In a conversation today with a coworker the topic of the “winter doldrums” came up, in which my colleague shared, she was just “trying to get through the grayness to get to the beautiful spring days.” I empathized with her, concurring that these gray cold days definitely put a damper on feeling enthusiastic about doing much after the work day.
Yet, as I reflected on my comment I realized that it is only our thinking that makes this so. A typical work day for me isn’t impacted much by the weather. I listen to my book on tape driving to work, watching the sun reach new heights; I jump out of black Betty and into progressive elevators that place me in the same building day by day. Most of my day is unscripted, often going with the flow of the daily challenge or upcoming deadline. I choose how I want to spend my lunch hour and what I want to focus on each night. Yes, I don’t spend a lot of time outside, but I still revel in peering outside my windows at the snow and little walks to and from retail locations.
What I have come to realize is that life is one big ball of clay, dictated by how I want to shape it. So often we become trapped by time, feeling as though it is slipping through our fingers or that “someday” won’t arrive soon enough to bring us what we desire. What we fail to see is the power of focus we have over all our days. Time is completely relative, only geared to what serves us, whether we unintentionally choose our master or deliberately do so.
We define a season in time for ourselves by finding focus. All seasons offer us something unique to do with its time. As an example, I am a voracious reader this time of year. I currently have four non-fiction books I am working toward completing, taking notes and learning, like it’s my job. I’m also on a kick to save extra money and de-clutter my life, resulting in a surge of e-bay listings and trips to the Salvation Army.
Now this may not sound thrilling to many, yet it brings me incredible joy because I know I am living intentionally. Making the most out of the resources I have, like my husband’s 1981 Dukes of Hazard Uno Game and turning it into gold. Well, not quite bars of gold 😉 but a little dough in our PayPal account toward the dreams of our future. Also, letting go of the clothing “I might wear someday,” making room for closet clarity and hopefully providing someone else with a new outfit, refreshes my soul.
Instead of taking long walks around the neighborhood and socializing outdoors, I retreat into the silence of the season to focus. I think about how I’m spending my energy, space and financial resources—is it getting me where I want to be or hindering me from my ultimate life vision? Is my vision still the same or has it changed with new insights from last year? Do I have the clarity I need to make the decisions required to get to the next step in life or is there something I need to let go of?
In the face of all this momentum, I do find myself flirting with procrastination more than I would like. The indulgence of a Sunday nap, an evening Pinterest fest or finding the best deal on new shoes is no stranger to me. I used to feel guilt about these things, but now I understand that it is part of the process as long as I continue to push myself to relish in the time to focus and drive clarity when my energy levels are higher.
To enjoy this season, find time to engender the clarity required to realize what you need to focus on to live your best life. Release yourself from the guilt of feeling like you always need to be productive. You need the ebbs and flows to stay focused and strong all year long. Relish in your ball of clay.