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Acknowledging Unexpected Achievements

The only constant in life is change.


Life is always changing. The views that we see change. The way life is now is not what it looked like a year or even six months ago. Even in a time when there hasn’t been a pandemic taking up our year, life is constantly cycling. What happens when we look at our life and instead of seeing what we’ve accomplished, all we can see is what we haven’t?

In the terms of motherhood, I had absolutely planned to have Isbe weaned by this summer. I had even made a deal with my BFF that if Isbe was completely weaned by the end of the summer, my BFF and I would take a girl’s weekend and drive down to the beach. Let me tell you, Isbe is not weaned. We are still on step one of my wean plan. However, we recently made the transition from toddler bed to big girl bed. I only cried over it once–while I was putting her new bedsheets on.

This summer, we finally got a fence put up. I can now let Ade go into the backyard to play by himself without worrying (though we do check in on him regularly). He’s been begging to be able to go play outside by himself for awhile. Now he can. Maybe that’ll be a good balance since I made the difficult decision of not returning to our dance studio this fall.

The accomplishments I write down are not always ones from my bucket list

Personally, I still have a “bucket list” with way too many things unchecked. I have new dreams and old wants crop up in my head almost every day. It’s hard sometimes to examine those things because I so easily feel like I haven’t accomplished anything in my life. When those feelings hit, I have to sit down and make a list of all the things I have accomplished. The accomplishments I write down are not always ones from my bucket list, sometimes they are the things that happened unexpectedly.

I think we can all agree that this has been a hard year. For some it has been harder than for others, but everyone has been affected in some way by the pandemic that has swept the globe. Plans were cancelled. Families were separated. Some people lost jobs. Some people lost someone they love. Some people found life disrupted in a simple trip to the grocery store. It’d be easy to just scratch this year off as a waste. Instead, give it another look.

In some way or part, we discovered what we really want.

Were there any good changes that happened due to the bad? Did you accomplish something you’d been putting off or never found time for? Did you find a new balance for yourself and your family? Was there a reconnection in your life with someone? Maybe we didn’t get to go to that concert, instead we had more dance parties with our family in our living room.

Maybe, instead of looking at this year like it was a waste, we should all examine it and realize that, in some way or part, we discovered what we really want. The kind of life we’d really like to have. Yeah life changed, but doesn’t it always?

It’s those unexpected adventures that are the most fulfilling.

Sometimes we have to stop staring at the unchecked spaces and remember the ones that are already checked off. Work toward your dreams but remember that life changes, we change. We have to be open to the unexpected or we’re going to eventually look back and realize all the adventures we missed. Which would be a shame because sometimes it’s those unexpected adventures that are the most fulfilling.

In this year, I hope you and those close to you have remained safe. I hope you haven’t missed the unexpected adventures or think yourself a failure because of all that you didn’t get to do. I hope you’ve been fulfilled and the connections around you have been made stronger, even if a “social distance” has been required. I hope new dreams and adventures have replaced those that you weren’t able to accomplish. I hope you still find beauty and meaning even when, especially when, you’re feeling like you haven’t achieved anything.

The road in life is never straight. It curves and winds and the next achievement on our list may be a ways off. That doesn’t mean we haven’t accomplished anything, it just means we’ve accomplished far more than we anticipated. Be sure to remember and acknowledge all that you have achieved, even the unexpected.

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