My birthday always lands dangerously close to New Year’s, which a lot of reflection and introspection packed into such a short time, but I’m here for it. This is hands down my favorite time of year, action packed with holidays, on the cusp of boring winter, time to recover and start anew.
So, this morning, gratefully waking up to begin my 38th trip around the sun, I am snuggled into the luxurious new bedding I’ve splurged on, kind of as a treat, but also just kind of because of Swiss pricing, and I find myself waking with an extra hour than I’d anticipated. So rather than mindless scrolling or email organization, I treat myself to an hour with one of the books I’m reading, “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle.
If there is ever a book you might consider reading around the time of your birthday during an absolutely unfathomable year, this book would be a strong contender. So, as I was lazing about, cozy in my bed, reflecting on the past year and practicing gratitude for the present (something I’m making a conscious effort to do lately), I come across this:
“I understand now that no one else in the world knows what I should do. The experts don’t know, the ministers, the therapists, the magazines, the authors, my parents, my friends, they don’t know. Not even the folks who love me the most. Because no one has ever lived or will live this life I am attempting to live, with my gifts and challenges and past and people. Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.”
The last year has been such a challenge, for everyone, from rampant to disease to social injustice and everything in between. On a personal level, there has been big love, big loss, anger and confusion with so much uncertainty in the world. Then, there were extreme surprises leading to an international move and opening up the next chapter, the state of the world making leaps of faith like this simultaneously scarier and less scary. The text above isn’t to say that help and guidance are out, but it’s a bit of a seize the day in the way that makes the core of you happy. If it doesn’t feel joyful and right, change course. I think over the years I have tended to see this course correction and rejection as failure- “failed” relationships, “missed” promotions, friendships that were no longer suited- but it’s not. It’s building this glorious life, uniquely, the true happiness of which probably looks a lot different between neighbors. There is no road map or instruction book for the journey that brings joy, there is just this time and this year (and this book) reminding that time is right now.
Far from my usual restaurant or hotel review, I leave you with this rambling musing, to walk into town on this dark and cold winter morning in search of a sweet treat for my birthday and to ponder this all a bit more. Thinking to 2021 and what comes next, may this next year make us all a little more courageous to figure out where our true happiness lies. xx