The one change that has changed everything.
Although it is something I have been talking about a lot this year, it wasn’t until earlier this week when the profound effect of this change really hit me. It came to me at the strangest time.
I have been really busy at work for the past few months. Last month I even wrote a post about ways to maintain your sanity in times of busyness. While I had been practicing most of the things I had written about, rule #10 - the end date - kept getting pushed back.
I knew at some point there would have to be an end, but as November closed, and I took on December at the same pace, I began to wonder if I was a hypocrite. How could I be writing about maintaining sanity if I couldn’t even play by my own rules?
This internal conflict went on for a few weeks, as I balanced long hours at work with weekly blog posts, Christmas activities, spending some time with those who are important to me, and a year end meet up for TYS. There were moments when I felt I was failing at my own philosophy.
As I tossed and turned in bed this past Monday night drafting affidavits in my head (and then got up at 3:00 a.m. to do just that) I thought, maybe I am wrong. Maybe it really isn’t possible to achieve “balance” in this profession. Maybe if I want to be a great lawyer, I have to accept the fact that I’m going to be a little crazy; that work might get out of control sometimes and I might lose myself and things that are important to me.
And then it hit me.
Work wasn’t “out of control”. I hadn’t lost anything. Maybe things were a little crazy, but I was enjoying it. I felt alive. I was happy.
I realised that I love getting absorbed in things completely. I choose to let myself get wrapped up in them. I do this in all areas of my life: in my legal work, in my blog, in all other projects I take on, and, more recently, in my relationships. I choose to allow myself to care deeply because that’s when I do my best work. That’s when I make my greatest contribution to whatever I am doing, and to others.
I looked back at my life the same time last year. I was very busy at work. But the feeling was different. While I was mostly enjoying what I was doing, work felt separate from life. It felt like something I "had to" do that was taking away from the time I could spend living.
Now work feels like time I am spending living. Time I am choosing to spend doing something I love.
I will not always choose to make work the part of my life that takes up most of my time, but in the past couple of months I have. And what makes it ok is just that. I chose it.
I now know my priorities. I know what is important to me. There are many reasons why work has been my number one priority these past two months, some extending beyond the actual work itself, to the people I work with and my goals for my own future.
These thoughts flooded my mind as I set out to draft affidavits at three in the morning on Tuesday, and I started giggling uncontrollably. (Those of you who know me well, will not doubt this is true.)
I could have chosen to care less. I could have chosen sleep. (And in fact I have chosen to sleep a lot in the past few days.) But at that moment I was choosing to draft affidavits.
For some reason this was hilarious to me. That I could be happy at 3:00 a.m. drafting affidavits was a little hard to admit, as I thought, this surely makes me crazy.
But the truth is that it did make me happy. I was happy then, and I am happy now as I catch up on my sleep and spend a relaxing week doing Christmassy things with my family.
Life is all choice.
Whether you choose to be a passive player in your own life, or whether you choose to be fully engaged in creating a life you love. Life is chosen.
Life circumstances and the actions of others may be out of your control. "Things" may just happen. But life does not just happen. It is not “just the way it is”.
The way life is, is the way you see it. And the way you see it, is your choice.
I now choose to see my life as my own to create. That is the greatest change I have made this year.
Sometimes the things I choose may appear a little crazy, but the only thing that matters is that they are consciously chosen by me. I am accepting, and slowly embracing, my own unique craziness. And when I do I love all of it.
If I ask myself honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing about 2013. I wouldn’t go back and take out the crazy. I wish nothing more than to continue to live, and to love, this crazy life that I am creating.
I am looking forward to spending the last week of 2013 surrounded by family, friends, and lots of Christmas cheer.
I hope 2013 was a year of much happiness and love for all of you. I will see you all in 2014!