Life is the Messy Bits: Advice for the New Year

As a writer of a “lifestyle” blog of sorts, I feel like on this New Year’s Day I should have some major words of wisdom to share...

This blog section is called “Tips for Living With Purpose” after all, so I should have some idea of something to share with you that will help you live with purpose and on purpose in the new year.

But, to be honest, I’m tapped out right now.

I don’t mean I have nothing to write about, because I absolutely do. I mean that I don’t know what advice to offer. I feel like any advice or ideas I give you would be useless or meaningless because every year at this time, I set these BIG goals and rarely, if ever, do I follow through on them.

I’ve said this before, “My name is Kathrin, and I’m a planner who lacks follow through.”

I know I have big dreams that only I can chase.

I know I have talents that could help me along the way

I know I can set up a fool-proof plan that would give me the long-term success I crave.

But the Kathrin of February, March, and April and beyond is worse than a fool. She’s a “no-follow-through-fool.”

I usually can’t even mess the plan up because I don’t do anything. I just walk away from it all and it’s sitting there like, “Yo, we had a plan and you were all about it like 2 seconds ago. Wtf?!”

And I know in some ways the reason I walk away from the plans I make is because I like the planning part...I enjoy the planning.

It’s the living part I’m not so fond of.

Over the last 8 years or more I’ve more or less been letting life just happen.

Oh, sure, I have all the plans in the world and big ideas for success every year...but since I can’t control every piece of life to make it fall into line with my plan, I usually just give up.

I stop living and let life happen to me.

That’s probably why Rachel Hollis’ quote, “If you’re unhappy, that’s on YOU,” cut so deep the first time I read it.

I’ve let life just happen for years...and I have no one to blame for my unhappiness or less-than-happiness than ME.

I’m the “no-follow-through-fool.” I’m the person responsible for the “best laid plans” just disappearing in my life.

Wanna know why I love New Year’s Resolutions season so much? Because I get to pretend my former self was a total moron who couldn’t make a plan to save her life. I get to pretend that I just haven’t found the right PLAN yet. I get to ignore my faults and the extent to which I’m to blame in all of this and just make a different plan...which I can just let die quietly while I’m over in the background pretending not to notice that I had plastered it all over my office and bedroom walls and that it covers pages and pages of my notebooks that I bought just for the occasion.

I can always buy a new notebook...a fresh one. I can always start over, right?

I wrote on Instagram that the new year is always a time of new beginnings...of fresh starts. And that’s beautiful.

But another beautiful thing is the middle steps. The steps we failed to take at one point or another because we were so busy trying to avoid having to DO anything and just letting life happen to us.

Maybe people like me don’t need a new beginning on the new year. Maybe we just need a middle step.

The “middle step,” the follow-through, is less glamorous and exciting. It’s less fun and “sharable.” Everyone wants to know, “What are your dreams and goals for 2019?” “What are your Resolutions?”

But few people want to know that I got up at 6 am for 2 days in a row...that I ran 3 miles because it’s a middle week training day...that I wrote blog #2 for the week...that I drank 110oz of water yesterday.

Those things seem so insignificant compared to the big, masterful yearly plans I like to create.

Those are the daily bits...the “messy bits.”

In the movie “Letters to Juliet,” the character Claire says it best: “Life is the messy bits.”

And for years, I’ve been letting life just happen because I don’t like messy bits.

I don’t like the sweat. I don’t like the tears. I don’t like the setbacks. I don’t like the missed details. I don’t like the things that fall through. I don’t like the things that can’t be planned. I don’t like the things that don’t work.

I’d rather have the big, strong reevaluations and new plans.

But the middle steps—those things that haven’t ended or come to fruition after a year or a month or a week of work and need another step (or another hundred steps) to get from one middle point to another middle point—are the most important ones.

I used to think it was all about the FIRST step. But it’s not. It’s about the 50th one. The 80th one. The 100,000,000th one.

I think that’s what the wise people mean when they say it’s about the journey not the destination...

And I would add to that: It’s not the beginning...it’s the messy bits, middle steps, tiny, seemingly insignificant daily things.

So in 2019, I’m going to work on loving and really living the “messy bits” of life.

“Life is the messy bits.” Life is the steps we take, not the plan we have.

One step at a time. One messy bit at a time. No more “new beginnings.” Let’s strive for new “middles.”

Happy New Year, Friends. Enjoy your 2019 “messy bits.”

 

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