The year 2020 is over. It’s true 2021 didn’t get off to a great start, but I feel there is a light in the not too distant future. We will all be stronger and perhaps even changed because of the life we’ve endured with the pandemic.
Some of us have learned that we don’t need to drive everywhere and were forced to think of new ways to work, live and play. I planted a garden and created a landscape for the first time in my life. I started off with a bunch of rocks and a few plants and vegetables. Now I have a healthy, fresh garden with glistening stones that I give attention to everyday. It’s a part of me that I never new existed. I thought the only thing that really mattered was accomplishing work using my mind. This new part of me has spilled over into 2021, and I want to step outside my comfort zone even further.
I’m reading a book by a young Japanese man —Fumio Sasaki — called Hello Habits: A minimalist’s Guide to a Better Life. I’ve read possibly thousands of books by psychological and spiritual masters, however, for some reason this book is hitting me at the right time in life. It’s pretty simple: Getting rid of the habits that don’t serve us, creating new ones, and putting real strategies in place for how to do it. One aspect really resonated with me that he writes about. All of us, especially in our middle years, can take heed: to do whatever it is inside of you now!
With a fresh year in front of us, we can take the lessons of 2020 and go outside our comfort zones, be open to the new places inside of us that haven’t yet been expressed. For example, I always wanted to play the piano but thought one day I’ll get to it. But now is the time. I ordered a new keyboard with lessons and I figure if I practice on a regular basis, I’ll be pretty good in a few years.
Since I hit 55 I’ve caught myself saying I’m too old for x, y or z. But then I look at people like my therapist who didn’t get her PhD until she was 65 and now she has a thriving practice at 75. She’s also an architect and is full of wisdom and insight. Had she said she was too old to go back to school, I would never have gotten the benefit of her unique nurturing care.
I used to think of New Year’s resolutions as one big thing that I would accomplish. Since I’m a big picture thinker, I would soon get discouraged because I was after instant gratification and didn’t want to trudge through the incremental steps it took to finish it. Thus, I would start big projects, quickly get overwhelmed, and sadly they would sit and get buried In piles of notebooks covered in dust.
So instead of trying to tackle a mountain, this year it’s about the everyday practice of creating a new habit. Not looking for big results, moving forward one step at a time even if I’m not in the mood. Keeping focused, not getting distracted by a thousand little nothings. As Theodore Roosevelt said: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.