I apologize for my hiatus. I’ve been dealing with some health issues, trying to catch my breath (thanks to standard busyness), and enjoying 5 much-needed days of vacation. As a result, I’ve been coming to grips with my humanity, trying constantly to channel my vision (of a peaceful me rocking on a porch and drinking coffee), and remembering that one of the benefits of vacation is that it serves as a reminder that everyday life can be much less exhausting than vacation. I’m happy to report that (1) while I’m not as healthy as I thought I was, my health issues aren’t incurable (#445); (2) I am learning to make healthy choices – mentally, emotionally and physically – that will improve my everyday life (#446) mentally, emotionally and physically; and, (3) I have made peace with so many, many things in recent weeks (#447).
Of course, as has become the norm, record numbers of you visited this blog during my hiatus (#448). I suspect the subject matter herein must have hit a nerve...
You see, we live in what can be a frequently self-centered, arrogant and ungrateful society. And those of us who want to be more enlightened individuals – who want to be thankful for what we have and grateful for life’s little pleasures – find ourselves unsure of how to carve out our own peace in the midst of the aforementioned madness. We seek tranquility in the face of chaos, humility in the face of greed. We aim for loving-kindness when others shoot for power, profit and fame. How, then, do we proceed?
That question was the impetus for this project. Sure, I was going through a difficult period, which was preceded by job loss, unemployment and a relationship crisis. But I knew I didn’t have to be tossed about on the waves of those personal catastrophes. And I knew that it was possible to live a life of quiet contentment, inner peace and deeper meaning, because I’d witnessed others who’d cultivated such an existence. I wanted with all of my might to create an inner sanctum that allowed me much-needed respite even when the world around me seemed a mess. I wanted to find the places, people and things that would help me undertake that creation. I wanted peaceful and fulfilling experiences, and I knew no one else was going to give them to me. I was going to have to construct them by myself.
That understanding is why I created this project. And I’m incredibly glad that I did (#449). Not because it’s answered all of my questions or has been a silver bullet for all of my problems, but because it’s taught me how to live. It’s taught me to look for the good even when I am overwhelmed by the bad, and it’s showed me the importance and value of humility when I am tempted to be angry and arrogant because circumstances seem unfair.
That doesn’t mean that I haven’t stumbled and fallen at various times along the way, as my friends and family would attest. My journey – our journey – is a battle against human nature itself, as I’m fond of reminding you that David Foster Wallace suggested. But over the past 9 and a half months I know I have made progress. And I’m both humbled by and grateful for it (#450).
It is in the spirit of that growth that I have decided on a way to conclude this project (and, therefore, end this blog). I will be spending the next 77 days (that is, through the 365th day of this project) recapping the 50 lessons I’ve learned from this project and what they mean to me. I won’t pretend that these are the 50 lessons all of us need to learn in order to live happy, healthful and successful lives. (That would be arrogant, wouldn’t it?) I just want to meditate deeply on the many instrumental lessons that I’ve learned during this process – in times both good and bad. I want those lessons and experiences to be the foundation I build on for the rest of my life, because I think they’re that important to my well-being, and I’m that thankful to have learned them.
So, be on the lookout for these last 50 reasons, which are also the overarching lessons I’ve learned during the course of this project. I hope you will join me on this journey’s last leg; it’s thanks to your readership that I’ve managed to complete it.