Technically, It Matters

There are a few things that my entire life I knew I wanted.  Some of them more lofty wants than others.   Some of them more realistic.    Some of them ridiculous.  I added to these things as I went through life.   There weren’t that many things, but for different reasons, they all very much mattered to me.

When I was very young I wanted to write a book.  I always knew that.  And that hasn’t changed.

Before I was ten I knew I wanted a log cabin.  There is something very pleasing and soothing about walking in to a log cabin, in the woods, with hand made furniture.  And pine trees.  I have to have pine trees.

When I got older and picked up biking it didn’t take me long to come up with a few things I wanted to do.  I wanted to reach a certain speed under my own power.   And when I saw a license plate outside of a bike store that said “200 MILS” I knew immediately that I wanted to ride 200 miles in one day.

When I earned my first black belt I wanted to reach the level of “master”.   Especially since my sister said it would be awesome to make my other siblings call me “Master Brown”.

As I got older and fell in to that trap of doing what I had to do versus what I want to do I forgot about my wants and paid attention to the needs.  The needs of my family, the needs of my house, the needs that as responsible adults we tend to in our world.  I’m okay with that.   Actually I’m more than okay with that.  In the doing of those things I had many lessons on what matters.  And the journey to our wants and dreams, though lined with needs and musts, is a good journey.   I was fortunate enough to learn that along the way.

The other night I looked out my window and longed to go outside and sit by the cabin that sits in my backyard.  I wanted to sit there until late in to the night turned in to early the next morning.   But I had to go to work.   Still have to take care of those needs.

But, I have my log cabin.   It’s only six foot by twelve foot.  But it’s a log cabin.   And inside of it sits handmade furniture.   One piece handmade by me.  The other  pieces by my husband and I.   I’m not living in it.  But it’s mine.   Technically I have achieved this want.  The only thing missing right this minute is the pine trees.  But that will happen.

When I realized this about the cabin I looked back at the other things I had wanted.

I had wanted to write a book.  Technically I have written four books.  No, wait, six books if I include some drawing books done for family.  I haven’t done much with them other than self publish a book for my family.    But in looking back, at no time did I ever think to publish.  I just wanted to write.  I wanted to hold in my hands the words I had written.  I remember thinking that, as a very small child.

I reached 40 miles an hour on my bike, self propelled.   I was going down a hill.  Not a big hill but a long sloping hill.   I still had to pedal like mad.   I was scared crapless and exhilarated beyond belief at the same time.  So technically I did that.   I haven’t done 200 miles in one day yet.   But I have done 126.2 miles in one day.  And it didn’t take an entire day.  And it rained for a third of it.  There will be a day when I am retired and can train properly and who wants to meet all of their dreams this early any way?

In the martial arts organization that I earned my black belts in, one had to reach 5th Dan to be a ‘master’.  I only reached fourth.   I had to stop teaching for numerous reasons and another young(er) black belt now runs the school.  He belongs to another organization.  I help him with testings when he calls upon me.   The last test he asked me to assist with I arrived early before class started.   I walked in and when he caught my eye he smiled at me, he stopped the students that were spread out among the dojang (training hall) and called them to attention.   This was normally reserved for the masters only so I was sure someone must have been there that I had not seen.  He had them turn to me and instructed them to bow to “Master Brown”.    I kid you not, on the way home I cried.  I still do not consider myself a master.  But in his organization a 4th Dan black belt is a “master”.   So technically I was master for a night.   And when I sent my sister a text, guess what she called me?   Master Brown.

I’m not minimizing any of my goals or my road to finding them.  And I’m not discrediting them if they aren’t exactly what or where I thought they would be.    I want to tell my children and grandchildren that all things we do matter.  The goals we set for personal achievement.  The goals we set aside to take care of priorities.  And goals we sacrifice completely because other things matter.   I remember in martial arts being told that achieving a long sought out goal may not, in the end, be what we hoped it would be.  Or it may not matter in the way we expected it to.  That was where I learned that we can’t disregard the journey.  Goals, dreams, hopes, wishes.  They matter.

And technically, what we do, matters.

