Does the terrain feel familiar?
April 19, 2018

Switzerland“You will look back on the years of struggle as the best years, the most fun.”

That’s what a landlord from hell once told me, and I had difficulty believing him. But he was right. I had more fun between marriages, for example, than I thought possible -- and if you want to learn more it’s in Do-Over.

Why, then, the malaise as I take the first few steps across another mountain range?

Because I’d forgotten how much fun the first time around was actually wrapped in malaise. It wasn’t steady progress. It was fits and starts, little victories mixed in with massive setbacks. It took me a couple of years to feel confident the scenery had permanently changed.

I’d forgotten it wasn’t only fun.

Remembering the life I had then helps me trust the life I have now. That’s why it’s important to save your story. You don’t have to live in the past, but you’d be a fool to ignore it.

There’s a great passage in Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet that goes something like, “Try to love the questions themselves. Do not 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. Perhaps then, someday far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

You know what I feel the best about? Scaling another mountain! I’m at the age where Katie’s friends are asking if her parents are retired. “God, no,” she’ll reply. “My mom is looking at this time as the beginning of her career.”

Is there a sweeter report card in all the world?