Friday, April 6, 2012
Dear Photo of My Youth: One would think I’d have figured things out by now. At least the part about what I want to do with the rest of my life.
When I was sick, my only desire was to “get healthy again for at least a year.” That wish seems well on its way to being granted.
Now, I find myself with a new desire: Make each day count.
But how? My very wise brother laughed when I told him I was going on a retreat with a group of strangers to help me figure this out.
“You don’t need strangers to tell you how to make your life count! Just look within,” he said – or at least my paraphrase is what I heard.
I’m one of the fortunate people who wakes up in the morning when she will. I then have the day before me and can choose how to spend it. Sometimes I have appointments on my calendar, but I really love the days where my e-mail notifies me “You have no scheduled activities today.”
For a few months, my motivation for getting out of bed was coffee dates. I had an overwhelming response to my blog invitation and I reconnected with a good many people, enjoyed many pleasant surprises in getting to know some of my acquaintances a little better, and generally savored feeling good again.
But it wasn’t long before savoring didn’t seem like enough. For me, simply “doing whatever I wanted” brought some nagging feelings. So what if I finished an 800-page novel in record time? Or watched Downton Abbey on Netflix three times? Who cares if I got through my list of chores? What’s the good in that?
The “good” in savoring life is bound up with: 1) figuring out who you are and boldly BEING who you are, and 2) influencing life around you in some positive way, which for me naturally must include other people.
In a few weeks I’ll let you know what the strangers at the retreat have to teach me (!), and in the meantime, I intend to continue creating mini adventures for myself – some so trivial I don’t want to bore you and some so promising it’s too soon to talk about.
I find that when I get up in the morning and tell myself “today I’ll do something different, be a little brave, and see what happens” – well, something delightful usually kicks in.
My message, then, is: Don’t wait until you’re a year away from Social Security to learn who you are and be who you are. Life will most certainly end and you don’t want to be left with regrets.