The Next Forty Days, Day 20–Halfway There

It can be a real challenge to be halfway someplace. I mean, think about it: if you go back, you’ll cover about the same distance as if you simply kept going forward, and yet, sometimes you’re simply too damned ($.25 please) exhausted to want to go forward. It’s an interesting stuck place to be in, and as with the case with literally everything, it’s a matter of perspective. Like when I undertake the nine-plus hour drive from my home to Washington, DC–a trip I’ve made many times over the years–sometimes I’ll look at the clock and go, “Wow, I’m already halfway there, only four more hours.” Or, when I’m writing this blog and I hit about 300 words (I usually try to write at least 500 or 600) I say, “Oh good, I’m already halfway finished.” But then there are times when you feel like you’ve been driving or writing or working for hours, but when you look at your progress you realize you’re only halfway along; you thought you had gotten much farther.

This can be quite disappointing, depending on your perspective. The other day I was working on a post for this blog. And as I wrote the words “Day 16,” I groaned, “Oh dear, I’m not even halfway through Lent.” Every time I complain that I am too tired to write my blog, my friend says, “You’re tired, take a break from writing tonight.” “I can’t,” I whine, “I only have a few extra days in Lent and I might need to use them later on.”(Click here for information about how the 40 days–which is actually 46 days– is measured.) So, I pulled myself together and I wrote, slowly creeping toward the halfway point.

And so here I am, halfway through the “next forty days.” And while I’d love to say that it’s all smooth sailing from here, I know that’s not true. Sometimes you limp to halfway and things don’t get any easier, so you keep limping until the end. What’s important, when you’ve made it halfway, is to persist, persevere, keep going. After all, you’ve come too far to turn back now. And I don’t mean that metaphorically, I also mean it literally. When you’ve made it halfway, you’ve reached some milestone, achieved something that people who haven’t journeyed as far have not. It it worth celebrating having come halfway.

I’ve set some pretty big goals for myself lately. I am very hard on myself at times, chastising myself that I should be much farther along than I am, should have accomplished more. But given the magnitude of some of my goals and aspirations, I think I need a new metric by which to measure my progress: I want to see if I’ve made it half way. You see when you have BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals), to get halfway there is actually pretty darned good. I could fuss at myself for being overly ambitious or someone who sets overly high expectations of what can be accomplished, and then browbeat myself that I’m not getting there fast enough. Or, I could recognize that these are pretty audacious goals–ridiculously high standards of what I want to accomplish–and that it is going to take a while to get there. But in the meantime, I can celebrate being halfway there.

As I ponder what lies ahead in the next 20 of the 40 days (plus the bonus days), I am hopeful that I continue to find inspiration in both the spiritually meaningful and the sublimely mundane. That’s kind of how I roll, in a stream of consciousness kind of way. And if, as appears to be true, some people find value in my musings, then more’s the better. I have no idea whether I will limp, sprint, or skip through these next 20 days (I try not to say three weeks, because that really sounds like a long time), but I will persevere and do my best to keep writing. Thank you for coming with me halfway on this journey of 40 days. I look forward to your company for the second half.

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