New Year, (Re)new You
2019, what’s good? Here’s something to start off the year right from poet Mary Oliver:
This quote gave me the jolt I needed to wake up, on one dreary afternoon in San Francisco. I had just come back from a break where I rushed to post something on my Instagram, respond to comments and check my personal email briefly. As I was sitting down on my desk, I opened an email from Book Riot that listed literary quotes to herald in the new year. Mary Oliver's was one of them.
Since reading it, I've kept it close to mind and heart guiding me through the monotony of my days. The safety and stability of my day job is great but numbing for the most part, as I slog through the workday, collecting my paycheck every two weeks, detached from the work I've been doing for the past ten years. I know something needs to change.
Shout out to Annie Dillard for that last sentence, another jolt-inducing reality.
And just like that, Mary Oliver’s quote catapulted me to thinking about renewal. This one wild and precious life is much too short to squander it on a 9-5. Sure, it's only been recently that we've started to align our dreams with our careers, because for centuries work was meant to be dreary, a means to survive. But nowadays, we’re moving towards work that we find fulfilling, the kind of work that is meaningful.
Is it just a matter then of reframing our perspective on what counts as "work"? Maybe so, maybe not. There are many aspects of how we live our lives that could give us a sense of renewal, that ability to look at ourselves and what we do with a fresh perspective, one that thrills us and harness the gifts we have to offer the world.
It can come in the form of realignment, where we clarify and seek the best of what we can do with what we're currently doing. Whether that's finally being able to write the book we've been meaning to so we can share our story, or pursuing our dreams of starting our own clothing line, it exists to help us stay true to who we are.
It can also come in the form of reaffirmation, where we honor the things we love most about ourselves, as well as the ones we seek to hide or suppress. It's a good time to remember that our wholeness is not predicated on what others or what society seeks to make of us, but rather in the way we think about ourselves.
More than anything, perhaps renewal is not just an intention, but a framework for us to think about how we want to move in the world. Maybe it is about easing up versus working so hard, and focusing instead not on the things that we seek to elevate ourselves, but the things that ground us.