On this eve of 2019 I am reading through my 2018 journal and looking for wisdom heading into 2019.
I found a journal entry where I quote The Full Catastrophe from Laura Pritchett. I met her twice in 2012, once when I interviewed her for a story on her bear book, Great Colorado Bear Stories, and later when she was giving a talk in Grand County. I had been following her for years as a writing mentor. I loved her writing style and admired her perseverance in the publishing industry. She continues to publish novels and nonfiction.
In 2012 she gave a graduation speech and later published it in 5280.
I clipped the article back then and later found it online.
I’m referencing her speech as a guide for my reflective review of 2018.
“Your life will be a catastrophe. It may already be a catastrophe, and perhaps you think it will clear up. Your life will become more and more catastrophic. And every time it looks like it might calm down, it will dive into catastrophe-ness again. I’d like to suggest that is how it should be.”
2018 was a bit of a catastrophe for me but I made it through with the love and support of my parents and friends. I’m going to try for a little less catastrophe and a little more phenomenal achievement in 2019.
“I used to want things to go my way. I wanted to be heading in the direction of calm and quiet. I wanted my house clean, my politicians to work for what I believed, my degree to land me a job. I wanted love to be easy. I wanted to be the great American author. But no. This is not what happens. My point is to try to love the full catastrophe that lies ahead. If your goal is a clean house, you will be boring, and you will be wasting your life. Embrace the mess.”
I do not want to be boring and my house will never be spick-and-span. I signed up for races, arrived at the start and didn’t finish. I don’t want that to happen in 2019. I want to finish everything I start which mean – – – MENTAL TRAINING. What the mind believes, the body achieves. This will be my mantra in 2019. I’ve signed up for a bunch of races in 2019. I will embrace the messiness they will bring to my life.
“Here’s a cliché that strikes me as true: If your heart is in what you do, you’ll probably succeed. If it isn’t, you probably won’t. “
This is a big one. What did I do in 2018 that I wasn’t really into? Triathlon. I should’ve stopped in 2017 or 2016. Now, I’m really done. My heart is in the mountains. My heart is not in cycling on paved roads and swimming endless indoor pool laps. My heart is in dirt and wild places.
“Simple stubbornness can take you a long way. You don’t need smarts or money or wisdom as much as you need stubbornness. When I graduated, I set out to be a writer, and I became a writer not because of any great gifts. No, I became a writer because I am stubborn enough to believe I can do what I want.”
I think this is why I sign up for races. I’m stubborn enough to think that 50 miles or 100 miles is something I can do.
“You will meet failure. Because you are human beings, you are going to find disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought you were strong. You will experience times when you feel very alone and very afraid. Probably you already have, and you will again. I hope you will be able to live there, in the dark place, to embrace it for the full catastrophe it is, and to wait it out. At times, you will be uncertain, which is OK. If you weren’t a little uncertain, I’d be nervous for you.”
Disappointment, injustice, betrayal and irreparable loss – yep that was 2018. The biggest loss – losing Daisy-dog. The other points, I’m going to keep to myself for now. I lived in a dark place and was able to wait it out. Gosh, Laura is so right-on about so many things. I can read her speech over and over.
“We live a full catastrophe, and then we die. That means that, in the meantime, we must be honest and true, raw and real, and honor our fundamental connectedness.”
Come on 2019 – let’s make a new start, reach new goals, make new friends and have a few great adventures.