A to Z Challenge 2013 – R is for…

~ RANUNCULACEOUS ~

So, you know how dictionaries have a pronunciation key in square brackets next to the word being defined? I decided to look up unusual words for possible blog post themes. This is what they have for ranunculaceous [rəˌnʌŋkjʊˈleɪʃəs]. Thanks, dictionary. So, this word means ‘of, like or pertaining to buttercups.’ First thing I thought was, huh. That just kicked simplicity in the teeth. Then I started to think about buttercups and how when we were kids we’d put them under our chins and our necks would have a buttercuppy glow. I don’t remember the purpose of this task/game/event. If anyone knows, please refresh my muddled memory. My formative years in the UK had quirky highlights. Aside from the buttercup game, we also had a little quail family in our school yard.

As far as tangents go, buttercup necks and quails are pretty off, but it all got me thinking about yesteryear. Then that, in turn, brought me to a more thematically appropriate word that we can discuss for the day:

~ RETROSPECT ~

A more familiar word that allows one to reflect on the past, to reminisce, as it were. Boy, I’m up to four R words already. I’m on a ro–continuous streak.

Are you a dweller? We look back on memories with fondess, endure the pang of heartache and disappointment over mistakes. A double-edged sword, when we retrospect, we anticipate that can of worms to open, old scar tissue torn anew. Emotional wounds as fresh as the day they first happened. Memories have a funny way of creeping up on you. A smell, an image, a sound. As writers, we have an encyclopedia of emotions that can be utilized to build conflict and add depth to any story. As people, it shapes who we are at this particular moment in time. One of my favorite English teachers in high school told us that when he was asked if he could go back and change anything in his past, he said he wouldn’t. I’m sure that people want to forget certain transgressions or downright disasters in their own lives, but what he said made perfect sense.

I look back on everything that’s happened to me in the last year. I expand that to the last five years. Every choice, every decision I made, good, bad, or ugly, has brought me to this point in time now where I am blogging with the online community. While I didn’t always have shining moments, I must say that I could not and should not try to change anything. In fact, painful as some memories might be, we all need to remember what it took to get us where we are today. And if we don’t like where we are right now, we can use the retrospect to see where we went off course (beyond tangents, that is) and focus on working to get back on track. I’m a stronger person today than I was yesterday, than I was five years ago. I’m a better writer, have met and interacted with amazing people in the industry, and I know I’m that much closer to achieving my writing goals. I choose the positive retrospect. All else is folly.

You can choose to mope about the woulda, shoulda, coulda, and then find out that a decade’s vanished and you’ve been on a lateral drift. Or, you can keep moving, keep writing, keep dreaming. My definition of dreaming is ‘flights of fancy tethered to a bullet train.’ You can dream all you want, dream as big as you want, but if those dreams aren’t going to take you anywhere, what’s the point?

Think of what you want to accomplish as of today. Are these goals you’ve had for a long time? How far have you progressed in achieving them? Take that retrospect to assess what you need to plan for the days, months, and years ahead. I get why people have those 5-year and 10-year plans. They’ve got goals and dreams anchored to a tangible and progressive plan.

I have an assignment for you, as much as it is for myself. Think of it as a time capsule or a letter to your future self. If you are so bold, feel free to do this in the comments section or even just for your own edification:

1) List your goals.

2) Track how long you’ve had the goals and your progress to date. (This is expected to have highs and lows.)

3) List any new goals, alternate paths to help you reach your goals or regroup to define a new set.

4) Pick a day some time in the reasonable future. Months, years ahead. Tailor this to the type of goals you set and the variables therein.

5) On that day, spend a little time retrospecting. Do this with a positive mind set. If things work out for the better, that’s great. If some adjustments are needed, it’s important you take ownership for those, as well.

It should be interesting to see what our future selves think about what we’re thinking and doing today. Personally, I can’t wait to get there so I can ask. 🙂

=8=

Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter

a-to-z-letters-r

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