Even if your plans have changed, even if your timeline is different, even if this year has not unfolded the way you thought it would — you are not falling behind.
The course of our lives is not contingent upon things happening precisely as we think they should. In fact, it’s often the unexpected that opens us up to opportunities that weren’t crossing our radars, ideas about life, and love, and the world itself, that we hadn’t stopped to consider. If you know that it’s time to slow down, to simplify, to take it easier, to savor your days, to adjust your course — you are right.
You are not straying from the path, you are finally finding it.
You are learning that real growth is not always just constant forward motion. Growth is also staying still. Growth is deep rest. Growth is stopping to reconsider where you’re headed before you arrive there. Growth is letting yourself settle, it’s letting yourself blossom, it’s letting yourself see how much good is already in your life before you hunger for more.
You are allowed to take days to grieve, to do nothing. You are allowed to press your plans back until they make more sense. You do not exist on a single schedule, your fate is not to arrive at each set point at precisely the second you think you should. That’s not what you’re here for. That’s not what this whole thing is about.
You cannot miss the exit.
There are no wrong turns.
Life is a living, breathing thing — because it’s an extension of you. It’s the ways in which you explore the corners and contours of your soul, the way you find pieces of yourself through love, through trial and error, through reaching, through settling down. Every part of our lives exists to teach us something. We are not only making progress when we are clearly, discernibly growing. We are also making progress when we take time to simply be.
The irony is that it’s often the plans that go wrong that teach us more, and show us more, than the ones that go right.
Those words even signify our perceptions of how we are meant to be in the world, that we cannot possibly do anything but what was pre-determined, otherwise we’re failing, and off-course.
The truth that I am asking you to consider is that even if all you did was wake up and keep breathing today, you did what you are supposed to do. Even if all you could manage was to take care of your most essential tasks, you have done more than many can. If you’re able to reach for something just beyond yourself, you should applaud yourself and feel profoundly grateful for your courage, your strength, and your grit.
You should not feel ashamed that you aren’t able to wake up and do that every single day.
You are not a robot that can game their way into an elevated existence, you are a human being sorting through the realities and imperfections of being on this planet, with all of these people, trying to coexist and make sense of it all and come out on the other end a little more okay than we were before.
Our lives are not defined by how clearly and seamlessly we reach each goal, but what we are able to savor from each day. Who were we, and how did we show up, in the simplest moments, in the easiest ways? We are far more defined by the way we make others feel than the way we think they feel about us. We are far more impacted by learning to see what we have as enough as opposed to thinking we’re only okay once we have more. We are far better for taking time to rest, to regenerate, and seeing this not as a stagnation, but a beautiful, and essential, part of being who we are.
May this be the year that you learn slowing down is nothing to be ashamed of.
May this be the year that you realize your life isn’t on any schedule but your own — and you can amend that.
May this be the year you realize you are not only as good as your latest accomplishment was great.
You are not falling behind, you never have been.
The journey has only ever been about learning to find a semblance of peace each day, and it’s often in the quiet, in the unexpected, and in the simplest things that we are given the greatest opportunity to do just that.