I will be shelving the conversation about Angeles Arrien for now as the end of the decade hurtles at us and thoughts often turn inward at the New Year. I recently had a conversation with a client in which we were reflecting on the question that if circumstances haven’t changed, what has changed that he is so dissatisfied. Well, duh, right? He changed. Not so obvious though.
What is it with we humans that we don’t actually expect to change? In college we engage in a fair amount of navel gazing trying to figure out what to major in, then in early adult hood we are trying to find our place in the world, trying to find satisfying work, trying on potential partners for size. But then we settle in – and expect for circumstances to maybe change, we don’t expect ourselves to change. But, we do. New values emerge, new interests. We learn more about ourselves and develop. While many find comfort in predictability, others get bored. Although we expect ourselves to keep a herculean pace all the time, if there is no relief from constant stress over time, people get burnt out. Symptoms of boredom and burnout are extremely subtle: exhaustion, irritability, insomnia. You may feel depressed for no apparent reason.
Maybe you’ve changed but failed to notice it. If this resonates for you ask yourself:
• What used to give me pleasure but now feels like chore?
• What do I daydream about doing but seems too (new, outrageous, not like me, unusual, inconvenient) to even research.
• If I could wave a magic wand and never do one thing again what would it be?
• What makes me smile that never used to?
We don’t answer these questions to create an impossible list of more to do’s. What the answers can do is help you see how maybe you’ve changed, and how you might think about changing your home or work landscape to better suit the way you’ve changed. To better suit who you are now. Food for thought.
Next week: Why ‘New Years Resolutions’ are just another way to make yourself feel terrible. And don’t work.