I tend to have lots of whys. One of the whys is why I keep trying something new. I start something new with excitement and stop doing it as the excitement vanished and when the new thing began to require more efforts to continue. Then frustration came into play as to why I did or could not complete or master it. I might have learned a thing or two out of the process but the feeling of frustration seemed always bigger. Why do I start things I would quit soon? It has been the question. Especially, where they were optional, unlike college degrees or money for a living. A personality analysis was interesting enough to catch my attention as it partly answers to my why-I-do question. It says, ‘I am a person who was born with energy and whose curiosity is a driving force in life.’ And I believe I have a bit of nomadic blood.
However, I felt the power of continuation by doing the the following.
1. My other blog. I started it on September 2, 2007 to improve writing. Let alone better writing skills, blogging made me realize better writing is not a matter of using big words or beautiful phrases but a matter of requiring profound thoughts with an ability to elaborate them in a logical manner. Through the past four and half years of blogging, I became a thinker, about which I am greatly happy and appreciative.
2. Training for a half marathon. Running was a part of my diet plan in 2008. It occurred to me, ‘Why don’t I go for a half marathon?’ Every year until 2011, I trained for 2-3 months and quit with some excuses, which was worse than not attempting at all as frustration seemed bigger. However, this time 2012, I made it after six months of training. The goal was to finish the half marathon but what I earned was not only a finisher shirt and a medal but a workout habit. The half marathon was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
3. Tennis. I started tennis January 2011, which was to get out of my cave after a quite long-seclusive-couch-potato immigrant life, and I wanted to say ‘I am good at ***’. My usual tennis court is surrounded by trees and small animals like raccoons and armadillos pass by, slowly rustling. Playing tennis surrounded by trees feels great although I can’t avoid one or two mosquito bites per game day. Moreover, I find it very fun playing with people. It will take a while until I will be able to say ‘I am good at tennis’ and require practice and efforts. But I think I will enjoy the process.
4. This blog. Starting this blog was certainly a commitment as a new year’s resolution. As a non-native English speaker who lives in a country whose language is English, I consider English an important element to enjoy life to the fullest. Also, this blog will improve my English, substantially. ‘Post A Day’ is a smart idea but I am suffering somehow. There is no visible reward to post a day but I believe at the end of the 5,000th post (I have a reason for the number.) the reward will be more than I could imagine.
The lessons learned.
1. Enjoy what I do. This is the biggest lesson learned from the above activities. When the Korean blog turned its 3-year anniversary, I noticed the power of continuation. The blog was almost the first hobby that has lasted years in my life, through which I felt I am actually capable of continuing to do something. Why was I able to blog for many years? The answer is simple. I have been enjoying it. As for anything I do – voluntary or not, I learned enjoyment should come first.
2. Live life young. I am a generation whose parents thought that the age of 40 or above is not an age you could initiate a change – especially career, if I dare to say. When my mother was in her forties, I was a teen. In my teen’s eyes, a married woman in that age was supposed to just raise kids well and support her husband. That was almost all. Provided that I was raised in the social context, a change requires a substantial amount of courage and self-assurance. However, the power of continuance gave me confidence that I could make a change if I continue. I am not yet 40 but I am not afraid of getting old. It is actually the other way around. Being mature, life is understood better and initiating a change is getting easier.
3. Be (physically) disciplined. Training for the half marathon was a bit of addiction. The training schedule I found online was a 5-day-a-week plan for 3 months. So I basically repeated it twice. Except Fridays and Sundays and when I had to be out of town, I followed the schedule. Meeting with friends or dinner appointments were not welcome during the period. The training turned out to be a training for life, not only for the half marathon. I am more proud of the fact that I followed the schedule than the actual half marathon. I have some disciplined mind through graduate school, work and translation. However, being physically disciplined has been an all-time challenge. My mind often followed my body’s decision. I used be totally lazy over the weekends. Through the training, I experienced (important!) having my body disciplined is one of the first steps I need to overcome to live a life I want.
4. Realize there is no easy fix for any success. There are the kind of people – easier said than done. In their world, they can do everything by just saying it. That is totally wrong in the real world. One needs a day of effort, training and experience, which will make a difference and lead him/her to a desired success. One’s today definitely speaks the yesterday. Post A Day and daily training were/are often a pain after a long day at work. However, I try to enjoy them and imagine a difference one or two years later, which will bring me the success I look for.