Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reaching for the Moon

“Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ~ Louisa May Alcott

When I was a young girl, my family and I lived in a high-rise apartment building in the heart of the city. I loved sitting on the balcony at night, when the noise from the street had finally quieted down and the horizon came to life as a parade of lights. I especially loved to sit out there when the moon was full, since I find very few things to be as impressive and mystical as the jolly, tangerine-hued face of the moon peeking through the buildings. One night, it looked so big that I distinctly remember thinking I could touch it if I just reached far enough. Although touching the moon was not an option, I still enjoyed the feeling of peace and the pale light which seemed to enshroud everything in a silvery cloak of dreams and magic.

Not everyone dreams of touching the moon, but most of us set goals for ourselves. Some of the goals are little more than a speck of hope in the far distance, while some others are immediate plans we set out to achieve in our daily lives. Regardless of how practical, unthinkable, big or small our goals are, they can be achieved. If someone has reached them before us, it only means that a door must exist to get there. It may not be the first one we knock on, or even the second or third ones, but a path to our dreams certainly exists, if we are willing to put in the footwork to find it.

I remember having this conversation with my son, one night, while he was telling me about his passion for drumming. He felt that becoming a professional drummer is an impossible dream and he should focus on something more “concrete”. Given that he was raised by me, I was speechless…impossible? Nothing is impossible. The road might be rocky, and the journey a rough one, but if one has a clear destination in mind, going from point A to point B can definitely be in the cards.

Sticking with a personal goal is simpler than most think, as long as we realize that initial failure is nothing more than a stepping stone toward future success. An old proverb even states that we should fall seven times and get up eight. Short-term goals are probably the hardest ones to keep up with, as what motivates us to achieve them rarely originates in the fire of an individual’s inner passion; our resolve can easily deflate and we lose our momentum. By setting small goals and working toward them, we raise our inner bar of self-discipline, and through the joy of humble victories along the way we train for the marathon of touching the moon.

We don’t need to set our goals into the future – today is as good a day as any to get motivated, set goals, and begin to make changes, even if small ones. After all, all great runners started once by learning how to put one foot in front of the other. Time and persistence did the rest.

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