I used to love to plan. These days, I’m weary of commitments. And the hesitancy puzzles me. I’m a planner, a doer, a scheduler, a lover of anticipation. I used to take great pleasure in plotting my calendar, filling it up with meetings, classes, yoga, coffees, and lunch with friends. I find myself hedging when it comes to saying, “yes, I’ll go.” I’m done with that.
What about a year of yes?
We booked two trips for 2022. I’m excited about them, but there’s some lingering disenchantment with the cancellations in the past. Will the trips happen? Do they matter? This existential question is scary. Why do I think about being somewhere else when where I am is just fine?
Because travel opens my world up to new people, new experiences, music, food, culture, nature, beauty. Staying put feels safe. If I don’t plan, then I won’t be disappointed.
I choose to leap over this hurdle.
I now rest in not knowing and not being sure. Yesterday, I bought tickets to Celtic Thunder. The show may be cancelled. But my show – my life – will go on. I will continue to listen, coach, read, write, walk, feel, and ride my Peloton when I need a burst of someone else’s enthusiasm. And believe me, those instructors deliver.
Whether something planned happens or not does not define satisfaction. Insisting that something happens is called control, and I don’t have it. Nobody does.
I’m used to cancellations – flights, dinners, visits. Nothing is for certain. It never was – I was just under the illusion that things could be set in stone. I’m glad they’re not. There’s much more flexibility now, less judgment, more understanding, more openness.
I used to go overboard in hosting at our home. Not anymore. I’m not sure if the gathering will happen. It feels lighter, a lessening in wanting things to be just right.
There is freedom in shifts. The lack of commitment is disconcerting. We expect others to do what they say they will do, to show up. And then a cough or a headache throws the plans in the dumpster. It’s okay. It used to matter. There’s that existential question again. What matters?
Love. Forgiveness. Joy. Pain. Understanding. Empathy.
What matters is goodness and addressing suffering with kindness. Nobody said when we were born that we would not be disappointed, would not fail, would not suffer, would not make mistakes. That was never part of the life plan.
I now accept what is. And I’ll tell you what is consistent – God. And God is good and in us. The good is in the divine exchange we have with each other, with the beauty of nature, with animals, with humor, with the teachings of great writers and thinkers who have carefully crafted their insights just so we can consider them. Such generosity of spirit! And such vulnerability and openness to scrutiny!
The good is in this moment. The good is in being right where I am even when someone I love dearly is missing.
I just have to pay attention.
And that’s what I’m going to do in the new year – pay attention.
Bear witness to beauty, suffering, wisdom, wit, love, inspiration, miracles, others. I’m going to pay attention to my self-centered urges to have others see through my lens, and I am going to practice something different. I’m going to seek to understand. Others have their own lenses. I can marvel at them, share mine if they are open, and not judge.
“Seek and ye shall find.” Seek disappointment, and yes, it’s there. Seek humor, and it’s there in the absurdity of our expectations. Feel pain, sit with the inevitability of suffering, and let it dissipate into what lies underneath – love.
There’s so much gratitude in love.
For 2022, I’m going to pay attention and embrace what I feel, probably in the privacy of my own room if it becomes too much for others! I’m going to open myself up to the source of my longing and share it with my trusted vault of loved ones. I believe it is the ticket to joy and connection. I believe the source of my longing is profoundly beautiful. And it fills my heart with gratitude.