I Did It!
I like when I can shout I did it! The exclamation is not reserved for a certain age. Anyone can experience that moment of satisfaction. For example, I was especially delighted when my granddaughter felt her I did it moment.
Watching my nineteen-month-old granddaughter Charlotte conquer a footstool fascinated me. This was a major accomplishment in her little world and it did not go unnoticed.
First, her tiny, fleshy pink hands securely latched on to the opposite side of the ottoman. Then, she anchored one leg to the closest edge. For several minutes, her wispy pigtails buried in the soft upholstery as she grunted with determination.
I did it! Charlotte exclaimed in a loud voice when she reached the top of the freestanding piece of furniture. It was as if she was on the peak of Mount Everest. Resting a moment to take in the view, Charley beamed from ear-to-ear in self-satisfaction. Then, she glanced at me with her slightly flushed face, and promptly slid down to do it again.
Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.(Lydia M. Child)
We are all challenged in life. Success depends on our effort and determination. The tasks intensify as we age, but each one is equally significant in its own moment.
I remember vividly coming face-to-face with the thick black tread of the high step of the school bus as a first day four-year-old kindergartner.
Trembling, I lifted up my skinny leg with all of my might, and pushed my full thirty-three pounds into the dark opening of the mysterious yellow vehicle. I did it! I hushed to myself while feeling quite grown-up. And then, I went on to the next step.
Much later, when I was studying at the University of Madrid during my junior year abroad, I recall a language challenge.
Sitting next to my strict Spanish Linguistic Professor for what seemed like a year, I was finally dismissed. Sweat had soaked through my thin blouse and the excess liquid trickled down the subtle valley in the middle of my back when I stood up. My Spanish Language Professor had finally given me an accepting nod of approval after I successfully recited the memorized first paragraph of the popular Spanish story, Platero Y Yo.
Known for his keen ear and high expectations, no one was allowed to leave the teacher’s side until he was fully satisfied with the exact pronunciation and intonation of the passage. I did it! Even if it did take me eight tries. I exhaled with relief on my walk home. I can still recite that passage to this day.
When I was widowed, I faced challenges that I never imagined I would have to encounter. Important decisions about the house and financial choices taxed my brain. As the sole parent of two young children, I was emotionally challenged and I found myself wide-awake at night second-guessing myself. Was I considering everything? Was I too strict? Was I making a mistake?
In 1994, a year after my husband David died, I took my son Rick and his sister, Samantha, on a trip. For two weeks, we toured Germany and Austria by bus with a student group. After that, we spent another week visiting my Aunt Alma in Bremen, Germany.
While in Bavaria, we went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen with the tour group. Near the quaint town was the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, in the Wetterstein Mountains. The peak is 9,718 feet above sea level. The group took a rack railway to a cable car station that ultimately took us by cable car to the final base station of the famed mountain. From there, you had to climb up the limestone steps by foot to reach the iconic cross at the summit. The fourteen-foot high iron gilded cross was first erected in 1851. A replica now stood in the same place.
My thirteen-year-old-daughter and eleven-year-old son did not want to take the final short hike. Not a fan of heights myself, I nevertheless was determined to go to the summit and touch that cross. It was almost as if the shiny monument was calling out to me.
Climbing on all fours, I inched along the rocky steps. There were no guardrails and I dared not look down. My legs started to tremble as I reached the final steep path, guided by a metal cable. I held on for dear life to the thick cord until I reached the top. When I got to the summit, still holding on to the metal guide wire, I crept towards the gleaming cross and put my hands around the pole. I shouted out for the kids to take a picture. I needed proof that I did it!
Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the road blocks that lay before you. ( Denis Waitley)
I do not know what future challenges are waiting for me. None of us do. I am sure that there will be many more. I hope that I can face them with courage and determination. I have learned that I can do more than I think I can. The only limits are those that I put on myself.
Pat yourself on the back the next time you successfully meet a challenge. Proclaim out loud, I did it! Even if there is no audience. It doesn’t hurt to toot your own horn. We all need to hear the symphony of our own success every so often.
Go ahead, you can do it!
(originally posted on 4/21/12 as I Did It. Edits were made and pictures were added)