I recently found an old journal entry that I wrote when I was 25. In this journal entry, I listed 20 things I wanted to accomplish before 30. The list is funny because it's overly ambitious (which is me in a nutshell). In five years, I had wanted to have two bestselling books, shoot a documentary, become a model, set up a scholarship, be a board member, go to the World Cup in Brazil, finish a PhD program, finish all my unfinished projects, and more.
Wow, talk about trying to do too much. Now, have I accomplished all these goals? It depends on how you look at it. I haven't shot a documentary, but I'm featured in one. I'm not a model, but I was someone's muse for their photography portfolio. I didn't set up a scholarship, but I did help with funding a business. I didn't go to the World Cup in Brazil, but I did get to go to Brazil, and in May at 34, I'll finish a PhD program. And as for those unfinished projects; I'm still working on them.
I'm reflecting a lot these days. Usually it's during my journaling time. I often wonder where am I going, but I forget to pause and recognize how far I've come. Last year in January, I was extremely depressed and just wanted to quit my PhD program and I felt like I didn't have the talent to accomplish any of my aspirations.
I've always wanted to write a book and nearly 10 years later, not one book is published. After wallowing in self-pity, I picked myself up and thought about how narrowly I defined progress or accomplishments. For example, I narrowly defined a writer as someone who writes 300 page novels. I forgot that writers also pen short stories, essays, novellas, flash fiction, poetry, and even blog posts. Wait, does that mean I am a writer? It dawned on me, that yes, I am a writer and I can write a book. I just need to broaden my definition.
With all my half-finished books, I would get to about page 50 and couldn't continue. I would feel disappointed that yet another book was incomplete. But now, I realize that I'm not a novelist and that is okay. I actually have been writing books this entire time, but they were short stories and essays. I realized that if I collected all those stories and put them into themes then I would have a book. Look at that, I am a writer; just an unpublished writer.
I wanted to share that anecdote with you because I think it is easy to look at life through a narrow lens. We forget that we have accomplished and can accomplish a lot if we just expand our outlook. Take some time out to reflect on things that you may be narrowly defining. You might be surprised at the revelations.
1. On February 13, 2009, I wrote and shared my first blog post. Unfortunately, I deleted all my old blogs (that's a story for another day), but I do have some of my writings in notebooks and stored in various places. Yesterday, I found my first blog post and thought I would share it with you. It's a poem; enjoy.
Big Bang by Lisa-Marie Pierre
Really Big Bang
Release much fury
Beginning of Universe
Created. Spreading. Developing
Dust, nebula, star, sun, moon
Realization life has been created
Really Big Bang
Stunned, awe, dazed
Big Bang begins life truly?
Planets formed begins life truly?
Sitting, shifting, resting
2. On January 24, 2019, I facilitated my first workshop training. It was based on the Intellectual Will. This workshop took place at Michigan State University in front of 12 PhD students and postdocs. There were some who were unable to attend the workshop and requested that I record it. Last weekend, I took some time out to record and post it on YouTube. Let me know what you think.
3. On October 1, 2021, I released my first guided journal called the Intellectual Will: A guided journal for self-discovery in uncertain place.