Dictionary Challenge Weeks 43-44: If You’re Thinking of Quitting

A change happens when you can see the end in sight. You stand a little taller as the burden lessens and the sun shines a little brighter – well, that’s probably just because the winter solstice has come and gone – either way, you can finally, after all those miles, see the finish line. In a way, it’s a bit of a tease because that checkered flag is still just a dot on the horizon. Except now it finally feels attainable. Which is something it had never been before even though you’ve been doing the leg work for so long.

You may not have even had the confidence that you could do it – I didn’t – but you waded in, blind, one step at a time – one page at a time – and felt the surety of failure, felt the impossibility of the task before you as you began. And for some unknown reason you kept going. For every setback, you worked harder. For every sacrifice, you kept at it. For every day that passed, you became more than you were the day before. The hardest challenges are the ones that take a long time. They’re the ones that you have to commit to seeing through to the end even when you don’t see the results, even when it feels like you’re failing, even when it seems pointless. Because the results will come, the wins will accumulate, and it won’t seem pointless anymore.

The time will passSo many times it’s easy to fall behind or slip-up and think that it’s all over. But you shouldn’t do that. You should not demand absolute perfection. It’s not realistic and it will stop you from getting where you want to go. You’re allowed to make mistakes so long as you don’t quit. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading the dictionary or getting into shape or becoming a vegetarian. No one makes the rules but you. So live the life you want. Take on something big and see it through. You’ll fail a lot along the way, you will be discouraged, you will think you don’t have what it takes.

But you do.

Finishing the race isn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is continuing when all you want to do is quit. The hardest part is suffering a setback and showing up the very next day, the very next instant, the very next chance you get. The hardest part has always been and will always be what you do to keep moving forward when it seems like everything else is going backwards.

So show up. Show up every day. And if one day you don’t – make damn sure you show up the next day.

I have 8 weeks left in my year-long race. 8 weeks and 275 pages to go. I am still behind by 10 pages, but today is the first day that I felt like I’m going to win. 310 days is a long time to feel like a failure, but the tides are turning. The tides are turning indeed.

And when they do, I will be a giant.

Well, feel like one anyways.

Weeks 43-44 Stats

Starting Word: side arm                                 Ending Word: streetwise

Total Pages: 1540/1815                                  Ahead/Behind: -10

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Dictionary Challenge Week 20: All Good Things Come to an End

In the wise words of Nelly Furtado… all good things come to an end. So, I included a little video below so you can hear Nelly Furtado elaborate on this a little bit. Go ahead. Press play.

Now scratch the part about lovers and friends. Why? Because I never loved Bertie The Behemoth (which is what I have decided to name my hulking companion) and we are not friends despite this constant companionship. And also, the “good thing that is coming to an end” isn’t Bertie The Behemoth, but my once glorious comeback about demolishing her.

Yup. I have not broken even yet, but over the last 8 weeks I have been steadfastly digging myself out of the egregious hole I had dug for myself with this challenge (that being the attempt to read the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in under a year by keeping a schedule of reading 35 pages a week, which I had fallen pitifully behind on.)

That’s two months. And I have to bite, claw and fight every inch of the way back to par. This week the comeback stopped. I really tried to fight to keep the comeback going, but I have to be honest… I’m tired.

I’m really, really tired.

Do I stop? Do I just walk away and pretend I never tried at all?

I could.

And some days I really consider it. Some days I want to quit. Some days I want to light a match and watch The Behemoth go up in flames. (And book burning is something I do not take lightly at all…)

But then the sun rises again, I pour a cup of coffee, and I crack open The Behemoth. Some days I win, some days I lose, but all I can do is take each loss and each win and stack them up day by day until I reach the end. It is, after all, up to me whether I make it to the end at all. And when or if I do, I’m not so sure how I’ve been defining success and failure is going to be quite right.

And speaking of defining…

Clearly the challenge itself is always on my mind, so I have found that many of the words that jump out at me and I end up scribbling down are related to the experience or how I feel about myself during this challenge. As in.. I consider myself a fantast with a fighting chance despite my false start at the beginning of this fandangle in which I am trying to fight the good fight and avoid a fiasco… but maybe I’m just a fanatic who is trying to avoid a facile way of living and in doing so made an unfortunate faux pas.

But I guess not everything is about me. Right?

Fantast – a visionary; a dreamer

Fighting chance – an opportunity of succeeding by great effort

False start – an unsuccessful attempt to begin something

Fandangle – (in sense 2) nonsense, tomfoolery

Fight the good fight – act with strong commitment to a worthy cause

Fiasco – a complete and utter failure

Fanatic – (in sense 1) a person filled with excessive and often misguided enthusiasm for something

Facile – (in sense 1 a) easily obtained or achieved and so not highly valued

Faux pas – (in sense 1) a tactless mistake; a blunder

This week I also came across a few quite powerful words. Fie being one of them. It comes from Old French from Latin and is an exclamation of disgust at a stench. That right there is powerful. Because you don’t use the word stench lightly. You could use fetid or fetor and they both relatively mean something stinky. But when you whip out the big guns and say “stench” you know that is an utterly devastating smell. Plus, fie is such a hard, short word…. I can’t wait for someone to fart so I can raise my fist to the heavens and shout an impassioned FIE!

But back to fetor. That’s also kind of a fun definition, that definition being “an offensive smell.” So it’s a bit more than just stinky. It’s offensive. Just picture yourself letting a big one rip right by a high society lady who instantly becomes offended by your fetor and curses discreetly under her breath… “fie.”

Because it’s unbecoming to use actual curse words. And to shout.

Ah. Okay, enough of this fible-fable (nonsense). Find me on facebook or twitter  or subscribe over to the right of this page to follow along as I keep trying to fight the good fight… for the moment.

Week 20 Stats

Starting Word: F                   Ending Word: fighting fish

Total Pages: 551/1815         Ahead/Behind: -154