Disclaimer: This article is an unscientific, un-researched and totally subjective study of human nature, specifically those who often work too hard, don’t enjoy their lives to the fullest and spend too much time either trying to re-live the past, or day dreaming about what their lives could be.
Disclaimer 2: I used to fit in this category and have decided it is an unsatisfying place to be categorized.
Tomorrow we get to say goodbye to 2010. Goodbyes are healthy, cleansing and in may ways, necessary. 2010 may have been a wonderful year for you financially, professionally, emotionally etc., or, it may have been the loneliest and darkest of your life. Either way, show it to the door and get ready for 2011.
Unless you are reading this article while driving on I-66 west trying to get out of Washington for a long weekend, I need to you get out a piece of paper. Sticky note will do. Something to write on and something to write with. Yes, even your Ipad or Iphone will suffice.
Now, write down the first three things that come to mind in response to this question:
WHAT THREE ACTIVITIES DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST? (examples: hiking, writing, cooking, watching old movies, catching up with friends, making new friends, 5k runs, challenging training, skiing, exploring, traveling, knitting, WHATEVER…..)
Ok. If you could only think of 1 or 2, that is fine. If there is nothing you enjoy, well, frankly I don’t believe you.
Please now take a second to think of a time in your life when you felt the most at peace. That day, or week or year where you felt relaxed, whole, connected to the world, your best self. As an adult, has it occurred to you that you have some control as to whether you can be your best self? I hope it has. The world can only influence your life so much, how you respond is totally up to you.
Now, use that pen again and answer the following question:
WHAT THREE ACTIVITIES *(or people, places, etc.) MAKE YOU FEEL THE MOST WHOLE? (examples: church, family, hiking, walking the dogs everyday, time with friends, sadhana or daily quiet time, kayaking, swimming, running, etc.)
Good. Does anything on list 1 also appear on list 2? I hope so.
Last question, I promise. In the last week, have you spent more than 1 hour a day doing any of the above 6 things?
My guess is your week looked like this: frantic post holiday wrap-up, traveling, work, dealing with kids who are not in school, groceries, paying bills, cleaning, laundry, guilt over not sending cards or gifts, frustration that you could work so hard an it was unnoticed… and while these are all necessary things, they may not have made you feel stronger, more whole, at peace. Also, an excuse not to spend time doing happy things because you were so busy – you just didn’t have time.
Ha. I used to believe that too. Buy the gear and let it sit in the basement until I have time. Next winter. This fall. When the kids are in school. When I make partner.
So I encourage you, no, I challenge you to make 2011 different. I think 2011 should be the year for….. your happy things. Those people and places that make you whole.
Yes, this will take effort.
Maybe a babysitter.
Maybe a few less hours at your desk.
Perhaps you even have to re-prioritize and CHANGE. There, I said it. The C- Word. But here is the truth folks.
You are a special, unique and loved individual. Your needs are not the same as anyone else’s. Nor will your passions be the same. Furthermore, the world is not going to gift you time for you to enjoy the blessings of life and or make yourself strong and whole. You have to be diligent and purposeful and create this time. Furthermore, when you do make time to become your best self, the other challenges will actually become easier. No really. Happy people don’t mind doing laundry. (well, ok… that may be a stretch).
So look at the lists above. What is 2011 going to be for you? What makes you so happy, so whole that you can say to your family: Hey, I need your help. It makes me a better wife, daughter, mother, lawyer, nurse, doctor, son, teacher, person, if I get to do ______. Help me make the time.
I am not sure what 2011 will be for me. Perhaps it will be the year for mini triathlons… or Vegetarian cooking… or Yoga… or Hiking with my family…. Or maybe it will be a year for strength, faith, wholeness and all of those activities will be part.
Either way, I am done making excuses and hope you will be too.
Happy New Year everyone. Blessings to you!