The reality of baby steps

by Ginger on October 19, 2010

in Becoming Myself

We say baby steps and we think we mean little, tentative steps toward a goal. We think of them as little by little, measured, a small step toward a fixed location. Urban Dictionary defines baby steps thusly: To make progress on something in small increments.

In reality though, baby steps are more of lurching, flailing, uneven thing. Jackson doesn’t so much step as he lumbers, inelegantly. His movements are jerky; sometimes giant unsustainable gaits, sometimes tiny ineffective steps, sometimes a perfect yet frustratingly slow amble. They are sometimes small, but sometimes not. They sometimes involve forward movement, but sometimes mean stumbles to the ground (or even backward).

Now that I’ve see real baby steps, I think the phrase is even more apt for moving towards a goal, though I will never again think of it as only To make progress on something in small increments. Because when we’re “making progress” we sometimes make giant leaps forward–generally unsustainable long term. We sometimes lurch forward in tiny, ineffective steps. We sometimes stumble, trip over our newly discovered feet, and fall.

But baby steps means we’ll get back up and test our legs some more, and move toward the shiny bright goal. We’ll get back up and lurch forward in uneven, strangely paced steps. Learning to walk isn’t smooth, and it’s not always in small increments. But forward momentum, however much you may stumble along the way, whatever your gait may be, will get you there in the end.

I hope. I want to get there. I want the progress–however uneven.

Perpetua October 20, 2010 at 4:17 am

From the look of the websites you’re doing a great job at the big steps forward! 🙂

sarah October 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I love this. It’s a fantastic way of viewing things.

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