It's Daylight savings time again. Okay, not quite, at least for us Americans, though our European friends changed over last weekend. As much hassle as Daylight savings time is, I do find that it causes me to stop and pay attention. I've blogged about daylight savings time before, and was trying to think of what I could write about this time that would be a little different.
What occurred to me
is that there are plenty of thoughts I have about time, our perception
of it and how we can react to the gain or loss of an hour, but I also
think that just the fact that we have to stop and think about time can
be a little bit of a wake up call. The amount of light we get when we
wake and around dinner time changes so gradually, and then Daylight
savings comes around and all of a sudden the world around us has
changed, seemingly overnight. It always feels like a little bit of a
shock, when I open the window for the first time after a time change,
and it's more or less light out than I'm used to.
is like so many other things in our lives, where we can have these
little gradual changes, and not even notice them. We may be working
towards a goal and feel like we are just running in place. It's only
when we stop, and look at where we were when we started, that we realize
we have actually traveled some distance! On the flip side, we may feel
like we are doing everything the same way that we always have, and yet
when we look up we realize that we've let little things slip through our
fingertips and we have fallen behind from where we want to be.
is always a good idea to reassess and re-evaluate where we are in life,
not only in relation to the things we are actively working towards, but
also just our state in general. And while many of us do this at the
New Year, when it is traditional to check in and to set resolutions, we
really need to do this more than once a year. A year is a very long
time, and habits are hard to break. When we start to slip, the quicker
we can catch ourselves, the less catching up we will have to do.
when we are starting to feel frustrated, it is a perfect time to check
in, to see where we actually stand. This can help us to keep going,
when we might have started to give up. It can feel absolutely fruitless
to keep beating your head against a wall, if you feel you aren't going
anywhere, and yet, each time you do something, a tiny piece of you
changes. Those tiny changes add up over time, even if you can't see it
in the moment.
There are lots of ways to assess your
life, to look around and see where you are at. But the biggest factor
in all of them is you have to really be honest with yourself, about both
the good and the bad. I can sometimes have trouble seeing the good in
myself, and seeing my own progress is something that is hard for me at
times. I am much more likely to just feel frustrated and at a loss.
me, being very specific helps. If I just think about how I am doing in
a certain area, and let myself respond with broad generalizations like
"good/bad", it is very easy to not see the changes that are happening.
Instead, if I make myself grade on a scale (whether it is 1-10, a
detailed emotional scale of how I feel about that aspect of my life, or
even a percentage representing how far along I am from start to finish
on a particular goal), I am more likely to actually think about how
things have changed. And even more so when I have to explain my
answer! When I ask myself why I think I'm at a particular place, or why
I think I haven't grown or changed, I have to justify my own
evaluation. And sometimes, when I'm doing that, I realize that I have
changed in ways I hadn't noticed.
Life is tricky, it's
not all black and white. There are so many factors that determine our
progress along the way. And sometimes we look at where we want to be
and we realize we haven't been walking that way in a very long time.
Not because we aren't motivated or are doing a bad job, but because we
have found something else that we want more. Our direction has changed,
but we are still judging our success based on how far we are from our
original destination. When we stop and see where we actually want to
go, we may find that we have gone so much farther than we thought we
I think it's also helpful to look around us and
see what unexpected benefits have come from our progress. Our actions
have ripples, and when we have our eyes trained on our goal, we may not
see all the extra things that we have gained along the way.
have done some really big writing projects over the years, not only
NaNo (which is always intense!), but also my moon phase year, and now my
Patreon story series. It is very easy for me to feel caught in this
endless grind. Each month there is another goal, another deadline,
another thing to finish up, and yet it sometimes feels like it never
ends! Because as soon as one is 'finished' I have to start thinking
about the next one.
We all have things in our lives
that are like this, whether it is a job thing, a home thing, or a
personal thing. Every day we have things that we grind away at, things
we do over and over, and things that never end. Instead of focusing on
how we have to pick up that burden again, stop and take a moment and
look around and see what else has come to pass because of the work you
For me, it is a body of work that I can now draw
upon. I have had plans on publishing for a while, and through NaNo I
have several projects that could be polished up and published. I have
more that will never be published, and some were never intended to be.
But even from those, I gained experiences that have changed how I write
and how I approach writing (and even how I approach other tasks based on
what I learned while writing). My moon phase project was never
intended to be more than just a personal project that I decided to share
on Facebook, and now I am thinking of compiling it and editing it and
publishing it as a year's journey through the moons.
my Patreon stories, working on writing one a month, at the end of a
year, have left me with content that could be combined into a story
book. And a lot of lessons about how to create continually, how to
create when I am not feeling creative, and how hard I can push myself,
when I need to (thank you NaNo for the start of that one).
all need a little encouragement, from time to time. We all need to
stop, take a breath, look around and take stock. We need to acknowledge
how far we have come and all the extra things we have picked up along
the way. We may need to change our goal, or accept that our goal
changed without us even being aware of it! And we need to do these
things regularly, before they have bogged us down and become obstacles
we have to overcome to get back on track.