I have calluses on my hands as I write this. You see, I’m not accustomed to picking up a screwdriver and assembling furniture–several screwdrivers, in fact. This flat-pack was particularly stubborn. It had 32 pieces and more than 80 nails. I think that’s challenging even for a pro.
Never Say Never
My hands may be sore and throbbing but there is a smile wider than the Watford Gap on my face. I’m getting good–very good–at proving people wrong (especially myself) and I like it.
If you’ve ever stumbled across this blog you’ll know I’m used to people thinking I can’t do things–and how much I relish proving them wrong.
Last year, I took my two loud, raucous and unruly infants around the world alone. I somehow navigated the chaotic and lawless streets of Indonesia. I manhandled a screaming infant on my lap with pure brute force as he scratched, kicked, bit, and tried to destroy the plane.
I stayed by my daughter’s side while she had pneumonia (and while looking after my son).
And I surfed some damn big waves.
None of it was easy.
But every single moment was pure, raw, memorable–and entirely worth it.
Why haven’t I written since then?
Well, I work as a writer. I create so many words a day that my eyes feel blinded by the screen. The industry I chose to report on never sleeps (therefore, neither do I) and well… I guess we all have those times in life when we have to fight our own personal battles away from the public sphere.
But today, the first day of 2020, a new year and a new decade, in the spirit of continuing to do the impossible, I feel inspired.
I have taken on the flat-pack and won. It took a while, sure it did.
And, of course, it’s a ridiculous comparison for some, but for me, I just overcame a life-long mental barrier. I just assumed I couldn’t do it, that I would have to call some man to help me.
The box stayed on the floor for several days.
Then I thought…
I have a freakin’ MBA. Just to make it harder for me, I studied it in a foreign language. I got my kids around the world and back not only in one piece but happy, healthy, and culturally enlightened.
I was not going to be defeated by a flat-pack–or the people who said I couldn’t put it together.
Just because they tell you you can’t, doesn’t mean you can’t, right?
You Are the Master of Your Own Destiny
Look at those nails. Don’t tell me that’s not enough to provoke flutter in the stomachs of even the stanchest DIY enthusiast.
I have never in my four decades on this planet ever done anything handy with woodwork. I don’t know how to change a tire or a fuse. I panic when I see instruction manuals from Ikea.
But today, I have left that scared little girl in the past.
And you know what? It’s exactly the same as traveling the world with kids.
If you want to do something, do it. It really is that simple.
Was it a mind-bender? Absolutely.
Did I want to quit? You bet your life.
Did I think I had fuc**d up? Yes. In fact, I have a screw loose…
Seriously. That’s not a joke. I have one of the 83 screws left over and I’m not sure if it’s important, the thing looks fairly robust.
And now it’s done, it’s so satisfactory I can’t even explain the newfound sense of purpose in myself.
Because it’s not just a flat-pack piece of furniture. This is about proving people wrong–about turning your life around even.
These battles are not as small or insignificant as they seem. They are actually huge.
If you’ve ever doubted yourself or let your self-esteem get so low that you believed you were useless, well, I’ve been there, and not so long ago.
I felt so utterly worthless that I was convinced no one would even notice if I just silently removed myself from the planet.
I sat in my car in front of a brick wall with my foot hovering above the accelerator pedal for more than three hours. A thousand thoughts ravaged my mind, none of them good.
I was totally devoid of purpose.
It was a long, silent road back to the point of even feeling visible.
But Now, I Am Unstoppable
I gave myself a small congratulatory pat on the back for the epic summer the kids and I achieved. For the small milestones that were actually massive…
And then I got sucked back into everything I had managed to escape…
But now I have taken on 80 nails, 30 pieces of wood and a host of stickers, I know, there is no stopping me now.
There is nothing that one single person cannot do. It just takes a small shift in perspective and a little bit of courage.
Happy 2020. Keep on proving them wrong.