Hello, everyone! How is 2019 treating you so far? I hope things are going well for each of you.
Today, I’d like to introduce a new series of posts that I have decided to affectionately call “If You Give A Girl A Cookie”.
For children’s book aficionados and individuals of a particular age, you may very well remember the kid’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which I happened to be extremely fond of as a child.
This series is inspired by my love of reading the “fortunes” in fortune cookies. Since Chinese food is my absolute favorite and I always enjoy reading the deep and profound wisdom found within fortune cookies (sarcasm, anyone?), I have come across quite a few fortunes in my day.
It has become a bit of a kooky hobby of mine to collect as many fortunes as I can find so I may add them to my collection. And by “collection” I mean my up-cycled preserves jar that has housed (almost) every fortune I’ve gotten over the last ten years.
Okay, so maybe some of the fortune cookies out there are stuffed with unsubstantial, horribly generic, rose-colored fluff that has no more ability to foretell your future as an old woman peering into a crystal ball for the low, low cost of $29.99 plus tax.
I’m not even going to lie to you… I’ve seen some pretty lame fortunes over the years. However, I’ve come across some pretty insightful cookie covered tidbits to turn over in my mind as well.
I hope that in sharing my fortunes and personal reflections regarding them, you may find unexpected inspiration and encouragement that applies to your own life.
“Determination is what you need now.”
Isn’t that the truth?
Ya’ll, for as low-key excited as I was to bid farewell to 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms, this year is already starting to feel like a hot mess—and we are only ten days in.
I don’t know… perhaps it is my fault. After all, I’m the one who had the bright idea to forgo resolutions in favor of adopting a general ethos for the year ahead. Even though I’ve already spent a good amount of time setting my intentions and coming up with a solid game plan for the next stage of my life, I feel impossibly scattered and overwhelmed.
I’m not sure if any of you guys can relate, but if you’ve ever worked towards a particular goal for a number of years, you may understand what I’m about to say.
By this point in my life, I have started to feel as though I’ve taken up permanent residence on a merry-go-round. I mean, I’ve put all of the utilities in my name, painted the walls, swapped out the appliances, and drawn up plans for a second-story addition—I’m a full-timer now.
I’ve been working at a number of goals for so long now that I literally don’t know what my life would consist of without the constant uphill battle of fighting to see them come to pass. The mere idea of setting out to do anything and having it not evolve into a whole several year long ordeal would floor me.
Though I’ve tried to remain as positive as possible through this entire process, and as much as I’ve never wanted to adopt an attitude of “everything is a struggle”, it’s hard not to feel that way sometimes. And as grateful as I am to even be alive to strive towards something (successfully or otherwise), I’ve recently realized the toll the long journey has taken on me.
It is becoming increasingly rare for me to show any emotion on a day to day basis as far as my shortcomings and disappointments are concerned because I know that feelings don’t get the work done. For the most part, I go through my days doing what I can do and forgiving myself for whatever I can’t.
I don’t complain.
I don’t get upset.
I don’t compare myself to others.
I don’t shake my fist in the air demanding justice.
I don’t foam at the mouth or screech like a baboon.
I don’t do anything other than keep going.
However, lately, I have felt the crushing weight of my growing weariness.
Last night, when I retired to the quiet of my bedroom, I sat down on my bed and suddenly burst into tears. It was in that moment that I realized just how tired I was of fighting, how tired I was of being met by closed doors at every turn.
What if there is no happy ending?
What if I never see any of my dreams fulfilled?
All I could think of was how devastated I would be if I one day came to discover that all the blood, sweat, and tears had been for nothing in the end. What if my efforts were all in vain, rendering the very essence of my existence a complete waste? The mere idea made me cry even harder.
In that heart-rending, but beautifully prayerful moment, I felt unspeakably weak. However, I also managed to feel powerfully alive.
As beside myself as I was at the time, the view of my greatest hopes and dreams was perfectly unobstructed. Although the finish line felt worlds away and just beyond my reach, there was no question about the fervent desire I have to eliminate the distance by any means necessary.
I truly believe that my breakthrough is just over the horizon, but still, it has been hard to imagine pushing through to the end. Many mornings I have woken up and whispered to myself, “I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this.” And as much as I hate to admit it, things have gone on this way so long that I’m almost tired of praying for a resolution.
Giving up is completely out of the question, but I am admittedly running dangerously low on the hope and resolution that has led me this far. This is why yesterday’s fortune really spoke to me when I pulled it from its cookie.
If you’ve ever worked towards something for a prolonged amount of time, then you can surely identify with the sheer exhaustion that can come with the territory. Physical exhaustion. Mental exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion. As much as you may want to reach your goals, without sufficient support and adequate stamina, continuing to put one foot in front of the other may start to feel utterly impossible.
Though I am currently in desperate need of a miraculous “wind” that can help push me the rest of the way, the power of good old fashion determination cannot be underestimated. So though I may not be able to take too many more steps through my own strength and efforts, my refusal to relinquish my dreams may be the sole difference between failure and victory.
To be determined is to be firmly set on one’s chosen course of action.
Immoveable. Steadfast. Purpose-focused. Single-minded.
It is one thing to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and who you are doing it for, but can you remember all of this once the storms in your life roll in? Do you have the ability to stay the course even as the barrage of challenges and trials threaten to wash out the roads you’ve planned to follow? Will you continue to blindly stumble through the dark, using only the desire within your heart as your map?
I know my answer. Do you know yours?
What is your personal definition of “determination”?
What has successfully helped you develop and/or maintain determination in your own life?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
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