Greetings, dear friends. Here we are again. This is my tenth birthday post and my last as a quadragenerian.
I always reread my previous birthday posts as a pre-amble to writing my annual retrospective. And what a journey it is to process the last decade of birthdays as I’ve chronicled them here. I’m having an ironic laugh over last year’s post in which I was focused on embracing the uncertainty of life as a nomad and how to stay grounded in the process.
Then 2020 happened
Holy fuck-all, what a year. The entire thing falls in the this-was-not-in-the-brochure category. Not just some events or days or weeks. The whole thing. The combination of the personal challenges of pursuing life as a newly minted full-time RVer wrapped in the pile of shit that has enveloped the entire globe has been nothing I could have imagined as I sat down to write last year’s post.
So staying grounded, deliberate, and mindful? Fat chance. I had moments of clarity and balance. But not really that many in the midst of having to react non-stop all year. This year has largely been about MacGyvering through life with a figurative roll of duct tape and a Swiss Army knife. There’s been little room for emotional growth. We’ve been existing in the bottom couple of tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy.
As I look back at ten years of this little navel-gazing tradition of mine, dabbling with where I’ve been and where I want to go, a theme is quite clear. I’m a bit surprised I didn’t realize it before now. Keep moving forward.
In the end, that may be my ultimate mantra. My experimentations with others haven’t been satisfying or successful. But much like the lightbulb moment I had about this little blog awhile back, I realized that’s really how I approach life every day. Get up, figure out what I can do to improve my path ahead, and get down to business. Even in a year like 2020.
And I realize, that’s basically always how I’ve been. It’s just my personality. It’s also the thing that has gotten me through some intensely hard shit in life.
Dreaming and doing
It so happens that I share a birthday with Walt Disney. Granted, separated by more than a few years, but there’s a silly kinship nonetheless. And it’s been said Walt was the dreamer but Roy was the person who made things happen.
I don’t know if that’s a myth or, more likely, a gross over-simplification of their relationship, but it’s something I’ve always carried in the back of my mind. It’s a compelling combination—the secret sauce.
Dreaming, alone, is not enough. Doing, alone, is not enough. Merging those two is how you keep moving forward. Dreams fueled by creativity and curiosity never find their living breath without resourcefulness and action. And doing for the sake of doing without vision and wonder is an empty road to nowhere.
There’s really no secret about our approach. We keep moving forward—opening up new doors and doing new things—because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.Walt Disney
So how does that mindset fit into a year that will basically go down in history as a dumpster fire? How do we keep moving forward in a year that it seems all we’ve done is respond to setbacks, uncertainty, and limitations?
Just like any other year. Keep at it. Keep showing up. Keep entering the arena. Because, yes, this year has sucked. But it’s not forever. Trust me. It will get better. Especially if you choose to change what you can in your personal circumstances to make your life just a little bit better today.
We’ve all faced bullshit on a personal level this year amidst the larger scale that we’re all facing together. But we can’t unpack and live in that mental space, resigned to accept what life vomits onto our plates. Seek changes, solutions, and even compromises, if that’s what lets you move forward. If only a micron. If only so you don’t feel like you’re constantly losing ground.
In all honesty, as I face the last year of my 40s, I feel more than a bit battered. Especially given 2020. I’m a relentlessly hopeful person, though. I do trust things will get better. And I will damn well do what is in my power to make it better.
Keep moving forward, friends.
Steve Zigler says
49? Wanna switch? 🙂
Val Weston says
Ha! And skip the fabulous 50s? I’ve got plans for those years. 😉