It’s July 31st. It was in the 40s last night here in Vermont. This morning I woke up burrowed under an extra blanket for the first time since May. When I drew my curtains aside and looked out the window, I was struck by how much it already seems like fall! The grass and weeds are turning to tan and rust; the flowers are all blooming yellow with black-eyed Susan and goldenrod; bushes are suddenly laden with blood-red and black berries. The cacophony of birds that woke me at almost 4 a.m. in June has quieted to a sporadic hoarse cackle of crows interjected by blue jays screaming.
Summer is dang short in Vermont. Which underscores that inescapable reality that life is dang short, though we’d rather not think about that. In fact, I would venture that most people do whatever they can to avoid thinking about their imminent departure from this rocky earth ball that will spin through the darkness of space in orbit of our bright G-type star for uncountable millennia long after we’ve been reabsorbed into garden soil. But there I was this morning, thinking about it.
Thus, I added another layer to my definition of success. It’s so very basic. It’s been the title of a book. It’s been touted in career advice left and right: “Do what you love.” If we pour energy into what we love, into what we are so passionate about that we feel we might explode from the pressure of NOT doing it, how can we not succeed? And, how can a life spent ignoring what we love be considered successful?
We each came here with some sort of gift. Who or what gave us this gift and what it means in the grand scheme is fodder for another blog, probably an infinite number of blogs. You know what your gift is. It’s the thing that pulls you, always, to IT. It’s probably the thing that others ridicule, or advise against devoting time to. It’s the thing you always save for last but never quite get to. It’s the thing that will take the most effort to make a reality. It’s the thing that requires the biggest risks, the scariest leaps. It’s the thing that threatens to derail your train.
But to me, success means doing THAT thing. NOW. With all you’ve got. Because the tantalizing bright colors that spring promises always fade, and winter is coming. One way or another.