I was looking at my journal the other day, and noticed that for New Year’s resolutions for 2012, I had just crossed out 2011 and put the new year. In 2013, I could have done the same, with only one item crossed out.

I am not where I thought I would be. It started with thinking about the remodel, but then it spread. I was going to have the front of the house totally done by now, and the foundation work and yard, too. I was going to be a lawyer by 28. I was going to be thinner by now. I was going to have a plan for retirement that didn’t involve prayer and lottery tickets. I was going to be successful in ways I couldn’t quite define but definitely haven’t achieved.

In short, there was an end point that keeps moving. I think it always does. I think it always will. Just when I have a solid project plan for the front of the house, the plumbing leaks in the back. Just when I think I know what happiness looks like, life throws a curve. I am not the first to say it: the journey is the thing.

I look around the house and see all the little things I have done. I didn’t do the big foundation repair, but the trim in my new office is perfect. I haven’t redone the bathroom, but the back porch is such an improvement, and was good for neighbor relations as well. What was the driveway and shoddy lawn is becoming a beautiful garden with winding paths and plantings, and makes me happy every time I walk in the gate. The slightly sagging….no, no, that isn’t the point. I have done a lot. Just not everything.

I didn’t become a lawyer; I let go of that long before even applying to law schools.  I have waffled amongst a number of careers. I am divorced. I am not at any personal or professional pinnacle. But I am in the midst of the biggest and most important challenge: learning to be gentle with myself. Learning that not doing everything on time and perfect can be fine. Great, in fact. I am learning to accept help, even ask for it once in awhile, and to be genuinely grateful for what I have and have accomplished; meeting myself and my relationships in the here and now.

I looked back at the resolution list and found under my life goals: “Balance”.  In 2014, I will cross out the year and keep going on the list. The same list, for the most part. Because it is about the journey, inching along toward the unattainable, celebrating the progress and acknowledging and moving past the setbacks. And, hey, I finished the window trim. Who knows what could happen next?