For the past eight years, I have left the New England winters behind to explore warmer regions of the world. Why do I flee every winter as soon as the New Year arrives? There are the obvious reasons such as sunshine, swimming year round, and staying physically active outdoors. Then, there are the more hidden reasons buried deep inside my mind.
The winter is dark, quiet, cold, and long. It is the season for turning inward. It is a time for digging inside ourselves to find inner peace. We get a chance to pour some light into the dark places of our souls.
While I see the value of self-refection and setting intentions for the next year, I have always been eager to explore new places and quickly move on to the next journey.
Transitions are challenging for me because they usually mean less structure in my schedule. They allow for feelings to come up that are not always pleasant. I suppose I have been somewhat afraid of where my mind would go if I stayed home all winter.
I am not the only one putting pressure on myself to constantly be in forward motion. It is expected of young adults to go to college, get a job or internship, and plug right into the workforce as soon as possible, especially when one has college loans. Slowing down, taking time off, and setting goals that really line up with our dreams is not always encouraged.
I tend to do things a little differently, wouldn’t you agree? I am facing pressures that tell me to keep moving, flee the cold, and stay busy. I doubt I’m the only person who has the thought creep into my mind, “I will be happy once I______.” Or, “I can relax once I accomplish_____.”
In fact, we all can be completely happy and content right now even without all our ducks lined up perfectly. I try to turn that buzzing mind off for a moment each day and focus on all the things that make me happy and the people I love dearly.
Regardless of the season, this past month has been full of more challenges than I ever thought could be thrown in my direction. The series of events are so brutal I had to let go of the belief that “everything happens in threes.” More like, “when it rains it pours.” Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more intense, when the physical and emotional pain was too much to bear, the Universe pulled another carpet out from under my feet.
My most dedicated blog reader, Uncle Andy Jacobson died after battling cancer. Uncle Andy commented on every blog post I wrote. No matter how many jokes he made about my manure caked boots or smelling like a goat, he always encouraged me to follow my heart with this farming venture. He even sent his daughter up from New York City to work with me for a week last summer at Old Friends Farm.
Andy loved to tell jokes and he could make the entire room laugh with just one perfectly timed word. He modeled what living life to the fullest really means. Andy shook us out of our shells and pushed us to the edge. His life’s work as a graphic designer was built upon his brilliantly creative mind.
I have very fond memories of going down to NYC and staying with him and the family when I was in high school. I would sit in the study scanning every book on his shelf feeling how vast the world and how expansive the human mind. I never really enjoyed reading or writing in school until I spent time in that study. I would read for hours. My hand tried to keep up with my mind as I jotted down notes in my journal.
Thanks to Andy, my passion for writing was born.