• Tara K. Ross

If I can just...

Have you ever had a moment when you felt you'd arrived? Conquered your fears? Purged your life of all the baggage? Reached all your major goals?

Yeah…me neither. And to be honest, I don't think it'll ever happen.

Before you go thinking I'm a complete kill-joy, let me explain the upside of my fatalistic sounding attitude.

I live in a perpetual state of sticky-note lists, half-read books, and debilitating imposter's syndrome. I never feel like the master of anything, nor a juggler of many small wins. Yet, I hold on to dreams, and keep setting goals. So where does that leave me? With a frequently used, rather unproductive, fill-in-the-blank phrase:

If I can just _______, then I will __________________.

Some examples from the past few month include:

- If I can just survive off of kale and carrot juice for week, my body will be cleansed and acne free!

(Epic fail by the way)

- If I can just land this publishing contract, then I can confidently call myself an author.

(Still quivering at that title)

- If I can just share the title of my young adult novel, then I'll know this is actually happening.

(Will get to this one...keep reading!)

Here's the thing I'm learning. There will always be a just. It is one of our many human flaws to "just". Faulted by pride, jealousy and this weird need to be unique, we as humans can't help ourselves. But guess what happens then? We then find ourselves in a perpetual spiral 'just shy of getting there'.

And where is there exactly? You got me. I have no clue.

We will never feel like we've arrived, because fear, self-doubt, and criticism will tackle us en route. Oh and even if you do get to the magical there, someone will always be further ahead, more successful or less afraid to do what you intend to do. So then what?

Don't do what I did and engulf an entire Godiva chocolate bar in one sitting, right after finishing your cleansing-kale-juicing fast.

Here is a more productive suggestion, arrived at after hours (instead of minutes) of journaling due to a dark chocolate-induced-caffeine high:

Cut out the “if” and “just” and celebrate where you are today and each day.

So, let's try. I am confidently saying instead:

I will eat a well-balanced diet and kick kale to the curb.

I received a publishing contract, and God willing, Illuminate YA(an imprint of LPC) will help me become a published author in Spring 2020.

The title of my young adult novel is Fade to White, and writing it has helped me grow spiritually and psychologically in ways I didn’t even set goals for.

Triple win!

Whew! Feels good to take off some of that If/Just weight. Now I dare you to try.

How can you acknowledge where you are at today and rest in those successes? No If/Just/Then’s attached.

This blog post was supposed to be part of the Five Minute Friday Blogging challenge from last week, but hey, I got it done a week later. It's all good. And now I can officially share my goodreads page with everyone!

Please, if you do nothing else, click here and add "Fade to White" to your to-be-read list. Because this is really going to happen! Squeee! And remember, I'm a broken human in need of a teeny bit of external loving, despite my philosophical attempts otherwise.