I know this may sound crazy, but I think he hit the nail on the proverbial head. I, too, feel that intense longing, and I am haunted by it. What is it? How do I need to respond to it? What will quench it? Those are the questions I've pondered for the last year in particular, and I've tried to satiate them with various people and things that haven't done the trick. That is why I decided I needed to take a step back and breathe for this 90-day period.
Those of us who are doers, you see -- who always feel the need to act and are impuslive, often need to let our interests guide us and relax. Otherwise we end up running in 15 million unfulfilling but exhausting directions. Sometimes we need to guide our passions, but sometimes we need to trust them to guide us in the right direction. Sometimes we have to make our own opportunities, and sometimes we have to let them present themselves. Sometimes we need to act immediately, but other times we need to be patient. Sometimes we need to whip ourselves into shape, and other times we just need to listen.
It is in that spirit that I decided to write a letter to myself this holiday season, per Ali Edwards' suggestion (#259).
It is 17 days until Christmas, and this is your favorite time of year. It means love, hope and laughter – spending time with family and friends and taking stock of what really matters. You look forward to this time of year for 12 full months and mourn its disappearance when it ends, though you know it is fleeting and can’t control it. As I think of what to say to you, then – for now and forever, I want to ask you one single, central question: Are you enjoying it?
I know it’s been a rough year… You lost your job, almost lost the love of your life and very seriously questioned whether you’d lost both everything you ever worked for and not insignificant portions of yourself as a person. But on both fronts, I can assure of you this: you didn’t. You made it to the other side, and you’re a better person for doing the difficult work of honest self-reflection in the wake of those experiences.
You’re doing okay. You’re going to make it professionally. And for now you are absolutely in the right position. You’re still going to leave a long-term mark on the world and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the least fortunate. All you learned was not for naught. Your relationship with Mr. Wonderful is better than ever, and it will continue to grow into the future. Your body and finances will soon recover; all you have to do is make good choices on a daily basis. Just be kind to yourself in the process. This is of critical importance.
Go slow. Take a step back and accept life as it is, one day at a time. Enjoy it. Experience it. Do the best you can every single day, and nothing less. Taking care of tomorrow today is not an option, so listen to what you hear in the quiet moments of this season. Then stop doing and start responding to that still, small voice you hear in the midst of them. You will find yourself and all you ever wanted as a result of it, and I think you’ll be surprised at the beauty that emerges.
You reap what you sow, dear friend, and you’re a loving, giving person. So breathe, love and give. That’s all. That’s the secret to your happiness.