Can you just sit in contentment?



Not everyone is a fan of New Year’s Resolutions and setting yearly goals, but I am. In the last few years, I have come up with my own little New Year’s tradition. I take out two index cards. On the first one, I write three or four goals on one side and on the other side I write a vision for the year. I usually start the sentence with “It’s December 31 and I have accomplished...” On the second index card, do the same thing but just for the month of the January. I keep the cards handy by using them as a bookmark for whatever I’m reading. At the end of each month, I see how I did and create a new goal card for the next month.


Usually, I can’t wait to make my list, and the hardest part is narrowing it down to just a few things. However, this year I’m a bit stumped. I find myself in a position of being wonderfully content. When I ask myself, “What do I want to accomplish by December 31, 2022,” I’m at a bit of a loss.


In my coaching manuals, I found the term “spiritual energy detractor,” which is feeling a lack of purpose or meaning. But that’s not quite right. I feel a great feeling of purpose and meaning in the work I do and the activities I take part in. I think what I’m experiencing is an emotional hangover of sorts.


Last year, I experienced a lot of milestones events. I reached a point of financial stability, I got engaged and married, I got over my fear of playing my violin in public, I launched a podcast, and in an unexpected turn of events, I was promoted to a management position at the library where I work.


Yes, some of this was due to luck and timing, but mostly these accomplishments were the fruits of the long and boring labor of laying down a foundation and slowly rebuilding my life back up brick by brick after it all came crumbling down a few years ago.


I made some big changes to my social network and was more discerning about who I brought into my life. I did what I needed to do to make ends meet but was cautious about committing to work that would provide only short-term results and make me miserable in the long-term. I invested myself in people and organizations that shared my values and trusted I would see a return on my investment. For instance, I started at the library three years ago as a part-time employee working just 20 hours a week. Three years later, it is now my full-time job that allows me to do programing for my local community. More than anything, I was brutally honest with myself about what I wanted and what I didn’t want, regardless of social norms and social pressure. It took a lot of patience and forced me to make some hard choices and have some tough conversations with myself and others.


All that to say, here I am in January of 2022, standing on a personal peak, and for the first time in a long time I want for nothing. I’ve overcome the chronic struggles I was facing, and I am not sure what to do with myself.

Obtaining all the comforts I fought so long and hard for has created a vacuum that has me feeling uncomfortable. Go figure.

Without the daily pressure of trying to get my feet planted firmly on the ground, I feel a little wobbly. It’s like I was walking determinedly into a headwind that suddenly dissipated, leaving me a little off balance. The more I think about it, this has all the markings of an “opportunity for growth.” Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just rest on my laurels for a few weeks instead of fabricating a challenge for the sake of observing a New Year’s tradition.


During an afternoon of contemplation, I did finally settle on a couple 2022 goals, though not nearly as ambitious as past years. I have my two indexed cards tucked inside my book, where I’ll see them daily.

But I’m thinking of adding a new feature to my New Year’s tradition. Maybe I will let myself spend January just sitting in my contentment. I’ll admit that just the thought is making my legs twitch and jitter. We’ll see how this goes.