Every December, I do a review of sorts to “close” the year just ended and to create the new year ahead. The assessment typically happens ten minutes before the actual end of the year, and is usually clouded not just by the asthma induced by the smoke of too many exploded fireworks, but also by the exasperation provoked by not having done the review much earlier and with the expected due diligence.
This year, in a minor miracle of sorts, I actually got to do the review half-way through the month—which has given me a lot of time to contemplate what 2012 will be about.
In another minor miracle of sorts, what I’ve decided 2012 to be about is: not very much.
The thing is, after having spent two-thirds of my life in the pursuit of frantic achievement, I’ve finally hit the point where it frankly offers little additional titillation. To paraphrase Candide, I’ve finally found the garden I’d like to cultivate for the rest of my life, and I’ll be more than happy to just settle into my little patch of earth.
And contrary to what I’d expected, the process of “settling down” hadn’t really involved finding an answer to my perennial question about my purpose or vocation. Yes, I’d spent most of my twenties trying to answer the question; and, no, the answer didn’t emerge from those earnest if futile attempts. All it took, really, was simply growing older. My analogy for it is I was trying to swim across a river, attempting desperately to reach the other side, when I could have just floated with the current and expended far less energy (albeit a little more time) to arrive at the same destination.
And now, suddenly, here I am. If I had a chance to advise myself ten years back, I would say: Relax. There’s really no need to worry so much or to try so hard. You don’t need to find the answers. You just need to wait for them.
It took me this long to learn how to wait. And I have to say: it’s worth it.