This past year saw the largest number of life changes yet: 1) leaving my 22-year tech career to pursue personal creative passions, 2) moving out from the city to suburbs teeming with nature and wildlife, and 3) wrangling motherhood with a now 13-month old. My annual reflections have been a little harder to analyze and distill, perhaps because I’m still working on adjusting to all of the changes(!)
When I think about my challenges, these are the three main philosophies that I’m more mindfully practicing. These are thoughts that I’m sure you’ve heard many times before. My blog post goal is that by providing personal context, something may strike a chord of relevance with your present or future life. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet since my philosophical ‘alone’ time is strictly limited; a vocal, fast-moving, attention-demanding little one makes sure of that.
Embrace the rhythm of your life today. Create a powerful musical (a.k.a. life) with movements of highly-charged emotion.
My lifestyle rhythms have ranged from presto (full-speed ahead in my early 20′s: full-time work + getting a Masters degree + participating in an Engineering Leadership program + getting certified as a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt at the same time), to allegro with playful syncopation (having the time of my life in my early 30′s: partying with my girls, traveling the world, blogging about my single life termed ‘Sex and San Francisco’), to dolce patetico (creating a beautiful family in my later 30′s: forming joyful, life-long bonds with my husband and daughter).
At times, my life has been jam-packed, uncertain, exhilarating, and an juggling exercise of multi-tasking career, personal interests (e.g. writing, photography, cooking), and emotions. In marked contrast, my daily rhythm is now languid adagio, strictly dictated by another. A recorded day looks like ‘diaper change, feed, play, nap, feed, play, nap, diaper change, feed, play, put to sleep.’ I laugh to compare how I spent the span of two hours then vs now. Then: lead four meetings, with a pseudo-lunch of a few handfuls of dry cereal and a piece of fruit crammed in. Now: a simple (but soul-sucking) grocery run, to the accompanying tune of crying and fussing.
Each stage – movement, to continue the musical analogy – has its unique challenges and frustrations. Despite those, I’ve always kept driving forward, simply tempering my self-expectations and goals to the rhythm, in order to keep creating a beautiful and meaningful melody. By drawing out and giving myself in fully to emotions along the way, each movement creates a discrete, powerful story.
Your life – described as a musical piece – should be your most meaningful performance. Savor and feel today’s moment as you feel music. And then admire the masterpiece that you are creating. <3
The sum of your life is made up of relationships and memories. Invest in both.
You invest in yourself via your education and career, and continue building upon that throughout your life. But to solely focus on an accomplished life could result in a very lonely life. It’s the relationships – and the continuous renewal of them as you evolve – that create a treasured timeline of memories.
Each life stage has unique elements. That singular juxtaposition of location, social connections, lifestyle, career choice and emotional self-understanding will very likely never come together again. So, along the lines as the above tenet, actively and mindfully nurture those experiences provided by valued relationships.
Your best memories can be stored away and uncorked in the future like a well-aged wine, to laugh and smile over with those you made them with.
Share appreciation with those who give of themselves to you.
As a young child, I loved to settle down in a bookstore and read out loud to myself. When once asked who taught me to read, I responded “no one, I taught myself.” (Apologies, Mom and Dad!) I’ve since learned that any and all success can be related to others: inspiration, encouragement, mentorship, or assistance with the mundane from those who understand just how hard the small things can be. Your strongest lifelong allies deserve to know how much it means.
Thank you Mom, for helping me become more comfortable with my new role of motherhood. Thank you for helping with Leilani so that I can pursue my personal loves of photography, product strategy, writing, cooking and more. Thank you for being there when I collapse from exhaustion in the middle of the day… so that I can re-energize myself with a three-hour nap (such a luxury!!).
Thank you to my husband for enabling me to follow my creative dreams and fulfill my desired role as a present, engaged mother with the luxury of teaching and observing all our daughter’s developments.
Thank you to my soulful, expressive, vocal daughter, for demonstrating a love that makes me feel like we equally depend on each other for happiness and fulfillment. Your little hand on my shoulder or within my hands makes my heart strum with joy; “You are mine and I am yours”.
As I enter my last year of my 30s, I think of how I entered them. I was single and strong enough to know that I’d be just fine, but oh-so curious and impatient to know who would become meaningful parts of my life and how I would evolve. I’m thrilled with how the decade went, and look forward to wrapping it up with a strong year of self-development and family focus. Cheers to a life well-lived, always. <3
xoxo and aloha,