40 thoughts on “Technically, It Matters

    • Thank you Marissa. 🙂 Sometimes I look back, carefully, to see the what’s I’ve done, the what’s I wanted, and what of the whats really mattered. And it really isn’t about the whats for me, but the whats that I can share with the people who matter. 🙂


  1. Which is why I continually advocate for aligning one’s life with what really matters. We need not live Maslow-oriented lives. Who’s to determine how one prioritizes needs, wants, hopes and dreams? You are. The common and over-relied-on default, When I get/reach/have, I will then… can be unnecessarily limiting. If it truly matters, we ought to create space for “it” to manifest. Now. Because there may not be time beyond now. We’re on the same page, Colleen, you just express yourself and matters of significance more eloquently. 🙂


    • “The common and over-relied-on default”. I love that line Eric. I would rather be my own default than depend on others to do the prioritizing for me. I’ve actually been there and do not ever wish to return.

      And thank you for the kind words. 🙂


  2. They really do matter, and we do not always get there the way we thought we would either. That is for certain. And seriously, 126.2 miles in one day–dang! That is very impressive! I am sure should you still choose it to be a goal you will get to 200. It is funny how sometimes as we go on the goals can change.
    Your journey is a fascinating one, and your inspiration to keep going is very much appreciated. Great reminders, lessons, and gifts, thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Ps. Is there a rocking chair in the cabin? Blatant curiosity.


    • 🙂 Niaaeryn, there is not a rocking chair in the cabin. There isn’t room for one to ‘rock’ in there. But I do have one. And if I get any of my future wants it will include a rocking chair in ‘a’ cabin AND on the front porch of it.

      Thank you!


  3. I am so glad you write. I miss you often. You have been my mentor, friend and inspiration. God bless you as always and help you continue realizing your dreams.


  4. Colleen, what a beautiful piece. Yes what we do really matters, what personal goals we achieve matter, and what personal goals we set a side, for betterment really become the goal. I have been honored for almost 2 years to read your points of life posts, to see the rays of hope and life through those points, through you I have been taught about goals, and I have been lectured about goals, and results, and what matters, your insight and ability to strike the cord between accomplishing a goal or meeting a need, show that you are a Master in Life, just as you have been recognized as a Master for your black belt. Please take care, and please continue to provide life training thru your posts. Bill


  5. We always get what we wish for, and if we aren’t paying attention, we won’t recognize that it is in a different form than expected. It looks like you have been paying attention. 🙂


  6. You have so wonderfully reached these goals, Colleen, to the maximum, every which way I can turn them over in my mind and inspect their significance and honor. You have a log cabin filled with furniture made with the hands of you and your hubby. You have written a book that’s been held in the hands and read by the eyes of your loved ones. (And please let me add here that I’ve cherished a book’s worth of your wisdom and humor and chatter right here.) A karate school chief had every student he teaches put their hands together to honor you as a master.

    Let me hand it to you, Master Colleen. So many goals reached, and you’ve left a few more for later.

    I clap my hands for you today.


    • Aw Mark, thank you. 🙂 I do hope to have a few more goals to reach. Lessons to learn. And I’m mighty happy to have some I can call “already had”. I appreciate the clapping. I just hope the ‘kids’ get my message some day. 🙂


  7. You have achieved many of your dreams. I am like you satisfied with how I have met most of my own personal dreams. I have written a few children’s books, I enjoyed the process, would not mind making money for them, but after many SASE’s sent out, some not even returned, I decided to take a break from wanting to be published.
    I am glad you have your little log cabin, think homemade furniture is very satisfying. I think the pines could be purchased at any time, starting off small, with water, sunshine and a lick and a prayer, could be grown in not too long of a time, Colleen! The black belt and the levels you achieved are amazing! The ability to pedal a bike that fast and accomplish this, also wonderful!
    I have my family, which there is no amount of fame nor fortune to replace them. That is all I need and want.


  8. I too think log cabins and pine trees are awesome. I’m not much of an athlete, so I can’t share the bike thing. I think being called Master Brown is so incredible. And, even if you didn’t publish your four/six books, you finished them, and that is quite an accomplishment! I wish I would finish all the books I’ve started!


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