This summer I didn’t get a lot of my projects around the house done that I wanted to. I did, however, do many other projects and published a book along with reformatting and rereleasing my first book. I feel like I did the absolute most this summer and I can actually see my accomplishments. I can hold my books in my hands and run my fingers across the newly painted walls of my house.

I can’t help but be proud of the things I’ve done this summer. I had my first book signing and toured a new business in an old building I’m going to feature in book four. I tell people I’m an author now instead of just saying I stay home with the kids. I talk about my twitch streaming. You’d never guess that a few years ago I was ready to end my life. Look at all of these things I would’ve never done. That’s growth. This is what my growth looks like.

I am not making a ton of money doing these things so therefore I’m not successful in some people’s eyes. But I do have a consistent viewer count on twitch and I’ve made some fantastic friends. I have people that I have never met before reading my book and telling others about it. There are new visitors to this blog every day jumping around the tabs learning about me and the things I’ve created. That is successful to me. Being able to proudly tell people about my accomplishments is success. Living day to day, week to week, without having a depression episode is what success looks like to me.

Growth and progress is about checking in with yourself and comparing your current state of being against your own history to gauge how you’re doing. While I understand that it’s easy to see defeat when you hold yourself up next to someone else’s successes but that isn’t how this works. They can succeed all over the place and it doesn’t help you personally, so rationally, why should you let their successes hurt you? Just keep doing you. Be happy for those you may feel a little jealous over but keep your intentions within your own boundaries. We are not in a race. We all die. We all leave all of this behind in the end. Just do what you’re proud of right now. Is the future too uncertain? Don’t think about that. Think about getting to dinner time today. Or bedtime. There is nothing wrong with only setting short-term goals. There is a lot of privilege hidden in long-term goals. Not all of us have that privilege or mental capacity to plan years in advance. Some of us can only plan for the present because that’s all we can afford. We make it paycheck to paycheck. Rent due date to the next. It can be so overwhelming to think about where you “should” be five years from now.

Long-term goals are a way to stay stagnant. We do more than grow, we evolve. Emotionally, physically, financially — all of it. You are not who you were in many ways ten years ago, so why keep reaching for a goal an old version of you set up? That just doesn’t seem logical to me. There are exceptions to this view, of course, but as I’ve said a million times before: Humans contain an unlimited amount of variables.

Be proud of yourself today. You can always find something to be proud of yourself for. Too depressed to get out of bed but you spent a few hours on tiktok watching inspirational videos? That’s effort and I’m proud of you. Was your day absolute shit but you managed to eat a meal you enjoy? I’m proud of you. Did someone try to pick a fight with you but you withheld your boundaries without getting upset? That’s growth baaaayyybeee! Did you do the thing even though you didn’t want to? That’s winning! Load the dishwasher today or wash some clothes? You’re fucking majestic!

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