Evaluate Your Life Day.
I am not sure who makes up these holidays, but I’ve started to quite enjoy “celebrating” them.
This one is a bit daunting, I must say.
My impulse when I read this is to start evaluating achievements. (Not surprising… I am a recovering overachiever!)
Have I accomplished enough? Am I where I think I should be at whatever age? What do I have to show for all my hard work? How am I measuring up?
I am going to be really honest here. If I engaged with this line of questioning, I would probably not feel too great at the end of it. I learned a long time ago that I am probably never going to meet my own expectations. Not because I’m not achieving anything but because life isn’t perfect. And life isn’t predictable. And there will always be hiccups and roadblocks and mountains to climb that take me momentarily off course. When I envision where I want to be, I envision a perfect world where all that matters is how hard I work. But that is not the world I live in.
At the same time, I fundamentally believe that evaluation is crucial to both success and happiness. How do we know if we’re making progress if we don’t stop and really take a look? How do we know if we like the course we’re on if we don’t honestly evaluate it? I also think we grow the most when we are honest with ourselves about where we’re at, about what’s going well and what’s not going well. But more than that, if we don’t stop and look at all we’ve accomplished and enjoy the feelings of pride and success, we’re missing out on a huge part of the payoff of all the work we’re doing!
So how do I reconcile these two things? How do I reconcile the overachiever who is always seeking more progress (and thereby is always slightly dissatisfied with the progress she’s made) with the grounded adult who knows that evaluation is really, really important to both success and happiness?
I think the answer lies in WHAT I evaluate.
I have to change the questions I ask myself. Instead of asking myself about my accomplishments, I will focus on progress. Have I made progress in the pursuit of my dreams? Am I moving in the right direction?
But more than that, I will focus on happiness. Am I enjoying my life? Am I at least working towards that? Do I like how I spend my days? Am I surrounding myself with people I love? Do I still feel good about my goals and pursuits? And if there’s something I am not happy with, what can I do to start moving towards changing that thing?
Achievement is important. Working towards a goal is important. But This. Is. My. Life. I only get one and I want to make the most of it. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that a good life for me starts with finding as much joy as I can in as many moments as I can. That is the direction that I want to move in. That is the line of evaluation that matters most to me.
As I evaluate myself today, I can see lots of things I’d like to do better or go better, but I can also see the pockets of happiness I have learned to find. I can see the incorporation of things that make me feel peaceful and loved. There is a long way to go even in this department, but I can see progress. And so I’m satisfied.