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In the Scheme of Things


Nan Russell

Mar 11, 2014

The Things We Try

The Things We Try

This is my 133rd "In the Scheme of Things" article for Montana Woman magazine, and it got me thinking about why I continue to write these monthly life reflections columns, and what it means to try to do something one thinks they want to do. Let me explain.

A decade ago I left a successful career on the east coast to return to Montana where I was born in order to fulfill a life dream to work from the mountains I love, and launch a second-stage career as a writer. Despite extensive research into how to be a successful writer, the actual-doing was different from my imagining-of-doing. Like many things, what we think something is like and what it is, aren't the same. And so it was with becoming a writer.

That's why after all this time, I still volunteer to write every month for Montana Woman. It reminds me of the difference between being and becoming. I believe life is about becoming who we are capable of becoming. For me, that means I'll never be a "finished" writer; I'll always be someone striving to improve my craft, enhance my thinking, increase my discipline, and figure out how to help or inspire people along the way.

Fast forward to today. With four non-fiction books published, numerous byline articles, blogs, white papers, and columns under my belt, my original thought to "give it a try" morphed into a personal understanding about making my writing dream happen - Yoda was right: "There is no try." It's all about the doing. And doing means failures, setbacks, rejections, and disappointment, as much as it means persistence, passion, determination, and success.

Yet, not everything we want to experience and learn should be taken with a Yoda philosophy. Not everything we explore or attempt should be viewed as a commitment or a path of no return. Sometimes we should move on, change course, or give up. Sometimes just the trying is the endeavor.

My 7 year old granddaughter just started riding lessons and wants to know when she can learn to jump. The next week her 4 year old sister tried out for a gymnastics team and made it. If they didn't "try" and explore what they're interested in, they might never know what they like or don't like; where their life's talents and passions may lie, and what eventually will, for them, be worth the doing.

In the scheme of things, I've tried lots of things. Some worked out and some didn't. How are you going to know if you want to go for it, or even can, unless you first try? But, trying isn't the same as committing. Only when we become vulnerable enough to step forward, to commit to our dreams, aspirations, or goals does trying stop and doing begin. Only then, do our dreams happen.

I've learned that while wishing and hoping makes you a dreamer; acting and doing makes you someone who can turn your dreams into reality. When it comes to life-dreams and aspirations, I think 20th-century operatic star, Beverly Sills was right when she said, "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."

Nan S. Russell - Gellatio.png
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