This I Believe

Kirsten - Hockessin, Delaware
Entered on January 1, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that I can reach every goal that I set for myself. Large or small, insanely grand or insignificant, all of my goals work together to help form me into the person I want to become.

When I am feeling low, I keep my goals small to help build confidence as I set targets that are ever more challenging. Did I get out of bed and go to the gym before work? Did I make an effort to improve the day of a complete stranger? Did I maintain a positive attitude and preserve my own integrity throughout the day? If so, I am ready for something more.

I have searched for some extravagant and exotic achievements in my life as well, and I have met them despite the discouraging words of others. I moved to Antigua for nearly a year to study sea turtles. It was one of the most demanding and rewarding years of my life and I am so happy that I did it. When traveling for work in Malaysia, again for sea turtle research, I decided to get lost on the mystical island of Borneo. Friends tried to talk me out of my plans because of the distant war in Iraq and a mistaken perception that there would be animosity towards Americans in the largely Muslim country. I refused to listen and set off to fulfill my own dreams. I walked the Head Hunters Trail, took lazy longboat rides on the rivers, went diving with Whale sharks and climbed two of the islands many mountains. I made lifelong friends while riding elephants, learning the ritual dance of the Iban and struggling to reach the top of the Pinnacles. We left the politics and violence of the world behind as we each discovered our own personal strengths, and no one seemed to mind that I held a US passport. As I set foot on the peak of Gunung Kinabalu, the Chinese Widow, on our last morning together, I knew I could never listen to the naysayers again.

I am confident, I am strong, I am capable. Yes, I am wounded as well, but my spirit is stronger than the damage it has sustained. The goals I have met have created a strong foundation for the vibrant, curious person that I am today. The goals I set in the present build my confidence in myself and my belief in unending possibility. The goals I set for tomorrow feed my dreams and inspire my imagination. My goals are my gift to myself, and they, more than anything, free my spirit as I continue on this crazy journey through life.

Today, my goal is to write one meaningful piece. At times, that can be difficult – the words just refuse to flow. But I have set my goal, and I will succeed. My soul has been in despair and has risen, polished by the friction, to discover a new day. I do not know the meaning of defeat. Today, I will reach my goals, which are only as low or as high as I want them to be.