Striving is Overrated

The most fun thing I did last year was to roll down a steep hill, coming eventually to rest on a plateau. It wouldn’t have been fun if I didn’t plan it, but I did do it on purpose. I took to the grass with a friend, head to head, and we rolled like logs, laughing hysterically. It was pure fun, simple, free and spontaneous.

And yet it fell amidst all sorts of efforts and striving towards orchestrating fun events, at finding novelty and delight, attempts at making things happen.

Last year, the greatest leap forward in my personal growth came from doing something I didn’t want to do, that I knew was right. And that came in juxtaposition to my usual attendance at conferences and many plans and much reading and good intentions to improve myself… all a lot of work. Simply doing the next right thing was more powerful.

One of the happiest moments of the year was a brief one outside of a door, on the opposite side of which was my granddaughter whom I’d meet for the first time in seconds. I could hear her faint cries. My son-in-law had just said, “We have a daughter,” and somehow in that moment before the meeting, there was such simple joy.

And of course it was forever usurped by the actual relationship and reality that followed it, the introduction, the chance to hold that baby… all of which was even better than the “about to know” of course. But that brief moment was simply beautifully nonetheless, that moment of not yet knowing what this new experience and new person would be like —  which was soon trumped by the beginning of a lifetime of knowing.

What were some of your best moments, fun things and victories over the last year or so for you? Did they come through planning and striving, or did they just, well, happen when you weren’t focused on making life work?

Sometimes the things we weigh down with expectations take a back seat to the wondrous, serendipitous surprises that sneak up on us.

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