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All or Nothing

I’m a goal-oriented person. I’ve stated before how stubborn and competitive I can be; heck, I can even be competitive against myself, always setting new goals for myself to surpass what I’ve done before. I tend to be an “all or nothing” girl. If I’m going to try something, I wanna do it well. While that may sound great at first, it also leans a little too far to the obsessive side of things than I’d like to admit. Sometimes, it’s helpful. I can be my best motivator, but sometimes I’m also my worst enemy.

When I first started boxing at Title, I was slightly obsessed (perhaps more than slightly), to the point where I wouldn’t shut up about it. For REAL, after a few months of boxing, my mother legitimately asked me if I wanted to become a professional boxer. I have an enormous amount of respect for professional fighters, but my mom’s question made me laugh hysterically for a solid 5 minutes before I could finally explain that no, mom, I’m not planning on turning pro anytime soon.

My “all or nothing” nature doesn’t just relate to my approach to working out - it spills into almost all aspects of my life. I haven’t talked about it much on this blog thus far, but there was a time when I lived and breathed music; it was basically my entire life. My college experience consisted of playing the saxophone anywhere from 4-8 hours a day, taking vocal lessons, and songwriting all the time. Naturally, my love for music led me to move to Nashville after graduation. I knew I wanted it to remain a large part of my life, and I started envisioning a career in the music industry, full of glitz and glam.

Why do I tell you any of that? Because if I’m going to perfectly honest (let’s be real, apparently I’m all about honesty in this blog), much of my post-college years have consisted of me trying to find my place in a new city and figure out what living out my dreams actually looks like when it comes to a career path and making money. I graduated with a very specific dream and goal, and I was ready to take over the music world. Then, this funny little thing happened: I left the safe bubble of school, and reality hit. In the past 3 years, I’ve learned about bills, responsibility, and perhaps most importantly, that life doesn’t always go as expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love this city and I’ve made many wonderful memories since graduating college, but I wouldn’t exactly call the past 3 three years a cake-walk. I’m not currently working in a job that’s specifically related to music, and I have no idea what the future holds. My life looks drastically different than what I envisioned for myself 3 years ago, and I have ZERO clue to what capacity I will be involved in the music industry in my future.

I’m gonna take a guess as to what many of you may be thinking right now: 1. Dang, this blog post is depressing so far, and 2. She’s only 25. BUT, I didn’t write this blog to be depressing, and I’m not trying to sound like an 80 year old woman. What I have done is start to become more aware of my “all or nothing” tendencies and how it affects my decisions. Because I don’t have the same time and freedom to play music full-time as I did in college, I often fight the urge to give up completely. Too often I’ve thought things like, “well, if I don’t have the time to practice saxophone like I used to, why bother at all? I’m just going to sound terrible, and every time I play will be a constant reminder of what stamina and agility I’ve lost.”

BUT. What if I took the pressure I put on myself out of the equation? What if, even just for the time being, I allowed myself to play and listen to music ONLY because I want to? Not because I feel the need to make it my career, or pressure myself to make it my full-time job. Suddenly practicing the saxophone or writing a new song doesn’t seem so daunting. It’s returned to a hobby that I do because it brings me joy. Instead of dreading it because it makes me fight feelings of failure, I look forward to it again.

I suppose I’m writing this as somewhat of a challenge, both to myself and to you (if you can relate to these rambling thoughts of mine. No better accountability than posting your thoughts and feelings online for all the world to see, right?) And I don’t mean it as a challenge in the way someone talks about a New Years Resolution, or a Whole 30 Challenge (all admirable, but not what i’m getting at here). I just want to challenge myself to start doing the things that I love, like playing and writing music, for the simple fact that I love it. Maybe right now there doesn’t need to be a reason for me to write. Maybe I don’t even need to start with a specific goal (that pains me even to write, given that I’m probably the most goal-oriented, Type A person I know).

Goals are good. Goals can be fun. But if you’re anything like me, sometimes the fear of not reaching a goal can keep you from starting in the first place. Don’t let that happen. Sometimes it’s ok to start something just for the fun of it, without putting any pressure on yourself to make it a way to make money or change the world in an enormous way.

I box because I love it, not because I’m trying to go pro (you’re welcome, Mom). I play saxophone because I think it’s an incredible instrument, and I can never walk away from it. I write songs and sing because it brings me joy. I’m writing this blog and continuing my @onelegtostandon account because it’s challenged me in new and sometimes scary ways, but I love getting to share my story and interact with a lot of wonderful, inspiring people as a result. I don’t make money doing any of those things. I don’t have a rhyme or reason as to why God seemingly placed all of those things in my heart. But I’m going to continue doing all of them, just because they bring me joy.

What brings you joy? Go do more of that. Maybe no one else in the world will be watching, but does that really matter? When you let yourself spend time doing things that help fulfill you, you have a higher capacity to joyously serve and love the world around you, and maybe that’s the most important point. After all, I think we can all agree the world could use more joy.