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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Failure is not an Option

I love finding out that things are misquoted, or just simply made up because Hollywood likes the sound of it. This infamous Apollo 13 movie quote was never actually uttered but was understood by those who worked on the project. Losing men during the Apollo missions was devastating, the worst being the loss of Gus Grissom, Edward White II and Roger Chaffee during the Apollo 1 Launch Rehearsal. The concept of Failure to bring Apollo 13 home was unthinkable and the knowledgeable and dedicated workers persevered until Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise returned. It was a miracle, in a sense, but truthfully the miracle is the human spirit that refused to quit. I believe that Failure actually only occurs when you choose to Quit.

When I was eighteen I had an interesting discussion with my father. We were visiting Brian Head, Utah for the first time and six of us were sharing a tiny two room condo and enjoying some family vacation time. My father and I stayed up late one night talking. He was concerned about me because I was not interested in going back to college. He asked me, “Aren‘t you afraid of failure?” The concept baffled me. How could I fail if I did not begin? Furthermore, how could I fail if I never quit? I did go back to college and am still pursuing that dream, however I do not consider myself a failure for not finishing sooner. It is a regret but not a failure because I refuse to quit. I will quit pursuing my educational goals when I can no longer breathe.

Furthermore, I refuse to quit on many other things in my life. I refused to quit on my marriage and family although at times the idea has seemed appealing. I refuse to quit on my Special Needs son who makes me mostly crazy but I love dearly. I refuse to quit on my dreams because I don’t know where they will take me. I just keep going. As long as I keep trying I am not quitting therefore I cannot fail. Once I decide to Quit, I am a Failure.

Sometimes I think I am afraid of success. I am somewhat concerned about my abilities to follow through on deadlines and consistency. Commitments frighten me. Some of it is legitimate as I am often called away to take care of my children or some other similar concern. However, it is also the idea that my creative energy has to be harnessed and tamed to produce at will. I still am not disciplined enough for that kind of obligation. Maybe.

I’m trying, however. And until I quit I do not consider myself a FAILURE.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I don’t believe in Resolutions. Probably it goes back to the way I feel about Always and Never since a Resolution usually involves that thought process. Also, because I have discovered that I’m commitment-phobic--and no, not the “I can’t commit to marriage” commitment phobia, but the “Oh Lord, I have a deadline?” Phobia. Oh, and I have at least two books on Procrastination on my bookshelf that I didn’t purge, nor have I read, although I’ve had them both for over ten years…

I do believe in Goals. I love goals. I am always revising, revamping, reworking, and resetting Goals! I also love all the charts and graphs you can make when you set goals. They are cool and fun and you can color code them and make them with squares big enough for checkmarks or even small stickers! Yeah, I’m all about the checking stuff off…

Many years ago I wrote a list of Ten Goals I wanted to Accomplish out of my life. So far I’ve done like eight of them. Not too shabby. But the two or three left are pretty huge. Graduate from College. Oh, and not just any college, I was specific, I want to graduate from Brigham Young University. Yeah, that’s still a goal. Get published? Yeah, that’s a goal. Even though I have technically achieved that goal a couple of times (yep, even got paid!) I know it’s not really done because my real goal is to have books by the checkout register at the grocery store with embarrassing covers on them with my name splattered across the top…
Bodice Ripping Drama: Dripping with Sappy Lines and Sexy, Rich Heroes/Heroines… BY KATRINA DUVALOIS!!! Yeah, I want to embarrass my family. But I don’t really write that stuff… haha, gotcha didn’t I!

I like reviewing my goals frequently. I am always trying to improve so it’s not difficult to revamp and rework my goals. What is difficult is accepting what I can and cannot do. And I have to add that I believe it’s a Can and Cannot RIGHT NOW. Because RIGHT NOW I am not working on the college goal. I have no education goals for this year, except to get my oldest child graduated and off to college. I tell my kids to GET IT DONE because trying to do it later stinks. It’s too hard. My only Education-related goal for myself this year is to read. A lot. And from the booklists of classics and recommended reading for Masters of English. Just because I don’t have the paper doesn’t mean I can’t do the reading.

Writing? Well that baby is in motion. I have some serious writing goals for this year. Mostly because I don’t want a real job, I have to justify my time someway. I really Really REALLY want to FINISH a novel. Finish as in Beginning to Middle to End. And it makes sense, and it’s Edited and it’s ready to Submit. I have the most amazing outlines for at least two novels right now. I have no trouble stymie-ing myself so I’m only on Chapter 4 of 25 on one of them. Yeah, I could use some PRODDING. [hint, hint]

The other area of my life that needs work is purely financial. I have started and stuck to my spending fast. I accidentally bought something on Ebay over the holidays but when it arrived I gave it to my daughter (didn’t fit me anyway--haha) so that was a wash… And if you haven’t done Ebay then you don’t know how easy it is to “accidentally” buy something… No books. No clothes. And even more impressive; No Shoes! I’m starting to feel the itch but my family’s needs are more important so it’s fine. [twitch]

Mary Kay Ash said, You don’t change the goal, you just change the date. That’s my goal for this year. To keep my goals and just keep plugging away until they become reality. At least I only have a couple of areas to really work on. Or at least that I am going to work on. Sorry everyone. Not much of a New Leaf for me. Just a better, improved me. That’s the goal. But it’s not my Resolution. I don't believe in them.