Dylan Jack James
Looking back at the past year, I ask myself:
- What have I accomplished?
- How did I accomplish it?
- Was it difficult?
- How did I forge through it?
These questions all have answers that bear pondering.
In 2023, I accomplished these amazing achievements:
- I was asked to be a contributing writer to an author’s book. I said, “Yes!”
- I was given the opportunity to write for the Legacy Magazine. Again, yes!
- I was a winner in a writing contest.
- I had an article published in a newspaper.
Some serious health issues crept up on me during the height of my writing. Yet I pressed on, taking care of those and continuing to write despite the physical pain and exhaustion I was experiencing. A good part of this was due to my positive attitude. I persevered in spite of it all.
I burned the candle at both ends, not seeing the full fruit of my labors. I kept my focus on moving forward. Like a horse with blinders, I could only look ahead. I was determined to succeed! Part of the reason for my success was looking at what didn’t serve me anymore and removing those situations from my life. It’s hard to let go of familiar people, places and things, but life doesn’t change unless you change it. “Staying stagnant” according to vocabulary.com is “not growing or changing; without force or vitality.”
I had to force myself to remove the situations that hindered my progress. Emotionally, this was extremely difficult. It also led to a year of isolation for me.
This quote, from 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, which George Washington copied by hand as a penmanship exercise, came to my mind often in 2023:
“It is better to be alone than to be in bad company.”
I recall, as a teenager, how much I needed alone time. I was always a lone wolf and, in between hanging out with friends, I would disappear for days on end. So, this is nothing new to me, but it didn’t make it any less difficult this past year due to the isolation I felt. Yet, the isolation gave me time to focus on health and my writing career without the former encumbrances that hindered me.
As I look back at 2023 and ponder my questions, I can honestly say that despite setbacks, this year was the most productive and best year of my life!
The universe dropped opportunities into my lap I never expected and some I sought out. I worked hard to bring everything to fruition. Jon Jones said, “The fruits of your labor will bear the fruits of your success.” I watched the fruits of my labor unfold one by one, in succession. Like a row of dominoes falling, they fell right into place.
The stoic Marcus Aurelius offers us these wise words:
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things that I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
In 2023, I chose what I was born for and left the warm blanket of comfort behind.
In 2024, I’ll accomplish even more, grabbing my purpose by the horns and running into my future with gusto.