On Accomplishments and Regrets

Howdy, howdy!  A friend recently sent me a questionnaire she received from a career coach, so that I too could experience the equal parts torture and enlightenment (her words).  I fully admit that I’ve never been able to take things like this seriously.  My answers always range from sarcastic to literal (and occasionally both).  For instance, one of the questions is “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”  My initial reaction was “Walk!  No, wait… telekinesis!  No… take over the world.  That’s my final answer.”  I mean, if I can’t fail, why not aim big?  But anyway, one of the questions actually managed to get to me: “What accomplishments must, in your opinion, occur during your lifetime so that you will consider your life to have been satisfying and well liveda life of few or no regrets?”  So, I thought I’d answer it here since I don’t know what else to ramble about today.

If that’s not achievement enough, I don’t know what is.

I suppose this is the kind of question where people write down things like having kids or becoming a CEO of some big company or founding a charity or whatever, which are all  wonderful goals to have, but I don’t think they’re musts.  I actually don’t believe any accomplishment is a must in order to lead a fulfilling life.  For me, that kind of thinking is sad.  I mean, do I hope to publish a bunch of books and become a famous author?  Hell yes.  If I die tomorrow without achieving those goals, does that make my life any less well lived?  No.  I’ll be dead.  I won’t care about that kind of unfinished business.  So, why should I put that kind of pressure on myself while I’m alive?  If I fail, I fail.  It’ll be disappointing, but ultimately, it doesn’t make my whole life unsatisfying.

The accomplishment itself is just the reward at the end of a very long journey.  I believe that journey, with all its little setbacks as well as its forward momentum, is more important than being able to point at a finished project and say “look what I did!”  Don’t get me wrong, achieving a goal feels great, but when you look back at it, you remember the path you took to get there more than the moment of completion.  At least, I do.  As long as the good parts outweigh the bad and as long as I know I’m trying, then I consider my life a success whether I have anything to show for it or not.

Success is awesome, but don’t forget the rest of this stuff.

As far as regrets go, I think they’re useless and that’s probably what bugged me the most about the question.  I’m not going to have a bunch of regrets simply because I fail to accomplish my goals.  If I’m trying my best, why would I regret that?  I suppose when most of the things you would change about your past are out of your control, it puts all potential regrets in perspective.  Are there things I wish I could’ve done differently?  Yeah.  Would I have actually done them differently?  No, because then I wouldn’t become the person I am now.  Plus, my experiences that led me to those decisions would be the same, so the likelihood of me making different choices even if I had a do-over are slim to none.  So why worry about it at all?  Regrets change nothing.

Because Uta no Prince-sama.

I guess maybe I’m weird to not worry about big accomplishments.  Or maybe it’s part of the whole cripple privilege thing that I can focus on other things without people judging me and making me feel like I’m wrong (not that I’d care what they thought anyway).  Or maybe I just worry more about the every day stuff than I should.  But to me, being happy, enjoying life, and knowing that I’m trying my best are more important than actual success (not that accomplishments aren’t exciting and fulfilling).  What about you?  How would you answer the question?

Another Writerly Achievement Unlocked

Hello, hello!  On Monday, September 26, while many of my friends were watching and commenting on what I’m sure was a magnificent presidential debate (I couldn’t even keep a straight face while typing that), I was finishing up the first draft of my current novel attempt!  Why is this an achievement?  Because I started it on February 29th.  I wrote a novel, 90,000 words, in less than a year.  I know that might not be awesome to other writers, but for me, it’s amazing!  So, I figured it would be okay to take one post to toot my own horn.  Sorry, not sorry.

At least it feels like I did.

 Now, the question becomes “What’s next?”  For this novel?  It gets to sit in its dark little corner of my computer for a while, all by itself.  I haven’t read through it to see if it’s any good, and honestly, I’d probably think it sucks if I did look at it right now.  So, I will be taking a break from it while I work on Garnets and Guardians for a bit.  I tend to have attachment issues to certain parts of my work if I don’t take some time away from it before edits, so I think this is the best course of action.  After all, no one likes dealing with a writer on an emotional rollercoaster.

Time and space tempers this whole up and down thing.  Sometimes.

But first, there will be celebrating.  I still have no idea how I will celebrate, but I will.  Maybe I’ll buy myself a present.  Or maybe I’ll get a bag of chocolates.  Or maybe I’ll just take a couple of days off and binge watch Netflix.  I’m not very good at deciding how to reward myself.  Suggestions are welcome.

 Honestly, I’ll probably end up starting my initial read-through of G&G without taking more than a day’s break, because I really want to get back into it.  Has that ever happened to you?  A sudden itch to return to a certain world after an extended break?  It popped up a couple of months ago, so I sent G&G out for feedback in the hopes of having some suggestions when I finished the current novel attempt.  A couple of people got back to me, so I should be good to go.  I just don’t know where the urge came from.  I don’t usually have this problem.  It’s kind of neat, and worrisome.

This is usually what editing boils down to for me.

 Have you guys made any new achievements lately?  How did you/will you celebrate?  What did you move onto afterwards?  Or what do you plan to do?  Take a second to stop and congratulate yourself in the comments or on my social media!  I want to be able to celebrate with you.  No humble brags allowed.  Own your accomplishments!  Be loud and proud about them.  We’re here to support each other, in the good times as well as the bad.  I, for one, enjoy seeing my friends succeed.