No matter how long I live it is probably safe to say that I am past the half-way point. At 55, 110 seems not only suspect but undesirable! As I consider how I want to spend the rest of my work life--likely another ten years--I am also taking a look at other goals I have held for my life over the years. I am aware that although I can say, "there's lots of time ahead of me" to accomplish certain things, the reality is that it's time to apply a realistic assessment to what matters most and what can be released from my pocket of dreams.
This is about more than updating a list. It is about taking stock of my life in very real terms, and determining how I want to spend the days that remain, and what significance I want them to hold. There's a lot that goes into such a reflection, and to do justice to the effort all sorts of nooks and crannies must be explored and examined. Truth be told, this is an exercise not for the faint of heart!
One of the things that inspires my thinking is the story of a little dog named Atticus and his human companion, Tom. I wrote a couple of months ago about the delight I found in the book Following Atticus, and some of the introspection that Tom Ryan's story prompted me to do. I continue to follow Atticus and Tom (and Will, another member of their family) on facebook and on Tom's blog. I resonate a great deal with his perspective and world view, and feel challenged to hone my own life so that the values I hold within are reflected without.
I've not been particularly successful when it comes to that latter desire. There's a country music song that contains the lyric "I've come to terms with my vanity," and in that same vein a part of the inner work I've done has led me to come to terms with what I call my deficits. I can always try harder, always look for ways to move in the direction of self-improvement, but at the same time I know that some things that have been out of my grasp probably will continue to be so. Part of taking stock means taking into account the things that get in the way, and I have concluded that there are times when the effort to try overcome those obstacles is better spent going around them. This approach is compatible with the notion of playing to one's strengths, something I also wrote about recently.
Back to the desire to reflect outwardly the glow of my inward being. Without boring you with the whole process of how I came to consider the following possibility, I will simply share it with you. I think I will tackle a book. Not a novel, because I think that the one that is drastically unfinished within me is likely to remain so, but a collection of reflections. One of the things I do well is reflect, and the vehicle I often use for that process is writing. I have been encouraged to write. And although there are a couple of topics that have actually found some grounding with me, one in particular seems to be working its way into my consciousness for a serious conversation.
More on that in the next post. Consider this one its introduction.