Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello 2009!

I know there are plenty of people out there who are making a list of promises for the New Year. This is certainly the time to do it -- if you're going to try to do things differently this is the logical place to start, right? While I have my own list of things I'd like to see happen this year, now that I stop and think about it, those particular really take a back seat to something a little bigger.

Around this time last year I decided that I needed to spend much less time paying attention to the things that drive me crazy. If you look around, there are people who will line up to tell you just what is wrong with you or this planet we're on. Hey, that's what sells newspapers, gets TV viewers and blog readers, right? So, I made a concerted effort to eliminate much of the negativity that passed my way. Did I eliminate all of it? No, but on the whole I think I did a pretty good job.

At the same time, I've spent a lot of time stuck on what I've chosen to see as the disappointments in my life. Notice that I said "chosen to see" because at the end of the day, I'm the one who gets to interpret my life and everything that happens in it. I've spent time pretty down on myself because I haven't managed to turn my education, talent and experience into the type of work that makes me glad to wake up in the morning. That's not to say that a reasonable observer would be wrong in interpreting things that way... but as I was sitting here I realized that in parsing out things that way, I miss the rest of the story -- that since I graduated high school many moons ago, I've found so many different things to be involved in, different work environments and fields, made good friends and colleagues, as well as having experiences that have really helped me understand who I am and what I want. By constantly seeing that I haven't gotten where I want to go, I've been missing so much of what makes the journey worthwhile. There are plenty of areas in my life where I've made that same choice, whether it's relationships or friends or any of a million other things out there.

Last week I went to the movies and when I got out, I went to look for my car and for the life of me, couldn't find it. I knew the general area, but walked up and down the lanes of the parking lot searching without luck. After a while, I finally found it -- but it was much closer than I had expected it to be -- I had forgotten that I parked it as close as I had. As I made my way out of the lot, it really struck me as the answer to a question I've been asking quite a bit these days. What I've been looking for is much closer than I've expected it to be.

So, while 2008 was about trying to pay less attention to the external things I've used as a distraction from the things that are really important to me, I feel like this is the one thing that's been the biggest pattern that causes me to stumble. It's time to see the worth in myself that I've not been willing to acknowledge throughout most of my life. It's time to enjoy the great many things about my life that I just haven't bothered to enjoy because I haven't gotten where I've wanted to end up. It's such a small thing, but something that is so pervasive that I haven't realized just how far the pattern extended.

So, for 2009, regardless of what happens -- I intend to find the best in myself and in the world around me. That really IS the change I've been waiting for.

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