This photo popped up in my Facebook timeline. Not the greatest picture, but a good reminder where I was 7 years ago. And it made me start thinking about where I plan to be 7 years from now.

Has it been 7 years since I took my travel dream into my own hands? 7 years since I took responsibility for my own loneliness and quit complaining that no one could go on a trip with me for my 40th birthday. (Which had actually turned into my 41st birthday by then.)

7 years since I took a 3 1/2 week road trip BY MYSELF picking up my new friend Jessie (whom I had never met in person) until Denver where we attended a small writer’s conference with a writing friend Danica, my agent at the time, Chip MacGregor, and author/teacher Susan May Warren.

7 years where in Denver I first experienced SWING DANCING (in all my awkward awe,) having no idea of what I was doing, and VOWED next time I went out dancing I would know what I was doing. (Now I teach beginners to dance.)

7 years since I drove Jessie home from Denver to Idaho via Yellow Stone Park and Old Faithful where we got off schedule for over an hour waiting for Old Faithful to blow ( so worth it) and drove, petrified, in the dark on the side of mountain to find a little dive hotel in the middle of nowhere.

7 years since I spent time in Portland with my college roommate Jana and visited Multnomah Falls and Cannon Beach and all the “weird places,” then drove down the California coast to Sonoma Valley where I had my first wine tasting BY MYSELF and then traveled south via the beautiful scenic highway to visit Liz and my family in Santa Barbara before I headed across the desert to see Georgiana, the Grand Canyon and Sedona, then on home.

7 years before SIRI, before smartphone guidance (Thank God for Garman,) with only audio books to keep me company.

7 years when I took my Midlife Road trip that would change the course of my future.

7 years when I decided to start living my life and not wait for things to be perfect to travel and dance and live…

7 years later, my life looks so different. I am different because I stopped waiting for life to happen, for friends to say “Yes, let’s take a trip!” I took control of my life and made little steps forward to get to where I am today.

7 years since I took a good hard look at my life and marriage, my family and friends, and quit living as a victim who just accepted things as they were, and decided to take steps to create the life I wanted.

Was I scared? Absolutely! Did I take action right away? In some areas, but most of my change came from frightened baby steps along the way. From drying my eyes as I forced myself out the door to go to a dance by myself, or wrestled with God over the end of my marriage and the decisions I had to make to move toward a healthier life.

Am I where I want to be at this point in my life? No, and to be honest, it trips me up all the time. I get stuck more often than I’d like because instead of doing the things necessary to move forward, I worry about where I am, and why I’m not where I want to be.

I wish I was further down the road. I wish I had more friends journeying with me, lending support whenever I needed it. I wish someone would snap their fingers, and I’d have everything I ever wanted or needed in life. But truth is, there’s no magic in making dreams come true. (Ask Cinderella. Here magic expired at midnight, and she had to fight her own way out of the locked room to get her happy ever after.)

Truth is, if you want whatever you want, you have to go out and get it. You have to make a plan and decide to act on it. You have to be brave enough to take the first steps alone, if necessary.  And you have to be brave enough to say no to the things in your life that won’t move you in the direction you want to go.

The alternative: stay where you are and quit whining and complaining about what you don’t have and just accept your life as is. If you’re not ready to do that, here are a few questions to think about over the next couple of weeks.

Where were you 7 years ago?
Where will you be 7 years from now if you do nothing?
And are you okay with that reality?

Where do you really want to be in 7 years?
And what are you willing to do to get there?

Honeslty, those are questions I’m asking myself this December. And if you’re ready to ask those questions of yourself, I’d love to hear the answers and support you in your journey.

Only you have the power to get to where you want to be in 2018! But you don’t have to do it alone.

Here’s to our best year ever!