One of my favorite things to do is to get lost.
Ok, maybe that's an over-simplification of things. What I really like to do is to challenge myself to find new places I have never been, places outside of the beaten path. Secret spots, that people might just otherwise drive past during the course of their regular day-to-day lives.
And even now, as an adult, I find myself with those same urges. Having just recently moved to Tennessee, every opportunity to wander away from the confines between home and office is an opportunity to explore and find new things. So, on weekends, like this one, I pull up google maps, generally aim for a large spot of green (parks, recreation areas, forests!) and Rory and I head outward on what I like to call Our Adventures.
This is how Rory and I happened upon the Caney Fork River in Edgar Evins State Park, to the West of Nashville.
And while out on our hike, We ventured off the official trail (As I am prone to do), and headed towards the first body of water I saw, which happened to be an inlet of the Caney Fork River. Looking at the picture, you can see how large and powerful the river is. Strong flowing, wide, and deep. It was gorgeous, even to see the way the river cut it's path through the rock. Impressive right?
I promise, we're getting to the point soon!
Maybe it's because I'm a Pisces, maybe it's because I spent my summers in Northern Michigan on a lake, but I've always felt particularly drawn to bodies of water. (Just don't ask me to swim in them!)
And so it was that Rory and I followed the river up until it formed a pond. And from that bond, the river branched off into two smaller creeks. These creeks were tiny, insignificant things, and I was struck by how these two small creeks could join together to have the impact that the larger river did.
The one creek was narrow and slightly deeper, while the other was broad and shallow. And yet, together, both of these creeks combined to form a body of water so expansive, so powerful, I was nervous to let Rory wade in to it, for fear she might get in over her head.
And that metaphor was particularly relevant at this time of year.
At the start of each new year, we all choose to make resolutions. Promises to ourselves. Goals for us to accomplish. And so often times, these goals are ambitious. They're bigger than we can conceive. Lofty goals, worthy of being attained, and yet...
All too often, we fail to achieve these resolutions.
In fact, failure to follow through on New Year's Resolutions occurs so often it has become cliched.
But what we need to remember, and what these small creeks reminded me, was that no matter how big and scary our final goals may be, is that every single goal, every promise to ourselves can be broken down in to smaller, more manageable, and less intimidating pieces.
But there was no stopping her from hopping back and forth, to and fro across those creeks. She reveled in wading in and out of them. So excited to be splashing about in the water.
Like the river and it's creeks, it's important to remember that no matter how scary or impossible our final goals may be, the steps that lead up to accomplishing that goal are far less scary, and certainly more manageable.
For instance, I recently decided I wanted to run a full marathon this year. And that goal scares me. Twenty six point two miles. YIKES. But I'm not training to go out and run the full thing today. Or tomorrow. But each day, I will take a small step (Ha! Bad puns, sorry.) towards reaching that goal. And those small steps, when combined, will help me become successful.
So that's the moral of the story today. Don't let your big dreams scare you, or intimidate you. Does the task of running a marathon seem intense? Take it one step, one mile at a time. Does the idea of making changes to your diet over the next year seem intimidating? Don't stress about Day 365. Worry about today. Make good choices today. And then tomorrow, worry about that day. And eventually, before you know it, you'll look back and realize how far you've come.
So, while it's only the fourth day of 2014, there's still time. Make good choices today. Repeat that process tomorrow. And eventually those days add up. And it's never too late to start. Because as one of my favorite proverbs goes...
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.