In my twenties I read every self-help book I could lay my hands on. This included classics like Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking, James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh and the lesser known but equally worthy Florence Scovel Shinn’s The Game of Life. I was hungry for knowledge, especially any so called ‘secret’ knowledge that would get me promoted quicker or married sooner or making millions. The problem was I was going to scale mountains, this included Mt. Everest, in my twenties. I was going to own my own house and I was going to be married by the time I was thirty and it was all going to happen because I had a vision board on a wall of my small apartment bedroom.
It certainly didn’t help that I was a lazy cow or that I thought that if I stared long enough at Brad Pitt he would call or that the dollars would translate into lottery millions. He didn’t and I didn’t win the lottery. Well, not yet.
I still plan on achieving certain S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals that, back then in my twenties, were certainly S.M.A.R.T. Not so much now. Like, living with a jungle tribe in the Amazon or learning how to touch my head with my feet while doing a handstand in yoga (known as the Handstand Scorpion).
In order to achieve anything of substance you have to actually go for it and you have to work for it. And work hard. And you have to do things you probably never imagined you would have to do like wait on tables or clean other peoples’ houses or run errands for your boss. And it’s all good. Because experience builds character and what writer (with perhaps the exception of Emily Dickinson) could not do with more experiences?