I remember being such an annoying little girl on long road-trips with my parents, well before the day of iPads, asking them every few minutes, “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?”
Funny enough, today, I’m still asking myself that.
How do we know when we have arrived?
Is it working that coveted job? Leaving the corporate job and becoming a holistic wellness practitioner? Getting married? Having kids? Then the child’s milestones and their marriage? Grandchildren? Retirement?
Life tends to slip by so quickly, yet we know all along that something intangible is whispering for our attention. “Is there more?” “Am I missing something?” We don’t know what to do about this nagging, so we refocus our attention on the milestones.
Then, before we know it, the body is ailing and aging. The dreams of youth have given way to the ups and downs and obligations of life. Now the physical body has taken priority over any emotional, intangible sense of lack. Now we have one to a few medical diagnoses and a life history, our story, as we continue to be carried by milestones — birthdays, holidays, summer vacations, graduation, New Year’s…
Such is the wheel of life, and it keeps on spinning.
We’re all on the wheel, that rolls out into a timeline. However, you can stop it long enough for you to see yourself on the wheel. You can evaluate which way you are spinning and change direction if you like, or get off the ride entirely and choose another.
I’m inviting you to pause now on the cusp of this next New Year and congratulate yourself for all the milestones you’ve reached. Take a look at the past 10 or 20 years and acknowledge all the old goals you had and met. Wow! And how about this past year, or even your to-do list from last week.
You have already accomplished so much. It’s so easy to forget, because the old milestones have been reached, and you’ve moved on to the next thing. We can live so much of our lives in a state of lack because our next goals are ever on the horizon. Moreover, we can carry a vague sense of unfulfillment because we haven’t updated our goals and clarified what we truly want now, which evolves as you change.
How are you defining success today?
Professionally, at 28, I just wanted to finish medical school and finally work as a doctor. Five years later, that wasn’t enough; I wanted to learn more about how to prevent disease, not just treat it. After 2 years of Ayurvedic training in New Mexico, I wanted to integrate medicine and build a life in Austin. One year later, I craved financial stability over start-up risk. After two years of a last full return to corporate medicine, I defined success as sensibly building my own thriving medical practice. Now, one year into developing my Integrative practice, in addition to continuing individual consultations, I feel called to share and educate groups as well and write an Integrative book. As you can see, my idea of success at 28 looks quite different than my vision now at 40.
Part of these moments of stillness is to realize that the endpoint is shifting, and therefore not an end at all. Reaching one goal leads to the next. This is also how we know we are growing and is what gives us the drive to be alive.
Congratulate yourself for reflecting long enough to truly see yourself. Present-You loves Past-You for all the lessons you brought it. Future-You loves your excitement but is reminding you that how you do something is as important as what you do.
Stop also to check-in and see if you are creating goals and living your life in alignment with your deepest passions and sharing your most unique gifts. If you are not used to living this way, it can be daunting and feel impossible. However, even a fraction of attention to something you personally desire is better for you than none at all. It paves the way for more. It’s not too late.
So pause with me. Celebrate your life — milestones and goals, past and future. And, as you are drawing up your New Year goals, seek the truest alignment with who you are today, remembering to listen to that inner whisper of dreams that may still blossom if given the fertile ground, the space, for your creativity and play.
Happy New Year!
This content is intended for educational and inspirational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.