Monday, July 23, 2007

Imagined Endings

I treat every evening like it's New Year's Eve, or my birthday. I spend a lot of time reflecting on where I was a year ago from today. What was I doing? Where was I working (or hoping to work)? Who was I with? And what's changed? My friend Katie recently told me about a book called The Secret. I have been under a rock the past few years, also known as a rigorous MBA program, and I missed it despite the fact that it was on Oprah.

The Secret could be classified as a New Age-y self-help book, not that I've ever read one of course. It bears a lot of similarities to yogic principles - we live the life we imagine. While in general I am a "grab life by the balls" kind of person, I also think there is value in practicing patience over impulse from time to time and this becomes easier as I get older. There is a sweet spot to be found when we can create a balance between being proactive and accepting that certain events, be they incredible or tragic, are necessary to keep us moving forward. Each moment contains the exact teaching that we need at that time.

There is also a fair amount of research to show that between the ages of 26 and 32, women go through a fantastic amount of change, some of it so difficult that we wouldn't wish it on our worst enemies. The person we are at the start of that period and the person we become have a radically different perspective on the world. As someone approaching the end of this period, I can vouch for its validity. And thanks goodness that this is the case. Life really is better once the dust from those 6 years settles.

A year ago I had no way of knowing that the life I have now is the life I could really have. I didn't know how much I could love a job. I didn't know how much I could love and appreciate my family and friends and their support. I didn't know that a city could be a living, breathing entity of its own. A year ago, I thought I had veered so far off the track that I'd never be able to find my way to happiness again. It turns out that I needed a detour not only to find happiness, but to keep it and help it grow to something beyond what my imagination could envision. The turmoil made me appreciate happiness. I wasn't asking too much from life. Just the opposite. I wasn't asking for enough. I wasn't asking for anything. And that's exactly what I ended up with.

A year ago, the most I could do was to ask for a little more light in my life, a little more happiness. And while I was content to let life carry me for a little while, I was also willing to get out there, roll up my sleeves, and get to work building happiness. And I got more in return than I bargained for. Here's to hoping that good karma leads to more of the same.

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