2016 has been a wild ride for me in many ways so far, and I’ve often felt like I’m in the back of a roller coaster train that is wildly out of control. As I have a propensity to do, I’ve taken on far too many commitments in my professional life- all good and important things, but I am finding myself physically and emotionally drained, short tempered and forgetful..and it’s still January. That’s just not me (okay, maybe the ‘forgetful’ part…I am a woman of fifty-three). I’ve always maintained a frantic schedule (Mom used to say that I ran around like my hair was on fire.), but something is different this time. It truly seems that I have reached a crossroads in my life. I have some important things to figure out, and I know the road will be a rocky one. The important part will be to find my touchstones of joy along the way to get me through whatever comes along.
How do you find and hold onto those anchors of joy when you are being buffeted about by life? It’s so easy to give up responsibility, to blame others, to blame your parents, blame your past. I don’t want to live in that paradigm, though. It is important to me to understand what I’m going through, figure out the why’s, learn from it all, and hopefully come out on the other side a stronger, wiser, and better person. Easy to say, but hard to do, isn’t it? I look back on my life with the wisdom of hindsight, seeing the many mistakes I have made, the choices that took me in a direction I never intended to go. I also see those times in light of what I learned and how they set me on better path, one that I would never have taken given a choice. Perhaps there are two sides of me- the side that has a certain wildness, prone to making wrong decisions- the very human side- and the other side, the one that always tries so hard to tamp down that wildness, to be the person I hope to be.
For me, I have to focus on gratitude- gratitude even for the most painful lessons. I can’t ever feel sorry for myself; I’ve been blessed with such great love, with opportunities, with long and wonderful friendships. I have a loving home with a man who cherishes me, a career that challenges and inspires me. Any one of those things is worth whatever tough lessons I have had to or will have to experience. I want to wake up grateful each and every day, even if there are tears on my cheeks and an ache in my heart. I want to feel the strength that wells inside of me- the same strength my mother demonstrated throughout her life. I want to give myself permission to feel what I need to feel, allow myself to be human and fallible…and to pick myself up and keep moving forward. Forward is the only way, no matter what. When I can do all of those things, I no longer have to look for joy…joy finds me.