Last week, as my family sat together celebrating a New England Christmas, my mother commented on how different this life looked than what she'd imagined when she was my age.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd be living in the Northeast," she muttered as she sipped on a mug of coffee.
"Well then your dreams just weren't very wild, mom," my brother quickly responded.
My senior year of high school, I wrote a paper entitled "I Believe in Adventure." I resolved to live a life of adventure, from the places I travel, to the foods that I eat, and the activities I fulfill in my free time. That resolve led me to a ship in West Africa over a traditional freshman experience, a degree in anthropology rather than a practical career path, work in a pastry kitchen instead of an office.
All my life, I've been plagued with anxiety, stemming from a need to plan ahead. Though the paralysis of indecision can at times be a major impediment, I've learned to channel it for (borderline obsessive-compulsive) good. I seek out all of my potential options, I weigh the consequences of every direction, I make multiple five and ten-year plans, I budget for any outcome, I scour job boards and attempt to envision myself in every position. And I verbally process each path to roommates, friends, and family who all think that I am just a little bit crazy. But within this multitude of plans, I find the safety to dream wild. The out-of-the-ordinary becomes completely manageable; my aspirations find the grounds to become reality.
For most, New Year's Eve is a time of reflection on the year past and inspiration for the year to come. My self-reflection and inspiration occurs all December long. In the season of Advent, I'm encouraged to wrestle with the ever-pervasive holy longing that finds peace in the already and excitement for the yet to come. On my mid-month birthday, I reflect on the things I learned in the preceding year of life. So finally, when New Years rolls around, I am well-prepared to implement resolutions for the coming year. Over the past month, the anxiety has again popped up, threatening to disable me while simultaneously pushing me to broaden my plans for the coming year.
As I embark on the year 2015, I resolve to continue in my wild dreams, to seek out adventure by leaving my plans open to evolve while seeking joy in the plans unfolding right-now.
grant me ease
to breather deeply of this moment,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible,
for me to be,
that I may miss neither my neighbor's gift
nor my enemy's need.
grant...that I may link arm and aim
with the One...who opens my eyes with these signs
and my ears with the summons
to follow to something more
of justice and joy.
~Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace
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