In the month since reading the book, I've been considering "What Now?" almost daily. It seems that I am at an eternal crossroads in almost every area of my life. As I talk to my friends and my family I realize that many people are doing the same thing. So I thought it might be helpful to detail the way I'm framing up this question to myself in an effort to answer it as effectively as possible.
Career: My friend, Susan, whom I consider my career guru, is always concerned about the story that our careers are weaving. And this is especially important for us 30-somethings. We have amassed a good deal of experience and expertise and we may be teetering on a taking the plunge into a higher level position a a big company, starting our own company, or making a career switch. How are those pieces weaving together into one cohesive story? When have we been happiest in our careers? What skills are we happiest exercising and what skills do we still want to polish up? These questions help me think about what's next for me.
Relationships: A tough one for us single 30-somethings. We've likely had a number of relationships at this point. And we've gone through the highest of highs and lowest of lows in love. We've had our hearts broken, perhaps broken someone else's heart, walked away, been walked out on. We've loved and lost and loved again. Some people think this is the time to find a husband or settle in to be single for a long time to come. I don't. There's a calm that has settled in for me around love in the 30's. Either it works or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, I've given up the sadness and sulking of my 20's - it must mean that I had better get back out there because that relationship just wasn't the right one for me.
Friends: My friend, Amy, and I always talk about how important it is to get energy from our friends rather than have or energy sapped by people. My friend, Kelly, describes it as not wanting to be around people who suck our will to live. A bit dramatic? Sure. Accurate? Definitely. We have just so much time to devote to people in our lives. Make sure that each one enriches your life. It's not easy to clean out our lives of old friendships that don't work anymore - for one thing, we may find our lives have more holes than we'd like. But the good news is that if we do that we'll have more time for the people in our lives who really matter to us, and you'll be surprised what good fortune finds you when you make room in your life for it to stay awhile.
Happiness: This is the area of my life I work on the most. It effects our health, the foundation for every other area of our lives. It effects those around us. A recent study found that surrounding ourselves with happy people has enormous benefits - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I think about what's next in my life, the greatest consideration I give is a decision's effect on my happiness. And having that one guiding principle, light's the way.