You'll have to excuse me for a moment while I pat myself on the back. This morning it occurred to me that this has been a pretty big year for our family and for me. It's not only that it's been a big year in general, but it's also been pretty big for accomplishing amazing things.
At this time last year I was building a house. A house. Actually, it was nine houses and I was assigned to the team putting up interior and exterior walls. And I was doing it while pregnant. It would have been around this time last year that I finished lifting walls and moved on to interior paint prep. Let me tell you, those exterior walls are heavy beasts. It probably wasn't a good idea to be lifting walls like I was, but I was motivated to finish and determined not to let pregnancy slow me down. Working on the house was seven months of hard work. I spent 21 hours per week on the job site. Before we started they told us it would be the hardest thing we'd ever done. While it was certainly difficult, it wasn't the hardest thing I've ever done. Maybe we're just lucky. Or unlucky...however that works.
Six months ago I gave birth to Quintin without my beloved epidural. It wasn't ever something I really wanted to do. I'd always been curious about it, but drug-free birth is not something I would say I ever really wanted to experience. We had no money, so I pushed (get it?) through the pain to save us that particular expense. It was hard. Holy crap was it hard! Thankfully it was over with in about 14 or so hours.
Two days ago I ran my first 5K. I say first because Eric and I will be running the Zombie Chase in a couple of weeks. Anyway, I ran in the BYU Homecoming Cougar Run. I spent time training for it to get myself ready. I'm not a runner. It was hard. I'm still feeling it.
So now I get to my actual point. After these hard things I'm feeling pretty confident about myself and what I can accomplish. With each and every one of the hard things I've done this past year, as well as in the rest of my life, there were times I thought I couldn't do it or wanted to quit. Did I enjoy these experiences? Yes and no. I don't like to run, so training for and running the race wasn't my favorite. And unmedicated childbirth? Oh yes, I'd love to be in labor every day. Sure. Building the house actually wasn't too bad, but I hated losing all my evenings and weekends and leaving my kids for seven months. So while it's difficult to test your own limits, it's exciting to see that those limits are further than you thought. The important thing is to not give up. Doing hard things is how we grow and progress. While it would be easy to exist in one's own comfort zone it would be terribly stagnant. And stagnant people are boring.
So get out there and do something hard. It doesn't always feel nice to break out of a comfort zone. It does, however, feel great to be free of self-imposed limitations. You may not always succeed (ex: Me+water skiing=bad idea. I know; I've tried. A lot.), but you never know until you give it an honest shot.
To close, here's a poem my eighth grade English teacher made us memorize. That wasn't easy for me either, but I did it. ;)
The Man Who Thinks He Can
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't
If you think you'll lose, you're lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will;
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.