Back when I was working less than ideal jobs, the slowest time of the year for me was winter. The combination of hating how I passed my time with the unremarkable winter days left me feeling excessive. It felt like I was squandering my time because there was nothing to show for it. I wasn’t working a job that mattered to me, I wasn’t progressing in my life the way I wanted to be, I wasn’t doing anything outward that appeared to be important. When I looked outside at the bare trees, my feelings aligned with the season of winter. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a time of dormancy and growth is slowed to almost non-existence.
But even in slow growth we can find hope. As Pietro Aretino says, “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” Yes, I spent a season of my life living in winter. There were many days when, upon taking inventory, I had nothing to show for my efforts. Until one day – suddenly – there was. While it didn’t look like much in the years preceding the present day, I had always been journeying toward the life I envisioned for myself. It just took patience and persistence, and the belief that one day the winter season would come to a close.
At the close of winter, the trees gear up for their seasons of performance: the buds have arrived, tiny flowers peek out. Now my feelings reflect how the trees look. I have the endurance to run full-steam ahead into the rest of my years. Where should I go? What should I do next? How can I best take advantage of this time of warm, inviting weather in my life?
I realize now that my season of winter was pivotal in laying the foundation for my life. I had to slowly grow internally before I could bloom, perform, and be very much outward, as I am now. When it comes to achieving a dream, it always takes the unglamorous work of preparation and persistence.
In her Oscars acceptance speech for best original song (“Shallow” in A Star Is Born), Lady Gaga said it best: “I have worked hard for a long time, and it is not about winning but it’s about not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion . . .”
For me, that dream is to live a life in which each day is better than the last. Some days this is easier to achieve than others, but always it is the goal. Keeping a “discipline for passion” in our lives ensures that we get where we are going, even if it’s not exactly what we set out for originally.
Friends, I’d love to know: where are you journeying to in your life these days and how is that going?