Oh 2020, you have really taken your toll on me. Like seriously, my once invigorated self that would jump through firey hoops is now craving a fuzzy blanket, pj's, and about 10 episodes of The Crown. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this shift. No shame in feeling different this year than in years past. For goodness sake, we are in the middle of a pandemic (with hopes of an end nearing). Grace is needed where grace is due. I am preaching to the choir; I have not yet been able to let those words nestle into my bones.
This past year I also noticed a dramatic shift in my ambitions. Things I thought I wanted to pursue and chase with a fire under my feet have lost their sparkle and appeal. But then I started to think, what if our ambitions need rest too? I'm not a self-proclaimed runner, but with what I do know, if we go full speed ahead, sprinting at top speed to the finish line, you're either going to collapse once you get there, or run out of energy halfway. Again, preaching to the choir.
It is so easy to get burnt out on the things we chase after. After all, we are exerting energy to get there. I notice a lot of judgment come up for me around being tired of my ambitions. And then I try to think back to the last time I rested with my ambitions--truly rested. Can't think of the time? Yeah, me neither. Even in 2020, I felt as if I needed to run towards something that was not doable for the year that demanded permission for rest.
And then my brain turns to the next. What will the next year hold? I don't have an answer to that question. I don't think anyone does. We can give our best guess, but unfortunately, a path ahead does not give us the same wisdom as the path once traveled.
So once again, as I do at the start of every new year, I purchase a new planner, I write down a list of ambitions, I set a timeline in hopes that I can accomplish something. Big ambitions, small ambitions, some may call them New Years Resolutions. For me, the sweet taste of new dreams doesn't linger anymore, but the desire to reach them does. However, I notice myself landing on the same question over and over: who are these goals really for?
All my life I have been an achiever. I look back and notice that achieving meant praise from others and a medal at the end of the race. But the validation that comes from achieving doesn't often last, and here I am left with creative emptiness. Am I really achieving these goals for myself? I think as a human race we want to believe there is an underlying purpose to our existence. Working towards something makes us feel as if our purpose is being fulfilled. But what if I don't achieve? Who am I without achievement?
For some reason, this coming year, I have the desire to hold no expectations. There is a taste of freedom and openness in releasing yourself of any and all expectations. I like to be in control, but living with your hands clenched tight on the reins of control keeps you from opening your palms to something greater.
I wrestle with these thoughts of ambitions and goals and expectations and come to the conclusion that I can simply be as I am in this moment. The necessity that once was for achievement is no longer holding me to a standard. Here's to another 365 days: without expectation, with open hands, with prayers of the good to come.