The first thing to remind yourself of is that it is OK. It is OK If you’re staring ahead at what feels like a sea of uncertainty and an ocean of wonder. It is OK if the sparks have died down and the flashes have faded. It is OK. Because while you are used to driving at 80 miles per hour, it’s important to remember Cheryl Strayed’s words: “Travel by foot. There is so much you can’t identify at top speed.”
See, it feels like you have been traveling by car and plane and train for the past year, moving so quickly that you couldn’t ever see it all. It felt like there was always some other bright burst just around the river bend. A trip to Australia. A huge promotion. Jumping off cliffs in Jamaica. Falling madly in love. 2018 was the year of off-the-chart spikes. But you hardly wrote. You hardly reflected. You never really took it all in. And now you are back to wondering what’s next.
So you spend your days wanting and wishing and waiting in a way that feels all too reminiscent of your early twenties. You think that maybe you should do the showcase again. Maybe you should sign up for a feature set at Busboys and Poets. Maybe you should take a class. Maybe you should read more. Maybe and maybe and should and should. Your hands feel idle, and that unnerves you because they haven’t felt that way in a long time. You’re bewildered by your quiet mind. You worry that you are the kind of person who can’t ever just sit still and be satisfied. You wonder why it feels like your well is always running dry.
This is the time to once again remind yourself that it is OK. Because the hard and even truth is that this is a year where you will have to build. It is a year where you will set the foundation for some time down the road when you once again experience the spikes. This is the year where you will save money. Pay down debt. Start your MBA. Create the blueprint for this new job. Fall more deeply in love in a way that is less spark and more substance. Plan a future together. Shut out the noise. Focus on being present. Practice empathy. Work on letting your armor down. Weather the storms of uncertainty. Prepare yourself for lifelong partnership. Face the demons that are still haunting you. Face the demons that you didn’t even know were there.
This is not the year to jump off cliffs and dive into oceans. This is the year to make peace with your feet digging into the rocks.
Yes, this is the year to trust Cheryl. Travel by foot. You will see so much more of the world, of your beloved, and of yourself that way.