Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Limitless...Mostly. by Joy Preble

LIMITLESS is the title of a picture book/gift-type book by Leah Tenari that we sold a bunch of at the bookstore this holiday season. It's a compilation of little bios and lovely drawings of 24 remarkable American women -- ranging from Sojourner Truth to Abby Wambach and a bunch of others in between. It's a fabulous, inspiring book. The basic message? We are, as women and humans, limitless in what we aspire to. We should aim high. Dream big. Don't accept constraints place on us by those who don't believe we can follow our aspirations to the stars.

I believe this. I talk a lot about how I believe this. How you are never too old or too young to follow your dreams. It's how I moved from woman who taught high school English every day and secretly wanted to be a writer to woman who has 7 plus books on shelves and hopefully more on the way. I'm the poster girl for limitless some days-- those moments I have to pinch myself to believe that I am now a person who speaks at conferences and teaches workshops to adults on writing and has actual reader fans who tell me lovely things about my work. My world has broadened exponentially since I decided not to place limits on my dreams. I am lucky and fortunate in so many ways.

But. Here's the thing.

Sometimes, limits are okay.

Sometimes you can only do so much in the hours in each day and sometimes life--jobs, health, family, just plain old exhaustion--gets in the way.

As it seems it was for lots of us, 2018 was a rough year. I was not as productive as I wanted to be, and yet when I go over what I did accomplish this year, the truth is that I was as productive as I could be given all the other things that had to take precedence. 

So. Here's what I think this morning as I realize that maybe the stretch of those limits is why this post is a day late and you, dear readers, were supposed to be pondering it yesterday:

Sometimes we need limits. Sometimes we need to say Hey. I'm pushing too hard. It will get done when it gets done or at least I will take on fewer things that need to get done. I will occasionally walk the dog without revising a chapter in my head and I will not feel like a slacker when I don't get up at 5 am to write but instead get up at 5 am because I like getting up early and this morning I am going to make 3 dozen muffins for a writing retreat and the pages will get done tomorrow. I will close my ears to the endless publishing noise of BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS and I will announce that today I have limited myself to the announcement that yes, I took out an hour to catch up with Outlander and have duly watched Roger Mac get into all sorts of trouble and woes and dear, handsome Jamie Fraser make some monumental errors in judgment. I have gone to the day job and written less than I want to and taken time to cook this really amazing turkey cutlet dish with lemons and capers. I have declared that enough.

Sometimes we need to limit our pace. Resist the impulse to post our word counts and the list of places we are going and the many, many things we will absolutely get done this year because in listing them we convince ourselves that setting no limits makes us somehow more worthy.

And okay, yes, this weekend, I am going to finish this book, finally, months after I thought I would.
But right now, I'm watching the dog curl up on the rug in just the right patch of winter sunlight.
And pressing publish on this post.


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