The End of January

It has been a strange month. With the end of the holidays, and the beginning of my month-long birthday celebration, and lots of time at work, the month has sped by even faster than usual. As you can see from my lack of blog postings, I was not feeling very expressive – I have spent most of the month wandering around in my own mind. I felt at odds and felt like I had more questions than answers, more angst than peace.

Like most other Americans, I am hard at work trying to regain my fitness level and re-energized in my workouts with the promise of the new year. Trying to summon the needed energy to add a healthy workout schedule to my already bulging schedule and thinking more about my health than my waistline which I am guessing is a concern that comes with age.

In contrast to this attention to health was so much news of illness: from my dad, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law all with hospital visits; to other friends losing loved ones or their own personal health trials. It struck me as curious that so much negative news would all hit in one month — right after the holidays. Right when I am most focused on my own health.

Then there is the birthday thing: January is my birth month. As a child, I had the unfortunate luck to be born on January 4th; just 10 days after Christmas. My very thoughtful parents always tried to extend my birthday celebration throughout the month given the proximity to the other gift-giving holiday. They took to celebrating my birthday on Superbowl Sunday (back when it actually still was in January) which may explain my ultimate love of football. This year I was blessed by a month of celebrating with friends and family, but somehow never felt connected to the usual ceremonial aspects of my birthday or the usual joy and celebration of the previous year. Instead, I felt a bit melancholy about it for the first time ever. (Please tell me that is not just being 43!)

Late in the month, I received the following quote in an email from Leo’s sister…….

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves,
as if they were locked rooms, or books written in a very foreign language.
Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually,
without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

And that seemed like the perfect message for me this month. That at the point when you find yourself at odds, with questions, with unrest that there is a reason to celebrate the question itself.

As January ends, I am at peace with the lack of answers and letting the questions rest in my soul. And am secretly hoping for answers in February.


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