you into something great — into the person you were always meant to be.

So, will you be coming to Sumar Academy in 2014?