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

Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 14: Going With the Flow

I’m on a boat with no paddles and the current is taking me ever further along the winding river of mental training. There will be bumps along the bank, and there will be rapids that will make the goings rough, and there will always be an ever-present possibility of capsizing. Such is the way that the river runs.

And yet, it’s becoming seamless. I don’t need paddles. The river itself is taking me where I need to go. I’ve committed myself to this river. I’ve committed myself to seeing this challenge through to the end. Every mile is another mushroom and I collect them like tokens that unlock a piece of the mental stranglehold my food aversion holds over me. Just the act – the process – of putting one foot in front of the other, of rising to the challenge each day and putting it behind me is making it easier.

Lego SantaFor the eating of today’s mushrooms, I was in public. I knew it was a risk. I could end up making a scene. I could end up vomiting over my co-workers dinners. I could ruin Christmas. I knew this was all a possibility. I also knew that it was a slight possibility. The only mushrooms being served were fresh, whole, uncooked white mushrooms. The fear rose up as I stabbed my fork into the first one. No one is watching. Don’t wrinkle up your face. Don’t give it away. I bite into it. I’m focusing. This has to go well.

The mushroom doesn’t seem to be made of rubber. Instead, it is surprisingly easy to eat. It tastes earthy instead of dirty; the texture is interesting instead of vomit-inducing; it seems almost juicy in a fresh sort of way instead of a fungus-secretion kind of way. I eat them all easier than many of the previous days and I can’t help but wonder if it is really happening… if I am actually doing this, if my brain is being rewired and success, all of a sudden, seems possible. As if it’s not just about tolerating the mushroom and controlling my gag reflex, but that I might actually want to eat mushrooms.

But then I think of the pan of simmering, saucy shrooms and I grimace inwardly. Today was an easier day. Tomorrow may not be. I am still a work in progress and the way the mushrooms are prepared plays a very important role in how I engage with them. Nevertheless, it’s starting to seem that the current itself is carrying me along and I’m just going with the flow.

Today’s Fungus Feast:

Whole, Uncooked White Mushrooms

Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 8: Game Changer! (VIDEO)

I found myself saying some unexpected things today with the Portobello mushroom fries. Perhaps my love of finger foods won out; perhaps Portobello mushrooms are just a better mushroom, or… perhaps I am just growing up…

This was the best meal I’ve had so far (mushroom-wise) so I think it’s worthy of some recipe sharing. If you want to make them yourself, click here for the link. And if you’ve never used panko before… now is the perfect time to right that wrong.


Today’s Fungus Feast:

Portobello Fries: Portobello mushrooms, flour, panko, parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, red pepper flakes, pepper, and eggs