ON TARGET

by D. D. Falvo on May 23, 2013 | @ddfalvo

Inspired by Setting Sights . . .

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One of the first things I remember is my mom telling me to look where I’m going. I won’t say I learned that lesson quickly, and the varying results of my resistance have caused no small amount of grief. But I’ve learned a few things along the way.

HOLD YOUR AIM TRUE

I Got This

I Got This

Kali pedaled down our quiet street, the new bike wobbled–her first time without training wheels. “I’m doing it!” she said. She gained confidence and speed, then veered toward a parked car. “Oh, nooo. Help!” she said.

“Look away, Kali!” My husband shouted. She looked toward the sound of his voice, and the bike headed for him. He jumped aside with a short exclamation,  grabbed the handle bars, and stopped the erratic driver. My husband’s eyes met mine and we tried not to laugh. Her newfound confidence faltered.

“The bike will go where you look,” my husband said. “You gotta keep your eyes on the road ahead of you.”

Doubt clouded her features

“Try again,” I urged.

She started–slow at first, her posture stiff. We cheered. She ignored us, her features set in concentration–but the grin was back. She approached a cul-de-sac-type curve, and I yelled, “Look left!”

“I know,” she yelled back, still facing forward. “I got this.”

Our bodies follow what we hold in our sights with unwavering instinct. The path we place our dreams upon are no different. Looking forward keeps me moving ahead. Twists and turns along the way are inevitable. Sometimes I lose my focus, but the way isn’t lost–the view needs an adjustment.

WATCH OUT

The Younger Daredevil

The Younger Daredevil

From the road, our previous driveway resembled a lower-case b–the long stroke a downward incline to the garage, while the circle preceded the front of the house. My youngest daughter biked a path up the circle’s graduated slope.  She rounded the last bend, heading back down, then quickly realized the error of that direction. The bike gained momentum, charging down the descent like greased lightening. Lauren did what any kid would do, she turned a panicked look to mom for help, and with that, I became her new destination. Her two-wheeled rocket jumped the curb, aimed straight for my back and the brick of our home. I was gardening on my knees. My husband watched his child–a 45 pound heat-seeking missile at full speed–hone in on his oblivious wife, and he ran; he lifted Lauren off the bike seconds before the metal frame rammed my body.

Sometimes, even though I’m on the right path, there are other challenges–the ride accelerates beyond my control. These are the times when I’m not enough. My faith is challenged, and I have to trust in something beyond me. Help comes from unexpected places and sometimes at the last minute. And sometimes I crash, it’s not the worst thing. I gotta get up and try a new direction.

IN THE CROSSHAIRS

The take away? No matter what my dreams are, I have to keep my eye on the target. Lock in on that goal and hang on.  It takes patience. Holding steady for long periods of time is a skill worth developing–a muscle that grows when flexed. I try to align my confidence with it. It’s not easy to do.

DON’T LOOK DOWN . . .

You would think that gaining some higher ground would be a relief. The truth is, for me, it’s scarier. Expectations become lofty, and there’s no looking down. I can’t second guess where I am, or worry about how far there is to go. But I believe we all have to continue the steady climb, anchoring each new strike with a solid foothold. And if the unexpected comes along, we have to trust the skills we’ve gained to pull ourselves back up.

Game of Thrones– The Climb, Jon Snow & Ygritte

 . . . OR BACK

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”

I love that quote. It’s common sense, simply put. I won’t belabor it.

How about you? Where are your sights set? Are you keeping your eye on the forward path? When you’re derailed, how do you get back on track?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Dannie Morin May 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Great post and so true! It’s a hard but necessary thing for us writers to learn. Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing!
~Dannie @ Left to Write

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D. D. Falvo May 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi, Dannie. Thanks. :D It’s true, the confidence/fortitude is hard won. Love the name of your blog.

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Rhiann Wynn-Nolet May 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Well, first of all, YAAAAY!!! You’re blog hopping with us :D My responses to your post are mixed. I got to relive a horrifying collision on my bike. My face lost, the enormous white pine won. There’s a semi-circular shadow underneath my cheekbone because my face got pushed in. On a more metaphorical note, it took me a long time to figure out where “forward” was, but now I know, and because I’m quite stubborn, it takes a lot to knock me off my “bike” these days.

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D. D. Falvo May 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Rhiann–oh no, and ouch! Sorry to bring back the memory, but it sounds like you pushed back and found your resilience. I have a few battle scars, too– they’re good reminders that we can get knock flat and still get up. You’ve got it all going on, my friend, I can’t imagine anything getting in your way these days. <3

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Vaughn Roycroft May 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I’m not sure why I’m so emotional, D. This really strikes a cord today. You have a way of reminding me of exactly what I need to do. I think I know how Ygritte feels. She’s supposed to know what she’s doing, even though she’s never actually made the climb. She isn’t really focused on the line below, even though it’s a lifeline for Jon. She knows he’s there, but she’s focused on the climb. And then something shifts and cracks beneath her, sending her flailing and falling. Suddenly it’s her lifeline. We’re all sort of tethered that way, aren’t we? It’s what tribes do for one another.

And you’ve reminded me of one of my favorite songs. You might like it, too (it has good drumming ;-) ). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gq8k-kLagE

I’m so happy to see you posting, my friend! Thanks for being my honing beacon and occasional lifeline. Wonderful post!

