I was listening to an interview this week with the founders of Sweetgreen, the salad restaurant chain, on an NPR podcast called How I Built This. In talking about their early years and the challenges they faced opening and growing their business, they said, "We always told ourselves: Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you'll be able to see further."
I love that idea.
This Memorial Day, I'm thinking about the people we've lost this year, not only to Covid and in combat, but to other causes as well. I'm thinking about change and goodbyes and instability—the passing of all the things we thought were true and absolute: freedom to travel, brunch with friends in a crowded restaurant, movie theaters, schools, solid immune systems, and steady work. But even pre-pandemic, there was no such a thing as "knowing" or "controlling" the distant future. It was easier though, back then, to pretend we had a grip on it.
But coronavirus aside, ten years ago, we couldn't have foreseen the specifics of our professional or personal circumstances today. And certainly, as recently as tenweeksago, we couldn't have imagined life as it is now. The truth is that our odds of being able to guess or predict what we might experience a year into the future (or five or ten) are slim at best.
The intriguing thing about that is it means the future is malleable. Imagining a life where your body fits you just fine, or your divorce is over, or your creative project is finished, or you've signed a lease or moved on to a new job, might be challenging—but that doesn't mean some (or all) of that reality isn't on the horizon. When we hold the long-term more lightly, we open ourselves to more possibilities.
We may not be able to see very far around the bend, but we're pretty good at taking next steps toward what wecansee... if we can raise our eyes from the ground in front of us long enough to make a conscious choice about which next step feels right.
Last week, we identified things we're already doing to support our well-being, without too much effort or drama. As we stumble into summer 2020, with everything changed and unpredictable—I'm wondering what we're stumbling toward. I'm wondering what those daily and weekly rituals are inching us closer to.
What can you see from here? What next step feels right?
With my book launch scheduled for December 1st, I have no idea what the world will look like. I don't know if I'll be able to do a book tour or revisit the amazing, thoughtful groups that gathered for my last launch. I don't know if I'll be able to visit indie bookstores or if kids all over the country, including my son, will be able to go back to school. Who knows?! But in a strange way, learning to flex like this is a relief. All we can do each day is show up the best we can, and that seems like more than enough.
When we get there, we'll be able to see further too.
If you want this to be more than a passing thought, share your thoughts with a friend or write them down. We don't have to know where all of this is going to end up, to continue moving in a direction that feels right.
Wishing you a peaceful Memorial day,
My next right step is connecting with you more because your stories and emails are the ones giving me life... and these fur balls are happy to keep me company while I'm at it. I can't see much beyond that, but the view from here is indisputably great.
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