Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year

Sitting here in mid-January at the computer, I'm looking out at the snow and my un-updated blog and thinking about how I meant to write something here about the new year much sooner than I am. Ah, well. So it goes.

The new year is a great time to take stock, create goals, do some emotional and physical housekeeping, and see where we stand and where we'd like to be. We humans seem to have a need to press the restart button when we can, and this time of year is as good as any.

I've come to the realization in the last few years that I'm a pretty goal-oriented person. This obviously comes as a shock to many of you. Please try to not fall over. However, until recently, I don't think I realized how motivated I am by having a goal. It was just the way I lived my life, charging toward doing, achieving, accomplishing. And I'm proud of myself for doing a lot of the stuff I've done. It got me to and through college with a double major in four years, and through grad school. It got me active and running. However, for much of my life I focused on achieving without really asking myself exactly what I was going for or why it was important to accomplish it. I just did it because it was expected, or enjoyable at the time, or simply put in front of me. Check, check, check.

Living that way can become addicting, and eventually heartbreaking. One of the things I found as I got older is that at some point the accolades and prizes stop. Either you're competing against a self-selected few who are better than you, or you are engaged in something for which there really are no outward prizes. So, when the rewards stop, you must ask yourself....why continue?

The only answer must be that it satisfies in a way nothing else could. The prize is in the process, not the end result. I've found a few of those endeavors in my own life, and seen that the ones that don't meet that standard have gradually fallen away. I've learned and am still learning to just let them go, and to let go of guilt over them. That doesn't mean that these things I am still attempting are easy. In fact, some of them are quite difficult. But tackling something difficult and finding meaning in the process of achieving it? Blessed, worthy, some might say even necessary to our well-being.

So, with that in mind, my focus this coming year is to just be more present. Whatever I am doing or feeling or achieving, whomever I am with or not with, to focus on just being in the moment in the process, to enjoy it just for the sake of what or who it is, not what or who it was, or could be, or is going to be.

Difficult, but worth it.

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