Do you really want that?


I’m in a position in life right now in which I’m facing one obstacle after another. Just as soon as I climb one mountain, I get caught in a mud slide, I find myself on the other side, rock bottom, STUCK in a mess.

We are many things in this life–children, parents, siblings, lovers, enemies, friends, dreamers, realists, workers, writers, musicians, novelists, painters, inventors, etc. The list goes on forever.

But we can only live one moment at a time. Usually, we can only wear one hat at a time if we are to wear it well.

Life is never without conflict. Life is not pretty. Life has it’s magical moments, but most of the time, life is just one page in a book that turns to the next. We have to read the whole story to get the message.

Sometimes it’s easy to give up.

For example, I want to be a writer. But it’s difficult for me to FIND my writer hat when I’m trying to wear all of the others at the same time. Something constantly gets in my way.

I am a teacher, but I can’t do my job well after 3:15 when the last bell of the day rings to release teachers. (Yes, teachers have dismissal bells too. And yes, a teacher’s job does NOT stop at 3:15.) Right now I’ve been carrying around the same bag of essays to grade, but something, always SOMETHING, prevents me from finishing them. I’ve carried these essays and other papers like them to ball games, music practices, family events, Walmart, field trips. I have graded while eating supper. I have graded while riding shotgun on road trips. I’ve graded in places where NO ONE else needs to know where I’ve graded.

The task must be accomplished. I can’t give up.

It’s easier, sometimes, to do the things we HAVE to do, especially if those things are for OTHERS. It’s harder, I think, to do those things that are for US.

I have sat down to write at my house only to be interrupted by phone calls, visitors at the front door, children fighting and screaming, spouses fighting and screaming, and most of all, by my own feeling of despair.

I’m not a quitter by nature. I am, however, a runner. When things get too intense, I tend to run. A few years ago, I faced some rough times at my job. What’s the first thing I wanted to do? RUN.

There’s a grand difference between running away and walking away. Sometimes, in order to triumph over an obstacle, a person has to calmly change direction to find peace. If a job, for example, is creating health issues, I say pack up and move on. However, don’t run scared. Think it out. Use your brain. Make a plan. Never run blindly. You never know what you might run into, something perhaps worse than the previous situation.

Sometimes I’ve wanted to run away from writing.

I can hear myself now. “I give up. I quit. I can’t do this. Forget it. I’ll never be a writer. I’m destined to do for others the rest of my life. I’ll never have my heart’s desire.”

Have those words or thoughts ever crossed your mind?

Why do those words resonate? Because they echo what WE want.. Because we feel selfish for wanting anything for ourselves.

Life is very, very short. My father never wanted to do the job he did. He was a printer. It was a messy job with few perks and tremendous stress. His blood pressure skyrocketed because of the demands. He had to meet deadlines that depended on how other people performed their duties. (Hmmm. Sounds a lot like teaching.) My dad always wanted to own his own business, maybe a sporting goods store. He never truly entertained the idea. He thought it was impossible.

My dad raised somebody very much different than himself. He raised a dreamer, a people pleaser, but a dreamer nonetheless. I know, I know, I know what I want, what I need. But it won’t come easily to me, if it comes at all. Is taking a chance on a dream worth the risk?

Face it. Not getting what you want is equivalent to rejection. Is taking a chance worth the rejection?

By the time most writers have really bought into their dreams of publication, they have developed a sardonic sense of humor about their rejection letters. They file them. They categorize them. They write about them. They frame them and hang them on the wall. Most of them get excited just to GET a rejection–a rejection is better than nothing at all (which is what MOST of us get).

The dream doesn’t have to be about writing. You know what your dream is.

The point here is that WHEN we know, we know, we know, what we want, we usually find ourselves at a crossroads. Rarely, do we get what we want without a challenge. It is so very easy to give up. It’s easy to run. It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easier to substitute something else for what we really want. And we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves we’re happy.

Rarely do we achieve our treasures without going on a quest. But first we have to decide, “Do I really want that? Really?”

It’s easy to talk a good talk. Action is a different story.

