“At this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be,” said President Biden in his speech on the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. “Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation.”
Decisions can be hard to make. Yes, some are easier than others. But making the decisions that will change your life? Well, that can be pretty difficult. You have to be brave to make hard choices. You have to be willing to push through the discomfort. You have got to stand in your truth and be willing to see it through.
As this new year begins, I find myself taking stock of the decisions I’ve made in my own life. That includes choices I made last year, as well as ones I’ve made over the course of many years. I always find it helpful to step back and get above the noise so that I can look at what’s working and what’s not. I like to find the connecting threads that tie everything together and ask myself, “Are you where you want to be, Maria? Do you know where you want to be?” Then, if anything feels missing, I ask myself what I can do to make more room for it and drop what might be cluttering me internally or externally.
Several years ago, I wrote a book called Just Who Will You Be? It came out of a graduation speech that I gave at my nephew’s high school, where I posed a question about identity to the young people embarking on a new adventure in their lives.
Today, I realize that asking “Just who will you be?” is pertinent at this stage of my life, as well. I would also humbly suggest that it’s a good question for you, no matter where you may find yourself right now.
Who are you right now? No, not your job or what you do. Who are you as a person, and who do you want to be in this new year? Do you feel good about the life you are living? Is it the life you want to be living? If not, can you create a life you desire, one that excites you, makes you want to get up in the morning, and is steeped in a passion and purpose?
As I’ve stepped back and looked at my life from 30,000 feet, I’ve come to realize that I’ve spent all my time trying to create my very own wildly authentic life. I’ve been trying to build a life that doesn’t look like my mother’s life (as great and as impressive as hers was). A life that doesn’t look like my brothers’ or my uncles’ or my cousins’ lives. Discovering my purpose, following my heart, and living authentically continues to be the work of my life.
As I look back, I now realize that almost every decision I’ve made has come from some unknown place deep within me, be it my soul, my heart, or my gut. Decisions that come from those places might not make sense at the time (and they certainly don’t always make sense to others), but they do beckon us forward onto our own unique path and closer to our own wildly authentic lives.
Growing up as an only girl in a family of guys, I always felt different. I was never quite sure why, though. Was it because I was the only girl, or was it because I sensed a wildness in me that I didn’t sense in others? Did I feel different because I felt more at home with horses than people? Did I feel different because my mother seemed so different from everyone else’s mothers? (After all, she wore men’s clothes, went to the office every day, had a briefcase, smoked cigars, and was a force of nature determined to alter the course of the world.)
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