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Rising to the Challenge

So here we are, at the end of another year… and another decade. We’re probably all hoping 2021 will be better. A LOT better. And hopefully, all the 2020 years. It seems to me that the end/beginning of a decade often brings about some kind of major change/s in life. When we look back on the last ten years, what do we remember? Do we define that particular chunk of our lives by the enormity of its events, the great challenges, calamities, upheavals, changes, or losses we’ve experienced? Or by the small joys and pleasures, the sweet, heartfelt moments, the gradual moving forward on the path towards our goals and dreams?

For me, it was ten years of Incredibly. Big. Changes. Going back to December 2010, my first marriage had just broken up, and my way of life was about to undergo an enormous alteration. But I was looking forward to the positive changes it meant for my life. And boy oh boy, challenges and changes there were, as I learned to navigate the world as my own person again after thirteen years of being part of a couple. New experiences, new friends, new opportunities of all sorts. And a return to some of the things I’d loved doing before I got married, like acting and singing.

I was back to handling my own finances, managing all my own affairs. Doing the upkeep and maintenance where I lived. I started dating again. Then I remarried, moved to a nicer house, got into paid employment that I love, and have progressed my writing career to the point of being a self-published indie author. Looking back over these ten years, I find it amazing what I’ve been through, what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and changed as a person, and what I now plan for my future. More than ever, I can see how the currents of life have flowed, and how I’ve learned to navigate those currents towards the outcomes I choose.

So what do the next ten years hold? Of course, we can’t know for sure what the future will bring, but I’d like to think – and choose to make it so – that I’ll keep writing, publishing, and progressing my career as an author. Which is all I’ve really ever wanted, but it’s funny how life often contrives to get in the way of our best laid plans. I think the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to relax and enjoy the journey of life, to be flexible when challenges arise, and to not strive to ‘force’ opportunities my way, but to simply work quietly towards my goals and be grateful for all the good, all the bright, blessed and heartfelt things that present themselves along the way.

As for my goals for next year… and beyond… I plan to have books two and three of Atomic Goddess out by mid-year, at least in ebook and paperback formats, and to be recording the audiobooks of the trilogy as well. I also hope to have the first book in the Seven Gates Conspiracy trilogy out by the end of next year, and to be publishing a regular newsletter to my email subscribers very soon. It’s still a slow, uphill slog to make all of those things come about, but at least I’ve passed one great hurdle now, with my first book published this year, so hopefully the process will get easier with the next ones.

So as we hurtle towards January 2021, bursting with hopes like ‘It had better be an improvement on this year’, and ‘I sure hope everything gets back to normal soon’, maybe it’s time to take the big challenge and examine what we’re actually doing to make that happen. Because if there’s one important thing I’ve learned to do when challenges arise, it’s to ask questions and not be fobbed off with slick pre-fabricated, socially acceptable, media-friendly answers. I mean it. QUESTION. EVERYTHING. Just do it.

Because you know how we all like to cruise along on autopilot when life is good, hoping things won’t change, and that life will only get better – and certainly never worse? Sure, that’s human nature, right? But things do happen. Set-backs occur. Adversity strikes. Uncertainty creeps in. It can’t be helped. It’s inevitable, unavoidable. And it hurts. It can really knock you for a six. But it’s a natural part of life. We’re meant to have challenges. In the same way the human body isn’t meant to be sedentary, as it’s designed for movement, and the human mind craves new information, and to be doing something useful with it, so our very existence is not meant to be a straight, boring, comfortable line between birth and death.

We need challenges in our lives so we don’t get too comfortable and stay in a rut where we do nothing, question nothing, and learn nothing. I’m not making light of challenge and adversity. I’ve been through plenty myself, and no doubt there will be more. I’ve struggled, I’ve grieved, I’ve failed, I’ve felt lost and alone at times. But I’ve also learned, grown, and overcome. I’ve experienced tremendous love, joy, enlightenment, and personal fulfilment. And no doubt there will be more of those things, too. The challenges will continue, but so will the positive effects they bring about, as I learn new things and build experiences into my life that will help me with future challenges.

Next year? Yeah, there’ll be good and bad. Bring it on. I ain’t finished with living yet, not by a long shot, and I’m up for learning what will get me through the next ten years, and the ten beyond that, and the ten beyond that, and so on. Challenges are uncomfortable, but as they can’t be avoided, I’ll do my best to face them with grace, integrity, curiosity, patience, and questions. Lots of questions. And then to challenge them right back.

From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse


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