Remember the wins: it’s a nice, buzzy little statement that keeps circulating this year. Likely because we’ve all suffered plenty of losses. A couple of my personal failures include not making even one sourdough starter, for example, and I definitely haven’t written a screenplay.
In fact, I’m sitting here at my husband’s desk in his office. I’m wearing a giant sweatshirt my sister brought me from her college in 2004, and sweats that I bought at a thrift shop that make me insanely happy because they actually fit and aren’t hand-me-downs. See, when you have sisters, you pass stuff around. At any given time, like, if someone asked me on the red carpet that only exists in my mind who I was wearing, I’d say “My sisters.”
It’s a little cluttered in here because our house is in a state of flux. I feel a little guilty using Josh’s desk, and office, but my office is actually going to be our pantry and we’re just not prepared to do that because we’re waiting for our dryer to finish its final cycle: of death. It seems inhumane when I write it out like that, and many of you are thinking “why don’t they just put it down?” and to that I say IT’S NOT THAT EASY YOU GUYS. THIS DRYER HAS BEEN PART OF OUR FAMILY LONGER THAN I HAVE AND SOMETIMES HE HAS A GOOD DAY.
I digress. Oh wait, one more digression. My tongue is blue from a candy cane bender I went on last night. That’s right: I blue myself. And it won’t come off, so I obviously just live like this now.
But next to me is a delicious yellow legal pad that’s almost totally blank, save for the small list of goals I want to achieve today. (Pro tip: when making a list of things to do, write one on there you’ve already done so you don’t feel like a massive sobbing failure ten hours from now.) It’s a short list, but not as short as the one I had yesterday: finish my website.
See, I want to have a website that showcases what I actually do, which is write. And I wanted it to have actual pages, and go into my experience writing, and list what I have done. Then, why not throw in some testimonials from people who can attest that I can do the thing I’m telling my website viewers I can do.
One of the things that is NOT on that list of things I can do is build websites. For the past two months, I’ve been perpetually messaging support, learning simple graphics, changing and re-changing layouts, and stress-chewing gum because I don’t smoke. I’ve spent money with website creation people, almost scrapped it all to spend more money with different website creation people, and solidified my already-pretty-confident opinion that people who build websites are gods.
And through it all, my three favorite poems have been running through my head on a loop: Don’t Quit, If, and Guest House. Check them out if you have a minute; you won’t be sorry (unless you hate feeling better about yourself).
Back to the candy. So after a night of crunching the ‘canes in frustration because WHY CAN’T I FORMAT EVEN ONE PAGE, I woke up this morning clear-headed. I found the setting to widen the margins almost immediately, and…done. Holy shit you guys, my website is DONE. Well, it’s done in a way that means I will perpetually mess with it, but the bones are there. And the dream I’ve had forever, to write as a career, is happening.
And yet all I can think about is the candy canes and how generally yucky I feel and why don’t I have any self-control?
I think that’s why remembering the wins is so hard. Most of us have so much internal critical dialogue. We’re either living in the past, wondering why we did that thing we did that led us to this moment. Or we’re living in the future, wondering if we’ll get that job or how can we get to this point or how will we come up with this money or what if we can’t have a baby or what if we never find love or SHIT I HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE I HATE IT.
And the wins are quietly forgotten.
They shouldn’t be. Which brings me back to my point. No matter what’s on your to-do list (and I hope you get them all crossed off, man, I really do), add one minute to breathe in and focus on the present. And in that minute, think of the things that are going right. This can be as simple as “I have all five senses” – one of my favorites on bad days – or “my dog loves me.” And then just soak in that feeling. If you do that for a minute every day (I do it when I wake up), you become ever-more-mindful of how great life is. You’ll start to remember the wins as much as the losses, and then…more than the losses.
And you deserve that, because you’re really great.
My recommendations for guides are the ReWi app. (I’ve mentioned this before, it’s from Laurie Santos’ The Happiness Lab podcast and has been super helpful.) But also, a good old-fashioned pen and paper works wonders as well. Sometimes it sinks in more to write it and look at it.
We’ll be revisiting this regularly, because I want to check in on you guys and see how you’re doing. We all need someone to lean on, after all. I think that might have been a song? Who can remember.
I hope you enjoy the new site! Take a moment, look around. Reach out if you have questions or need help with a project yourself. I’m always available.
And I believe in you, always. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go scrape my tongue again.