“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something is difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make it’s even harder – or impossible – to lose.” by Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride
I lay in bed this morning doing my best to convince myself I needed to get up to go to spin class. I am not, by nature, driven to fitness. But one of my life goals is to stay fit and healthy so I can indulge in other activities I enjoy such as hiking and traveling. So as I lay in bed asking myself, “is it worth it to get up so early?” I had to weigh this with the alternative. Is it worth it to let my fitness and health decline for an extra hour of sleep? In the end, I chose to get up and go to the gym. And when I was driving home I felt accomplished and proud of having motivated myself to go. It’s a small thing, yes, but each small thing adds up to a bigger thing. Today, I found more value in getting up and joining my fellow gym rats for an hour of sweat.
What does this have to do with my writing journey? Everything. Because I found myself driving home recently and thinking, “is it worth it to continue pursuing my writing?” I have been struggling recently to focus on my writing. It’s the holiday season and also the busiest time of the year for me at work. I have been feeling tired and grumpy. The holiday season has a way of bringing out the Grinch in me. And the thought just popped into my head, “is it worth it?” The thought surprised me and I began wondering why it lodged itself in my mind.
The worth of anything in our lives is only a matter of the value we place on it and the effort we’re willing to put towards it. What had me questioning my path? Why was I suddenly thinking of letting one of my passions fall to the wayside? Is it because I’m tired? Because I don’t have time? Because it’s taking too long to get published? Or is it simply that I’m feeling lazy and letting it go would be easier than continuing down the path that has suddenly gotten a bit steep?
These thoughts brought me back to something I wrote a while back. I would rather regret the things I have done than those I haven’t. And I know I would regret giving up on my writing. Like my fitness goals, I have to continuously remind myself of why writing has value to me. I write not because I have to, but because I want to. Because I enjoy the written word and it gives me pleasure when I feel I have been witty, or clever, or interesting. I have no one setting expectations for me other than myself. So I ask myself again, is it worth it?
The answer is yes. I know I would regret stepping off this path. But I also realize that I set some fairly steep expectations for myself. I started on this path at a sprint, running hard and fast towards goals I set. And then I ran out of breath when the path got steep and started wondering if it was worth the climb. There’s no one else on my path setting expectations for me, pushing me to deliver, and demanding that I do it a certain way. It is only me. It doesn’t matter how fast I go – maybe I’ll sprint here, jog there, or slow to a walk further on. The important thing is to stay on the path if I feel it’s worth it for me to continue to do so. And I have decided it is.