Hills to Climb in the New Year


Several years ago, I visited a friend in San Francisco for New Year’s. At one point, we had to walk up a very long, very steep hill (is there any other kind of hill in San Francisco?) on our way from China Town to Nob Hill. Suffering as I was, my friend said encouragingly, “it’s just one more block.” But then we got to the end of the block and she said, “oh, sorry, just one more block.” She did this several times, until, exasperated, I said something rude about her knowledge of San Francisco geography. She then admitted that she had known all along that we didn’t have “just one more block” to go, but she figured I would be more motivated to keep going if I thought we were nearly there. As annoying as it was, I had to admit, she had a point.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s, holiday-wise. Aside from the fact that it’s challenging for this Morning Bird to stay up past midnight, all the year-end reflection on what’s happened in the last twelve months tends to make me reflect on all that didn’t happen. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I set goals for myself and I inevitably form some expectations about what I want to accomplish in the coming year. And if the goals don’t quite come to fruition, well, New Year’s is the holiday to remind you of how you came up short.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been thinking lately about what I accomplished in 2015. And I realized that if I had to sum up Mockingbird’s year in one Big Lesson Learned, it would be this: When you’re starting out, everything takes longer than you think it will. Much longer. I feel like I always have “just one more block” before things take off. It’s maddening. But I also suspect that if I could see the full length of the hill ahead of me, it would stop me in my tracks.

Since regrets are no way to start a new year, I’m going to attempt to shake them off with my new goals for 2016: to let go of everything that did or didn’t happen, and focus on the present and the future instead. And above all, to keep marching ahead, just one more block at a time.

The view from the top – whenever I get there – will be grand.


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