We all took vows. We stood at the center of our lives and pledged to be better and feel harder. We crossed our chests and swore we’d do all the things we said we were going to. It comes with the terrain of a new year and it’s beautiful, the way we make promises to ourselves.

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But keeping them isn’t all slow songs and stardust. Keeping them is work of the sweat and tears variety. And finishing what we start is probably the most vital lesson we can learn as humans with hearts that beat for things bigger than us.

Because it’s the easiest thing in the world to let dreams become whispers left in the middle of the night.

Just words and thin air and cold sheets. It’s simple to neglect those things we wrote down and wished for — to let them become hazy, skewed remnants of a wonderland we found while we were sleeping. To let our oaths hover above us, stuck sparkling and waiting. It’s hardly even noticeable when we forget to look up at the dark holding our declarations and just step into another day with the same indifference, the same lost chances.

Maybe that’s because accomplishing something isn’t always accompanied by sky-splitting feelings. Sometimes the coming true part is another ordinary Tuesday morning. That can be hard to celebrate when we expect achievement to be a bright light, big city kind of thing, with applause and streamers and fancy dresses. But not everything can give us sudden butterflies or whirlwind life changes or one hundred likes. Sometimes we have to create that ourselves.

… accomplishing something isn’t always accompanied by sky-splitting feelings.

There may not always be an epiphany or a party attached to our triumphs, but that doesn’t make them any less important or exciting. We still have to strive and climb the mountains we’re standing at the bases of. We should still keep our arms outstretched and our bones fearless, because we’re breathing— and maybe that’s never been enough to sustain a person, but it has to count for something.

We’re here and we need to show up for the fervor in our veins. We need to set up camp in this spot we’re occupying and mold all of our hopes into reality with bare hands and deep breaths. We need to give ourselves trophies in the shape of solo dance parties and dessert for breakfast. It’s a big deal, all the summits and finish lines we’re crossing daily.

These moments of victory, they’re your pieces. They’re your life — a stretch of specks, glowing. Cup them in your hands and grip them tight. Do you feel it? The weight of all the things you’ve attained already, of all the things you still want?

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If you can, hold on.

Don’t drop them at your feet and let them collide with the concrete, scattered and broken. Or turn your back and let them go missing. Don’t pretend you’re home in the shadows when you were put here to shine in your corner of this eager, wild planet.

If you can, hold on.

Because the earth is spinning and the moon is rising and the ground is either too still or it’s shaking and things have to matter in the midst of all that space, all that lacking, all that moving. We have to matter. We have to stop and stare at the aspirations we’re aiming for, memorize their contours. We have to reach for our goals but, more than that, we have to hold on and live them until they’re the only truths we believe in.

We can be the fireworks we’re waiting for.

What achievement can you celebrate today? What achievements are you still aiming for?

Images via Chelsie Autumn Photography

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