Photo by: Rachel Macy Stafford

The Time to Jump is Now

Photo by: Rachel Macy Stafford

Whenever a new year begins, I always think of 2010: The Year of The Hill.

My two daughters (who have always lived in the South) slid down the big hill in our backyard for the first time in February 2010 and didn’t let up the entire year.

Sometimes they spent hours at a time, just sliding down and running back up, a perfect balance of delight and exertion.

The number of times these two sisters went down the hill in 2010 must be in the hundreds, which leads me to believe that each trip down was a unique experience in itself. Each trip contained an element of excitement because they never quite knew where they’d end up.

And I have just one thing to say about their favorite activity of 2010: Thank God they didn’t wait for snow to slide down that hill. Because if they had, they never would have gone down.

My children would have missed the chirping of the crickets that surrounded them while they slid down the hill on warm summer nights.

They would have missed the chilly autumn breeze that invigorated their souls as they coasted down the leaf-littered terrain.

They would have missed the joy that comes in creating grass stains on their pants, permanent springtime reminders that getting dirty is the best kind of fun.

They would have missed delightful hours of playing in chilly winter air creating puffs of warm breath when they laughed.

They didn’t wait for it to snow to slide down that hill—they just pushed off.

I think of my disheveled hill-sliding children whenever I read this powerful quote by

Karen Lamb:

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

It was one of those sentences I had to read several times before I grasped the full meaning. And from the moment I “got” it, I felt compelled to share it with everyone I know.

How often do we put off our dreams until the perfect time?

How often do we ignore that little voice in our head that keeps urging us to pursue what we were born to do?

How often do we put off our ambitions “until”?

Or put time limitations on our dreams…

…When I am not so busy…

…When I lose 15 pounds…

…When I have more time…

…When I get my personal issues sorted out…

…When I things slow down at work…

And then suddenly another year has gone by and we still haven’t started what our heart longs to do.

I often say that the cost of distraction is mighty high—it can cost us our relationships, but it can also cost us our dreams.

Given this poignant fact, I have a New Year’s message, and it goes like this:

Don’t Wait…

Don’t wait to fill that notebook. There’s a story to be written. And it starts with one word.

Don’t wait to put on those running shoes.

There’s an open pathway to a healthier life. And it starts with one mile.

Don’t wait to grab the paintbrush.

There’s a masterpiece waiting to be created. And it starts with one stroke.

Don’t wait to open that book.

There’s a discovery to be made. And it starts with one page.

Don’t wait to shed that heavy cloak of self-deprecation.

There’s a beautiful you waiting to emerge. And it starts with “I am worthy.”

Don’t wait to simplify your life.

There’s excess to be purged. And it starts with the word NO.

Don’t wait to go where you have always yearned to go.

There’s a journey to discover. And it starts with the word YES.

Don’t wait to live the life that’s meant for you.

There’s a greater purpose to be found. And it starts with one step.

I hope something on the “Don’t Wait” list resonates with you today. I speak from experience when I tell you that the day you start doing something your heart’s been calling you to do is the day you come alive.

One year ago, I wrote the book proposal I’d always dreamed of writing but had put off because I thought I didn’t have time.

My first step required designating a block of time each day to write. And now here I am with my first book, Hands Free Mama, hitting shelves on January 7th

How did I do it?

I said no to the daily distractions that sabotaged the time and energy required to carry out my dream. For once in my life, I put my dream on the priority list and dedicated ample time and effort to my dream each and every single day.

Did I ever have moments of doubt? Moments of frustration? Did I ever tell myself, “You can’t pull this off.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. But I quickly identified this negative inner dialogue as a distraction that I did not have time for and forged ahead. It is impossible to put into words the feeling I had when I sent my twelve-chapter book to my editor. That document contained my heart, soul, sweat, and tears. And I am certain of one thing:

I had to let go of distraction to do it…

I had to stop waiting for the “perfect time” to start…

I just had to push off.

I am simply the messenger on this journey to grasp what matters. And today, I offer this message to you:

Start living your dream by taking one step. Say YES to where your heart yearns to go. Don’t wait until the snow falls to slide down that hill. Because that snow may never come.

Just push off.

Enjoy the ride.

And see where you might end up.

Who knows where you could be a year from now?

Rachel Macy Stafford is a certified special education teacher. In 2010, this life-long writer felt compelled to share her journey to let go of daily distraction and grasp what really matters by creating the blog, Hands Free Mama. Here she provides individuals with the inspiration, motivation, and tools to let go of the distractions of the modern age so they can grasp the moments in life that matter. Join her on her journey at Hands Free Mama and by visiting The Hands Free Revolution on Facebook! Check out her newly released book, Hands Free Mama; Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

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