Every January for past decade has brought the same goal: "Be a better DaVida."
I contemplated all the ways I could become more of who I wish I was. These "wishes" tended to encompass some things a bit out of my range to manifest in my life (i.e. getting a Victoria Beckham body, hair like Halle Berry's "Catwoman" wig or the vision of becoming a 30 under 30 mogul). While those have proven to be frivolous and silly goals, some of my more ambitious, true desire type goals have failed to materialize. Year after year, I find myself failing to write a book, get booked as a speaker or produce something that garners a significant career change. I'm hoping that this year I can encompass the wisdom and benefit of my age and utilize the many failures to ignite my ever-persistent passion to create better goals that finally bring about the type of life I desire.
Last year, I officially became the age I longed feared. I used to have nightmares that my dream would leave me homeless, jobless, and destitute at 40. When July 21, 2016 rolled around, I found myself without a full time job. Unlike my vision, I was not homeless. In fact, not only did I have a place in L.A., but numerous places to sleep back home. Since my vision of Skid Row life had not come true, I figured it was at least an indication that I might be ok longer term.
As I alluded to above, I have fallen short quite a bit. Actually, I mean A LOT! I think many of my accomplishments have been recognized by others only because they know how much I've sucked at trying things in the past! For every job I secured, there were at least four others I wasn't able to get an interview. Every relationship I thought about during my 30s dissolved before even getting going. When it comes to my writing...chile please. I've been rejected time and time and time again. Oprah said, "Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." If she's right, and she's been known to be quite often, I'm well on my way. Every time I fall short, I think I'm done. I throw in the towel. I sink into my hole. I stop talking to my friends and family. I overeat. I cry. I curse God. I lay awake at night. I give up. Then when I'm done with all that, you know what happens? I try again. I feel like I have no choice.
The past 40 years have taught me many lessons and one continues to be ring true, "As long as we are alive, life goes on". When things haven't worked out according to my plan, they've tended to work in ways I couldn't have predicted or imagined. No matter how much money I make (or don't make), bills come every month. I've also found that no matter how big the fight or how badly I mess up, people that really love me still do once the dramatic times pass. My Granny always told me to just keep on living. I used to think she was just spewing old folk sayings but now I know for myself the value of her words.
My hope and desire is that this year will be different. I've abandoned my fake goals that will never be - V. Beckham is that chick but these hips will never be that narrow. I have a new 10 year plan and want to really use my time and energy wisely. I've decided to place my focus on the things I can control. Instead of freaking out because I haven't made a feature film, I instead am focusing my time what I can right now. I no longer have space for the pessimists or dream killers. I have no time to hem and haw over what hasn't happened. My one job is to again, try again.
No use in giving up now.
NOTE: I plan to share an essay a week during 2017. I'm taking the lead from a writer that helped me to believe in myself as a writer as well. Check out Jewel Bush's first of 52 essays in 2017.