All the Things I Haven’t Done

Categories Life, Self

There is nothing quite as dissatisfying as starting the week off about three four five hours behind schedule.

I’ve been working on this post for about a week. I had such good intention – get it written, review it, schedule it to post ahead of time. Get ahead on my plans. Get ahead on life.

None of that happened.

In fact, there are quite a few things have not happened in my life recently. With just two weeks left in the year, I find myself doing what most of us do around this time – reflecting on the events of the last year. (Good grief…not another reflective end of year post! Yeah, I’m going there.) But I’m not going to gush about all the wonderful things that have happened for me this year. I’m going to tell you about the things that have not been so wonderful. With just two weeks left in the year, But this is no pity party; I’m just taking inventory.

On the subject of blog posts, for example, I had such grand plans. I wanted to get back to posting more frequently, and on a consistent schedule. I did that…sometimes. And then my blog would sit idle for long stretches. So, yeah, that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. There are probably a dozen reasons why, all of which are worth addressing. I posted a lot more fiction, which was a great thing for me. But I posted very little of anything else, and I miss doing those posts. That wasn’t so great. I thought I’d get my new website up and running and really clean up my social media accounts. Still working on all of that. So now I’m looking at how and what I want to post as I move forward.

I intended to get my house super-clean, purge all things unnecessary, sell it ALL at a garage sale, and have my house in perfect order by the start of summer. OK, I settled for the end of the summer. Then the end of summer. OK, the end of the year. Truth? I’m still working on The Great Purge. The house is super-clean and organized sometimes. Other days it’s kind of a mess and only the most important areas get a full-effort cleaning. (We’re not going to talk about the tops of the kitchen cabinets right now.) I’ve purged a lot of junk, but I still have so much left to tackle. We did have a garage sale (and I really hate the damn things). We sold a bunch of stuff and donated a bunch of stuff. Yet somehow my garage is still full of more stuff. I think this is a pretty good indicator that my simplifying project is still very much in process.

I planned to publish the first book in my children’s series by the end of the summer, and a second before the holidays. Book one is still in layout and book two is still in draft. Let’s say the the learning curve on this is much greater than I anticipated. I was convinced I’d have a full working draft of my sci-fi novel by the end of the year. That is very much stuck in the “still writing” stage. I’m pretty happy with what I have so far, but can’t seem to get very far on certain parts of it. I may have figured out why. We’ll see.  My non-fiction project? Shelved for the time being. Across the board, it’s safe to say that my current works-in-progress are still very much exactly that. In progress.

Which brings me to the Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo months. I believe I did the April camp. I did the July camp. I started and just as promptly abandoned the November project. In no NaNo month did I emerge a “winner.” I did learn this, though: While I like the potential camaraderie of the NaNo processes, the method just doesn’t fit my personality. Perhaps it’s time to just let go of feeling that I need to jump in on that party or thinking it will solve my writing stuck-ed-ness.

I had some grand health and fitness goals for the year. I have made great strides toward reaching those goals. But. I only dropped about half as much weight as I had hoped I would. This, of course, is a direct result of not sticking to my exercise routine as well as I could have. I was going to start getting up at 5:00 AM to make sure nothing got in the way of my workouts. Do you know what 5:00 AM looks like? Neither do I! Clearly, that goal was misguided. But still, I’m healthier and in better shape (and smaller jeans) than I was a year ago, so there is that. Still…5:00 AM? Pfft. Whatever.

I wanted to read more this year. I spent a large portion of the last 20 years reading what I had to for school or work and not nearly enough time reading for pleasure or personal growth. So I signed on for the Goodreads challenge and said I would read 100 books. I grabbed the Book Riot Read Harder list and went after that. And there was some other smaller challenge that I can’t quite remember. I think I got about halfway to the goal in each case. Sure, I read more than in the past, but I did not complete any of the challenges.

And the list goes on…

It would be easy to get mired down in all the things I have not accomplished over the last year. But what would be the point? My time and energy is better spent deciding where to go next. I’ve acknowledged that I did not entirely meet the specific goals I set for myself. But I did make progress on all of them. I have done a lot this year, and I am better for all of it. My plan is not to cry in my eggnog over all the things I should’ve/could’ve/haven’t done. Instead, I plan to use this list as a springboard for the next leg of my journey. Looking back over the year and taking stock of what I have and have not accomplished is a good start. Looking at the reasons why things turned out as they did is even better. Were my goals too lofty? Were my efforts too low? Maybe. Maybe not. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals that seem just out of reach. Hey, you never know…

No matter what the answer, I have the information and the power to decide where to go from here. So I’ll be doing that for the next little while. Come back again and see what’s next…


Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

23 thoughts on “All the Things I Haven’t Done

  1. Loved this post. I can definitely relate. And I can’t tell you what 5a.m. looks like but I can tell you 5:30a.m. is also much too early for anything. You’ve made wonderful progress on your goals! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

  2. Lisa, great post, hysterical, and sadly this is all too horribly true for me. I can so relate! I feel much better now, thank you, and I was going to recommend we create the Almost There Club, but who are we kidding? That’s not going to happen! 💞

  3. Hey, can I be a charter member of the Almost There Club, too? Pleaaaase! I have to say that I found this post refreshing, Lisa. It reminded me that I’m not alone in starting things with the very best of intentions and then having them … go a little south … I chose to look at it as at least I started them. And as you say, I have the information and the power to decide where to go from here.

    1. Thanks, Kelly. You absolutely may be in the Almost There Club! 😀
      This was a case of writing what I needed to hear. Starting is huge. And any progress is better than none. Here’s to whatever’s next for all of us!

  4. I say you did fine. At least you had a plan. Me, not so much. I sort of just let life happen. Some stuff gets done and some doesn’t. But then I am officially old, have been for some time so not much bothers me.

    1. Patricia, I would like to be in a place where not much bothers me. Honest truth is that many things do – not necessarily unmet goals, but lots of things. I suspect I will get there one day.

    1. All things in their own time, Charli. Yes!
      And I have also seen 5:00 AM from the other side – far too often, really. I suppose that’s something to work on. 😀

    1. I would love to say I get up at 5AM to work out. But no. 😀 Usually, it’s just inability to sleep and I finally give up. But maybe one of these days, I’ll try the workout thing. It’s just so…early!

      1. BTW – I am so with you on the whole Tag Sale thing. I hate them and and up giving everything away because I lose patience with people haggling over something already marked .25 – I bow down to you for getting through it.

        1. The last time we had a garage sale, I didn’t argue with them one bit. I wanted it out of my house, so if they wanted to pay less than I had it marked, I pretty much said, “OK, it’s yours.” Not everyone agrees with me on that, but I moved my junk!

  5. 5am? Bah humbug to that for sure. Ick. I failed in meeting many of my goals as well (and am determined to have a garage sale this spring). One thing I completely failed at was November Nano. I signed up, got all pumped, read what I had so far and then felt this weird pressure that didn’t feel fun or like what I wanted to do so I never even entered my word count there. I’m not sure if I’m focused on the wrong project or if Nano isn’t the right format for me. Here’s to us keeping on keeping on! Oh and good job on the smaller jeans – mine are, I fear, tighter…

    1. Yeah, 5AM, mostly due to a nasty head cold and an inability to sleep. Boo. Not even like I was enjoying it or being productive. Just trying to breathe!
      We are planning (another) garage sale in the spring. I hate the things, but it’s a fairly easy way to get rid of stuff.
      NaNo. I tried again this year and bailed very early on. I definitely think (after many tries) that it is just not the right approach for me. So I’m giving myself permission to stop feeling like I have to attempt it. That feels good.
      And yes, here’s to keeping on! It’s good friends like you that make that easier. xoxo Happy New Year to all of you!

  6. I think you did pretty well – you had some pretty lofty goals (something I can definitely relate to!). And deciding that the writing approach wasn’t working for you…kudos to you for being okay with that and moving on. Too often we get stuck doing something one way because it is supposed to work.

    Btw – we are friends on Goodreads, which I should have known. I often see your reviews pop up, and I appreciate seeing them when it’s a book I’m thinking of reading.

    1. I am very good at setting lofty goals. I struggle with whether that’s a good thing or not. Reach high, of course, but a little realism is good, too.
      You know, I was on Goodreads today and I saw you go by more than once and thought “yeah, duh, we’re already friends here.” I’ve been lax about actually posting reviews – have only had time to toss up the rating in the last few months. Something I hope to work on this year.

  7. It is always helpful to take stock of such things, I think, in the way you’ve done…honestly, at arm’s length, and with some good eggnog. In my experience, years are often spent falling short of goals…and finding new things along the way. You reminded me of many of my goals this year: writing and reading goals especially on which I fell short. Also exercise goals (but I don’t want to talk about that…). As well as all the surprise things I’d never had imagined this time last year. cheers to 2018! And more missed goals 😉

    1. Well here’s the thing about missed goals, Hillary – at least we can say we’re working toward something, right? Benjamin Franklin talks about that in his Autobiography. Even if not perfect, working toward self improvement leaves us better than we were before, if nothing else. Happy 2019 to you!

Conversation is the best part of blogging. I'd love to hear your thoughts...