Hi friends, how are you doing? As 2018 comes to an end I’ve been reflecting on all the things I’ve experienced this year starting from the month of January. It would have been nice to keep a journal to document everything I learned but I never manage to write in one on a consistent basis. I figured that since I have my blog now (which is basically like my online journal), I will have the chance to start writing and summarizing everything I experience each month. I will call them journal entries.
Note: I think that is also the beauty of having a journal because after many months or years you can return and visit old memories.
Without further ado I thought it would be a nice mental exercise to list all the lessons I’ve learned this year, as I remember them:
One of the unfortunate realities of life is that we all must die. No big reveal there, but what hit me is how much more often I meet friends and families at funerals. There are those who I haven’t seen in years, and I remind myself to make sure to reach out afterwards, or we both make promises to each other to keep in touch, until the next time we really meet is at another funeral.
It hits me that as I get older so are my loved ones, especially the ones who were part of my growing up. And it feels one by one, one less person remains, and I wonder what lessons am I learning? What kind of life do I want to live that when my turn comes, there is more to be said. One thing is clear to me is that I do not want a big fuss at my funeral. I have never enjoyed being the center of attention. I prefer to work from the side, and the idea of celebrating me in any form has always unsettled me.
I find it extremely easy to give, but receiving always made me feel deeply uncomfortable. as I attend more funerals, more realization that my time on this Earth is short, the question that keeps coming up for me is: “Am I living the best possible version of my life?” There are days I can say a resounding yes. On the days, I can be of service to others, on the days I can listen to someone without judgement, on the days I can perform acts of service.
Yet there are more often days when I am not the best version of myself, when I make up stories on why I am not writing, when I am not visiting or spending time with loved ones, when I don’t follow my passions a chance to breathe. But mostly, it’s the deep-lying regret of losing connection with so many in my life.
I have been blessed to have been on the planet for 47 years, yet I struggle to remember if what I have been up to matters. And so in 2019, I begin anew to do better, be better, to connect, to love and then yes, perhaps be in touch with the ones in my life no matter how long ago that was.
It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost here. In the morning quiet, I contemplate what the new year will bring, but then again I realize that in order to move forward, I get to look back and see how far I have come forward or back. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to see some goals that I write year after year still looking at me, mocking me, making feel that I got nothing done this year. Then I look at all the new unexpected things that I also added that made my life not only better but different.
I also there is a long road ahead, and there is so much more I need to do, or do better. To make others feel acknowledged and loved, to let them know that they are thought about even if I don’t see them regularly or if I do to find better ways to show my love for them. Each day is a new 24 hours to spend either the same way or maybe, just maybe a bit differently. I keep thinking of the quote by Jack Kornfield (but most often wrongly attributed to the Buddha), “the trouble is you think you have time.”
It is true, I forget that I meant to tell my dad more often that I loved him, or to my aunt that her joy in the world brought me joy. And now it’s too late. It hits me that I spend more time doing tasks or being in service, yet those closest to me (my wife, mom, sisters) don’t get as much intimate time as they deserve.
So I spend this Eve making the promise to make those around me feel more loved. If I manage that, I consider 2019 to be a success.
It’s strange to realize that 2018 is done in 20 days, and a new year begins. As I review my Law of Attraction of Planner, I am struck at how many goals I stated, and how few I finished. It seems that when I do not keep my vision in front of me on a constant basis, I forget. That’s the other thing. Keeping track of all that I want to do, to foster the intimate relationships I wish to foster, to be in service, to be a full time attorney while also writing. Inevitably, something gets left behind.
Each year, I fill out 50 goals that I wish to achieve in my life. I then put a timeline on it, yet every year there are things that just don’t make the cut or never get done. When I am not focused on my vision, no! when I am not ruthlessly focused on my vision, daily life and distractions take over. The dreams of vacationing quarterly fall away to random getaways because I didn’t take the time to plan time for us to do things. So we repeat the same places well because it’s just easier.
So as the year ends, and I review my actions, I do see sprinkles of hope, and areas of improvement. I do see movement forward and some backward. So I review my visions, write down my 2019 goals, and know that I may not get to all of them, the important thing is that I did the exercise and know what is important to me. And then maybe, some day, one time, they will become to important that I will get off my butt and do something about then.
On November 30, I managed to write 50,100 words which under Nanowrimo meant I had written a novel in 30 days. Yet I also know that those words will never see the light of day. You see, all of writing is revision, yet what I wrote not only is beyond revision, it was also not my intent. I used Nanowrimo to force the cobwebs off my brain, and recreate the habit of writing daily. I wanted to get the joy back into creating a fictional story, to go into a world of my creation where I was God.
As time goes by, I realize that one of the things I discard easily is my habit of daily writing. Reason being is, it is just too hard to sit there day by day to create something and because I Am a panster (someone who makes it up as he goes along), it feels as if I am wasting time. That I could be doing something else of meaning. And so I convinced myself to stop writing, yet there wasn’t a day that I didn’t think about it. And then it hit me that just like being a lawyer, the real reason for giving up was fear. What if I wasn’t good enough, what if no one read my stuff, what if I was a failure. And that insecurity convinced me to let go of writing.
Yet I never really wrote for others. I wrote for myself, and if others read then, it was an added bonus. Getting readership or being published has never been my goal (although it would nice) because when I wrote daily, it helped me to get what was inside me, out. I wrote because it helped me make sense of my world. And so I am grateful for Nanowrimo for rekindling that joy in me.