hello monday: vol. 8

Hello, Monday. I've been doing a bit of thinking about goals.

We're a little over six weeks into the new year. It's around this time, they say, that most people have abandoned the resolutions they made with vigor leading up to January 1st.

I don't make resolutions, per say, and I haven't for several years now, but I do make goals and some years I'm fairly successful at accomplishing them and others, well, not so much.

 
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At lunch yesterday, a new person in the group revealed his proficiency in multiple languages.

I mentioned it's a personal goal of mine to become conversationally fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, and German. I've been rather haphazardly renewing my commitment to this goal by refreshing my French vocabulary, but without someone to speak with, it's hard to really learn and get into the habit of legitimately conversing with someone.

"If you ever need someone to practice with, let me know," he says, because, as it turns out, French is one of the languages he's proficient in.

There it was, suddenly, quite literally staring me in the face — the opportunity to act on a goal I've buried in my heart for so many years.

You see, I've had this goal of conversational proficiency in five languages for... a long time. I can't remember exactly when I first made it, but I've always loved languages. I thought about going into linguistics when I was considering what to study in college, but ultimately went back to my first love — English and writing.

But despite choosing not to study linguistics, it's still always been a personal goal of mine to one day be able to say I can speak those four other languages.

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Last week, I auditioned for a musical. It wasn't my first audition in several years — that happened in 2017 — but, had I been cast, it would have been my first musical in over a decade.

The dance audition, in particular, revealed two things — a deep and abiding love for performance that is still very present and the undeniable fact that I am one extremely out shape dancer.

This brought back memories of other goals I've had for years — to be able to do an aerial and a back handspring, to be able to land a clean double or triple pirouette, to increase my flexibility and overall strength to near the level it was when I was an active gymnast and dancer.

When I went to see Wonder Woman last year, I told one of my best friends I wanted to be Antiope when I grew up. If you've seen the film, you know how epic and awesome she was, and how strong she was both in physical strength and character. You wouldn't look at her and automatically assume that she was an incredible warrior, but she was.

I decided then and there that I wanted the same — to be strong in unexpected ways.

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Nearly all of these goals have one thing in common — they're things I want to do for me, not for anyone else.

Sure, it's a cool party trick to be able to an aerial or back handspring out of your back pocket. And people could be super impressed if they learn that you speak five different languages. But the reality is, I could easily go my entire life without some people in my life learning that these are talents and skills I possess.

I remember my senior year in college when friends of mine learned I played piano. A few of my musical theatre friends needed an accompanist to help them practice songs for a callback, but the regular department accompanist wasn't available. I offered up myself as an option and most of them looked at me like I had three heads. I'd known most of them for nearly three years at this point and they had no clue I played piano, even though it's something I'd done for over 15 years.

The reason they didn't know is because I didn't play piano to perform. Sure, I've played in front of people before, but I play piano because I love it, because it relaxes me, because it allows me to use my hands to create something beautiful, and because it's one of my favorite ways to worship the Lord.

Learning five languages or working on a back handspring is similar. It's not about performing, but about spending my time on things that I love and care about, always pushing myself to be growing and learning new things, even if no one ever sees or knows about those things.

We live in a world that's all about being seen. We think that if no one knows we possess a skill or a talent or whatever, then what's the point? If you can't Instagram it or post it on YouTube, why does it matter that you read 100 books or can sing insanely well?

It matters because you're doing things you love. Because you're growing and changing and pushing yourself to live this live to the fullest. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if anyone else sees or knows or cares about you did because the One whose opinion matters most always sees. He is always watching and He cares about how you spend your days, whether they're completely mundane or you're cultivating a love or talent for something that only He will ever observe.

There is beauty in hiddenness. There is beauty in doing things for the pure sake of doing them. Just because it isn't "worth" sharing doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. So what is it for you? What is it you love to do and wanted to do before the world told you if it wasn't worth sharing it wasn't worth doing? Get out there, beautiful, and do the thing.


Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash