by Christy Gualtieri
Not too long ago, someone asked me how I was holding up after my mom’s passing in January. I told her I was doing all right. She herself had lost her father not a year earlier, and we sympathized with all that it took to walk through the grieving process while still needing to care for young children. At the end of our conversation, she complimented me on how I was doing it all, and as I returned the sentiment, I thought about what that really meant.
So often in our lives, we do the seemingly impossible – the things we think we “could never do.” I have a friend who published her first novel (a great one!) last year. And I’ve thought to myself so many times, Oh, I could never do that! Another friend just ran the Pittsburgh Marathon yesterday. Oh, I could never do that! Two friends of mine are welcoming their fifth children into their families this year. Oh, I definitely could never do that! Even something seemingly simple: braving Mother’s Day for the first time without my mother. Oh, I think so often. I could never do that. Let your mind rest on all the things you think you “could never do.”
But you can, you see. If you need to do that, you will. You will find a way.
Tina Fey, the writer/director/actress/mother/wife, has a great quote about this. “You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible – oh, this is impossible. And then you just keep going and keep going, and then you sort of do the impossible.”
Let’s do an exercise. Take a sheet of paper or open a new document on your laptop. (This will only take a second.) Write down the first five things you’ve always wanted to do that have seemed incredibly impossible to you. Don’t be afraid to dream as big as possible. Once you have your five things, just look at them. It might seem scary at first, because you’ll probably start hearing your inner voices telling you won’t ever be able to do these things, but just ignore that voice for now. Then, under each one, write the smallest possible thing you can reasonably do to work toward that goal.
For example: if I have the goal of traveling to Europe, but it’s not in my budget right now (or in the next large chunk of years), it would be easy for me to say that it’s impossible. But I can write down the smallest possible thing I can do to get there: I can think of something I would spend money on that I don’t really need – something I just want – and save that money. Doesn’t matter if it’s a quarter. I can put that quarter in an envelope, write the words “Funds for Europe Trip” on it, and can honestly say I’m saving up to go to Europe. Now, all of a sudden, the trip doesn’t look impossible. It doesn’t look like it’ll happen tomorrow, but notice the shift I can have in my attitude now.
And you can apply it to anything. You can do the hard things.
Just this morning, I was driving to the store and a robin was walking in the street just about to cross before my car. The little bird saw me coming, and sped up, its little bird legs a blur as it tried in vain to reach its destination before I got to it. I slowed down the car and rolled my eyes.
“You have wings, dude!” I called to it. “Did you forget?”
And so it goes with us. We have wings, even if we forget they’re there. We can do the impossible – the ability is within us. Let’s look for ways to find encouragement, support, and the best way to reach our goals.
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!