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D. D. Falvo May 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

Wow–great job taking this to the next natural conclusion, from the solo commitment of keeping the focus to the collaborative strength of the combined tethers. I agree, we draw positive energy from those lifelines when we are low, and then pull each other up when the ice pick fails to find good purchase. I’m always so inspired and in awe of the talent in our tribe, but it’s the heart of the group that reinforces what is most important–a writer’s work is a solitary venture, but we never travel alone.

Thanks for the awesome song–the mood is a perfect blend of the harmony and struggle that exists in every moment. All we can do is choose which to focus on, and run with that. (I did love the drums. :D)

Thanks for the support and wonderful comment. Your friendship is a steady influence that blesses my journey.

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Mia Celeste May 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Grin. Yep. Both riding a bike for the first time and writing have a lot in common. I enjoyed reading about your daughter’s ride. It reminded me of my sons’ first attempts on two-wheels. I can still picture them trying.

http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2013/05/inspired-by-beginnings-thirteen-things.html

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D. D. Falvo May 24, 2013 at 12:18 am

Hi Mia! Thanks for the visit. I think our adventures in writing parallels life in so many ways. And the kids–they grow too fast don’t they? One minute they’re banging their Little Tykes trike into the kitchen table, and the next they’re waving goodbye from the driver’s seat of your car. All good memories, all fodder for our stories. :D

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Lara Schiffbauer May 24, 2013 at 4:41 am

Not only are you wise, but you say it so beautifully. Long live focus and keeping our eyes on the road. :D

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D. D. Falvo May 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

If there’s any wisdom there, it’s b/c I am surrounded with the best sounding boards. Thank you my awesome critique partner. We’re keeping our eyes on the target. :D

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Kristina Perez May 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

Thank you so much for joining us on Thursday’s Children! Great post. I remember that terrifying and exhilarating feeling the first time I rode my bike without training wheels. Taking part in WriteOnCon last year was kind of the writerly equivalent!

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D. D. Falvo May 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Hi Kristina! It’s a privilege to join the TC family, and thank you for founding such a wonderful group. I agree, sometimes holding that focus is scary as hell–but there’s all sorts of side benefits, like the peeps we meet along the way (Rhiann) and the new adventures that spring from it (TC). :D

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Bernadette Phipps-Lincke May 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Blessed be your journey.

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D. D. Falvo May 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Back @ you, Bee. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. <3

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Nicole L. Bates May 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Great post, D.D.! Sorry it took me a while to comment. We’ve been on the road to Maryland for a writing convention! I’m so excited, and what a timely reminder to keep my eyes forward, for my actions will follow. You are doing an amazing job of forging your own path and I’m so glad to be a part of the journey! Have a wonderful weekend!

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D. D. Falvo May 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

Writing convention? Yay! How exciting–hope you have an *awesome time. :D Thank you, Nicole, for stopping by despite your busy weekend. I want to hear all about it. You’re one of my favorite journey-mates, my friend.

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Kate Frost May 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Keep your eye on the target… perseverance and determination are a writer’s best friend, much like learning to ride a bike. I find the challenges along the way (personal challenges rather than writerly ones) make me even more determined to keep writing. Lovely post.

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D. D. Falvo May 25, 2013 at 3:37 am

It’s true. Who we are, what we make of life, it’s all reflected in our art. It’s nice to meet you, Kate. And thank you. :D

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Cassandra H Griffin May 25, 2013 at 1:30 am

I’m a total planner. I love to plan, then change that plan, then change it again if need be. I know nothing in life is set in stone, but constantly setting new goals both short term and long term help me find my focus. It gives me something to aim for and to constantly work towards. My life must always have purpose, or I feel like I’m wasting what precious little time we get here.

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D. D. Falvo May 25, 2013 at 3:43 am

I like variety, too. I think it sharpens our minds and keeps us thinking outside the box. Even our mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. That’s the beauty of life–with the right perspective, nothing has to be wasted. Thanks for dropping by. :D

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jessika fleck May 25, 2013 at 4:35 am

Great post! Lots to think about here… I have two girls as well so could totally relate to you being in the crosshairs both metaphorically and literally! Loved that quote too…

Most of the time I feel I’m going forward, but too often it’s that one step forward, two steps back thing. Alas, I keep chugging along and eventually (luckily) I reach my destination. Once there though, without fail, I come to another hill and a greater destination *just* ahead… Just a little further.

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D. D. Falvo May 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

Haha! I hadn’t considered the literal crosshairs until you mentioned it. :P I hear you, re: one-step, two-step. It’s a dance I know well–and there’s always a new star to reach for. But at long as we hear the music, we’ll keep moving along, right? Thank you for coming by. It’s so nice to meet you. :D

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Alana Terry May 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Cute pictures! And I love the parallels you draw between bike riding and life in general. I’m in the process of teaching my son to go sans training wheels. There truly are so many lessons to be learned from the experience!

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D. D. Falvo May 27, 2013 at 4:32 am

Thanks, Alana. :D A That’s one of the best parts about life, isn’t it? How all the bits and pieces connect together in the great design, and mirror fundamental truths. Have a happy Memorial Day, and best of luck to your son!

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