During the waning days of 2022, many—including this writer—got more reflective. It’s not that at the stroke of midnight on December 31, suddenly, everything will be magically different. Of course not! However, one chapter and year draws to a close, as another opportunity opens for inspiration, new experiences, and hope.
Someone shared with me the Latin words, dum spiro spero. As I write these words looking out the window overlooking the sea, I think of those words, their meaning, and the life path that will continue to unfold—until it doesn’t. In short, dum spiro spero means, while I breathe, I hope. And, as this most challenging year begins to dim, that idea fills the corners of my mind.
I spend my days in thought leadership writing and doing a lot of research. I don’t think people understand how much time writers spend preparing. As a result, it requires an incredible appetite for learning and an insatiable curiosity to know. Writing takes a lot of inspiration, knowledge, and understanding—at least, it does for me.
When I was younger, I thought someone or something (a book, or spirituality) could provide me the answers for the path forward in life. As we all know, there are massive amounts of internet content. And, if you look at the book titles to purchase, well, it seems that everyone is an expert on something. Some expert with wisdom and years of living, I was sure, would offer the solution. It never happened.
Today, I know that’s not possible. Sure, sharing inspiration and experiences are always worthwhile. So is doing something good for others, including the people in our military. Understanding the journeys of others is almost always a worthy endeavor. (I think we do too little of getting to know each other). Still, the lesson I’ve learned in all the decades I’ve been privileged to live is that everyone is an expert, and no one is an expert.
Since the first people walked this earth, countless ideas and words have been shared by people much more learned than I could ever hope to be in this life or any other. Of course, some people have shared incredible wisdom and thoughts. Indeed, there’s lots of inspiration in the stories we each share, prose, poetry, or philosophies ever written.
Still, there are moments such as these when everything is quiet, and one considers, well, what’s next? What’s the inspiration I need to keep going? What’s the plan? Where does my personal story lead next? The only answer I’ve learned for answers to those questions is that nature provides enormous inspiration, as do the people in our lives.
The rest of it, the plan, the “what next”—there is no pat answer for everyone. Everyone is different, and because we view the world through our filters and, essentially, live such a substantial part of it in our minds and hearts—alone—there is no correct answer. Just stay as close as possible to nature, and as Shakespeare wrote, in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”
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