Gifts I’ve Received This Year


A New Distinction

This year was insane. On more than one occasion I literally lost track of myself, needing to ask:

  • Where am I?
  • What day of the week is it?
  • Where am I supposed to be?
  • What am I doing?

Or more accurately, WTF am I doing right now, and why? (excuse my language – I often use a tone with myself that I would never use out loud with you…)

One gift I received this year was a new distinction between OVERWHELMED versus OVERCOMMITTED.

Overwhelm is the emotional response I have when I tell myself “too much!” From there I slide into panic and paralysis, where I spin in the vortex of busywork and procrastination, avoiding all decisions yet beating myself up because I’m not getting anything done.

Overcommitment, on the other hand, is simply a data point, an observation that I’ve said YES to more things than I can reasonably complete in the time available. For overcommitment there is a solution: step back and prioritize, say No, renegotiate deadlines, and ask for help. Boom.

The Speed of Life

Two months ago, I shared a big Aha! I took from a futurist I met at a conference: Today is the slowest day you’ll ever experience for the rest of your life. Accepting that as true has felt very freeing. Instead of beating myself up for being behind, I take a breath and remember that everyone around me is feeling the same thing. I’m not inadequate, just…normal.

That’s a gift, to give myself permission to be human.

I wish the same for you this year.

Happiness is the Station, not the Train

Another gift this year was a reconnection to the transient nature of Happiness. Even though I teach it, I sometimes forget that Happiness is a place to visit, but not necessarily a place to live. Happiness is only in the Now, today, this moment, and it’s so important to stop and notice it, to smell the roses or enjoy the conversation or savor the experience. To say, “isn’t this nice?”

AND to move forward in life we need also Ambition, Optimism, Determination, Perseverance, Hope, Expectation, Grit, Curiosity, Confidence, and a whole bunch of other future-focused emotions to help fuel us through the obstacles and challenges on the journey.

To build a metaphor, Positivity fuels the Train on which we want to travel. Happiness is available at every station along the way, and we certainly want to get off and spend time with it. To keep living, though, we must climb back on that train and look ahead, trusting we will find more Happiness at the next stop.