I am currently reading a book I borrowed from my cousin. She came to visit and said: "I have just finished reading this book and you need to read it too". So I am reading it. And it is already making me ponder so many things!
It is called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and you can find more about it here. I am only at the start but more than a really good read, the book is a very good "make you think" kind of book.
During my read I came across this sentence in the book, written by W. H. Auden:
"Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass without impunity."
And that sentence has been engraved in my mind for a couple of weeks and it has really made me think. Because it is so true! Before we are twenty we are just young and that is it. Then our journey to adulthood begins. We start to take on responsibilities, some along the way form a family, finish studies, go on world travels. We know little about the world and life in general.
Then we stumble across difficulties, we always say yes because we are just afraid to say no, we go beyond ourselves to please others. We never question our elders orders or requests, we live running from one place and errand to another, we fail and feel disoriented, meet people that in the end we discover were not who we thought. We suffer, cry but mainly feel that we are really no good.
Then we grow a little more and start reflecting on each and every single one of those things. Does it really have to be like that? Is it really my fault, my duty, my failure? Do I really need to do all that, be all that, change all that?
And if we really, really grow a little more, we find the answer, which sometimes will be yes but others will be no. It is finding the difference between what we must overcome and what we should not that makes all the difference. And that road is long, tortuous and hard. If we learn the difference by the time we are forty then probably, as the author of the book reflects, we will be much happier.
Why? Because we become ourselves. We become truer to our nature. We are no longer eager only to please others but we learn also to please ourselves. Me becomes Me.
It is not easy and we will fail and fall but as adults that we have become we will for sure overcome these minor things and just be more of what we want to become. Yes, because we will want more, we will become more demanding. Not of others but of ourselves, of life, of happiness and fulfillment.
For me, the last couple of years have been a true lesson about life and this road we travel in. And still I am sure there will be so much more to learn. Hardship sometimes, pain and sadness others but I am sure that now that I am more Me then I have ever been, happpier and more satisfying moments will happen.
Four or five years ago, I can't really recall, we started passing News Year's eve alone. Just the 5 and now the 6 of us. We don't dress up for dinner but we prepare a fun meal and all the children help. Sometimes we dance after dinner, sometimes we play games and wait for midnight to arrive. We always eat twelve grapes at the strokes of midnight and we jump from chairs or sofas (or beds) when the new year begins. With our right foot of course.
And on the first day of the year we take a photo. Again we don't dress up but everyone has to wear something new (that we normally keep from Christmas presents). Just this yearly photo makes us see how much our children have grown (and we aged!!) but it also reminds us why we get up every morning and smile. We have accomplished so much! We have so many things to be grateful for! We, as family, become more WE. And that is quite a thing!
My parents, me and my brothers are a WE family! I know that for a fact and it is one of the things I treasure most. And now me, my husband and children are becoming a WE family too! And that makes me happy, makes me want to work, makes me get up every morning, makes me want to enjoy the journey.
And that is a very good thing to want! Happy New Year everyone!