Jules Verne wrote the classic novel Around the World in 80 days In which Phileas Fogg comments at the end of his trip, while under the impression that he has taken 81 days and lost a wager depending on its completion in 80 days:
“I saw the world. I learnt of new cultures. I flew across an ocean. I wore women’s clothing. Made a friend. Fell in love. Who cares if I lost a wager?
I have just finished posting daily for 80 days in a row on a blog I started on April 1, 2013. Today is day 81. It was difficult for me to not take a single day off from posting, because I tend to be quite wordy at times and many of the posts ran well over 1500 words. It was a long journey. I didn’t do it because of a wager with anyone. It was actually a personal challenge to continue to do so until I felt that my story was finished. What I have learned is that until I breathe my last breath my story of life, as I have lived it, loved it, and laboured through it will never be finished.
Yes, I too, like Phileas Fogg, have seen the world, but mostly from my doorstep as it moves its glories past me, rather than it being me who was moving past its glories.
I didn’t learn much of new cultures, but rather I learned more and more about the culture I am a part of, sometimes in joyful celebration, sometimes in deep grieving with and for those who have suffered great loss during the past 80 days.
I didn’t fly across an ocean, but when I was sick, or tired, or even frustrated by a lot of things, when I waited patiently for God to get me through it He did. In fact He gave me the ability to rise up above it, almost as if I had the wings of an eagle as described in Isaiah 40:31.
I too have worn clothing that might have defied society’s norms as much as Phileas Fogg would have by wearing women’s clothing in 1872. If anyone had dropped by while I was sitting in front of a keyboard in pajamas til mid afternoon on a week day just so I could finish what I was writing they would have been shocked! Prior to this writer’s journey it was certainly not my usual habit.
I have renewed old friendships, when I reconnected with some of my childhood friends who made me aware that they were reading and enjoying my blog. I also have made some new friends out there in the great ethereal web when they began reading my posts and I reading theirs.
I did not fall in love, but I stayed in love with the man I am married to, and he stayed in love with me, despite the papers, and notebooks, and old journals and photo albums that have somehow come into the foreground of our lives. ( “Big mess” is a less euphemistic way of saying the same thing.)
As far as me losing anything by taking 80 days in a row to concentrate on my writing, and tackling the endeavor like it really meant something to me? Well, I learned that it really did, and certainly does mean something to me. It has become a very important and valuable part of my life that I wouldn’t give up for anything now.
I am, however, the writer’s equivalent of travel weary at the moment. Beginning today I will be cutting back to posting only every other day. And by the way, on the 81st day Phileas Fogg, thinking that he had lost the bet, discovered that he had forgotten all about the international date line and that he had in fact met his goal to do it all in 80 days. He had in fact won! And actually, so have I!