If we REALLY want something, we have to make clear, very clear, that we want it. The first person we have to convince is ourselves. Then we have to do what it takes to make the dream come true. We have to wrestle the key to the door between us and our treasure from whoever or whatever holds it (an editor, an employer, an agent, etc.)

Above all, we have to decide if getting what we want is worth the effort. Are we willing to shed a few tears, stay up late, struggle, risk rejection, fight fears, stand face to face with opposition?

The NaNo writing project is happening right now. I’m already behind. I’ll catch up. Sometimes we get sidetracked, but we can find our way back to our path.

Do you know what you want? Then do something about it! Maybe the only thing that has kept you from it is yourself.

What words of advice to you have for others who really, really want something but must overcome obstacles to achieve it? Were you ever a runner or a quitter? How did you overcome the problem? Have you ever had to walk away or to find a new direction to achieve your dream?

Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it.  I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.  ~ Charles F. Kettering

So often in time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. – The Eagles




10 thoughts on “Do you really want that?

  1. Teresa I can relate to your Dad’s printing job, I took Graphic Arts in high school learned how to run the 1250 offset presses, In 1987 i moved to Dallas Texas my first job was in a print shop near Downtown Dallas I learned one lesson, High school printing make a mistake no problem, Regular printing make a mistake your boss is down your throat and on your case, I quit that and took 2 fast food jobs to make ends meet then in 1990 i went to work at a local school district as a Custodian, I kept going at that till i moved back to Illinois, Also the Bass kit i got i saw in a music store in Mattoon and kept saying someday i am going to do that and I am it is how i met you, .As for being a writer i still say when your first book hits the shelf i will be there to buy it and wait in line for a book signing, Keep up the good work God Bless you My Friend

    • Thank you for bringing a smile to your face. I am SO GLAD that Harmony House introduced us. I love what we do at Harmony House. You wouldn’t believe how much I have come out of my shell because of it. Thank you for believing in me as a writer. I can’t wait to hear you play bass again. You have a really nice guitar. I know you’re proud of it. Maybe some day you’ll be signing an autograph for me!

  2. Aye, fear of rejection… Here’s a sad little tale. My degree is in Psychology. Few know that I was a thesis away from my Masters Degree. I completed all the course work as well as the filed placement. I wrote my thesis, “Procrastination as Related To Fear of Failure”. I even wrote and correlated two surveys – testing 500 subjects. My advisor had no time for me and just said, “looks good” for the year and a half that i worked on it. When said thesis went for final review, the board rejected the thesis and even the topic. I was told to pick a new topic and start all over. I had neither the money nor the heart to continue…. ‘Tis probably the greatest regret of my life.
    Point?? Maybe I didn’t want it badly enough. My goal, at that time, was to be a school psychologist. I still think I would be good at that,.. but my true passion? Writing. Perhaps we subconsciously sabotage ourselves when we are not following our dreams.
    WHEN you have that book signing, I shall stand behind you and throw confetti periodically! 😀

    • I know that you have not received a tangible pay check for counseling people, but you have done SO MUCH for people in our community. People read your comments and notes, and they listen. And they learn. You are a writer. Period. If you had been locked into a system job, you probably would not have had the time to reach the people you have. I’m not saying that the students aren’t important, but SOMEONE will be in that place. There is no other Mary with her sidekick Martha. You show up in places serendipitously and help people at your divine appointments. No, you haven’t received a paycheck, but I think you have reaped something from your sessions. You have to feel the love people have for you. You are too intuitive not to feel it. 🙂 I can see you throwing confetti. I really can. The thought makes me smile. I think what I want most is to be happy down deep all the way to my toes. I’ll take what God gives me. I do hope that, when I unwrap His surprise, happy is waiting on me.

      • Thank You. Simple words, but sincere. You have eased my soul in ways that time has not been able to do. ‘Tis important to love. In fact I think that (learning to love) is the entire purpose of our earthly existence. I do feel it. With the years flying by, I’m thinking that perhaps my “detour” is much like Frost’s two roads in the woods. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

  3. Thank you for sharing. This post spoke to some challenges I’m plodding through.

    My advice concerning obstacles is don’t reject a path simply because it will contain pain and trouble. Sometimes the process of working through pain and hardship is the most effective teacher and trainer to prepare you for lasting success.

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