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You Will Never Be Finished: Find Peace by Enjoying Where You Are

Touching the Sun

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~Dalai Lama

“I wish I could do it all over again,” said my grandmother on her 60th wedding anniversary.

“Really?” I asked.

A small smile crossed her face as she replied, “Yes. Because when you enjoy your life—when you really enjoy your life—it just goes by so fast. I wish I could go back and do it all again.”

There was my 80-year-old grandmother, who, in the twilight of her years, spoke to me not of regrets.

Nor did she tell me about all the things she wished she could have done in her life, or wished she had done differently.

There were no shouldas, wouldas, or couldas.

She’d do everything the same. She’d live the same life, with the same experiences, all over again.

I wonder, how many of us will say that in the twilight of our lives?

For many years I wouldn’t have said that. I was unhealthy. I ate too much, drank too much, and hardly exercised. I hated my job in politics and public policy, but didn’t know what else to do in my career. And despite having all these friends and family members around me, I was unhappy.

I lived in my own “dark ages,” until shortly before my 28th birthday when I woke up. Something had to change—I had to change.

That was three years ago.

I’ve since lost forty pounds and three dress sizes, and kept it off.

And last year, after working almost ten years in politics and public policy, I walked away from my job to work as a freelance writer. My new career has gone better than I could have imagined.

I got to this point in my life by doing one thing: by living one day at a time. I focused on doing one thing each day that moved me a little closer to where I longed to be.

When I started losing weight I began with what I knew—running. Then as I grew more comfortable with that, I looked at my diet. After I signed-up for fitness classes, and finally I decided to work out with a trainer.

I focused on finding what fit me best. I let go of the need to lose weight by a certain date, or even that I had to reach a certain number on the scale. My dream was to be fit and healthy.

And as all of this was happening I began to discover things, like music and cooking, that brought joy to my being.

I started to remember things in my life that once made my heart smile, but I thought I had lost forever under the rubble of self-loathing, like writing.

I wrote every day, without expectation, until months later I began to think that maybe I could one day do this for a living.

I didn’t know how that would work, or how to bridge my life from politics to freelancing, but I kept going, one day at a time.

I heard that little voice within my heart whisper, “just write,” and so I wrote. I wrote at night on my computer and in my journal. And then I started blogging. I wrote about my life, but I’d never shared my writing with anyone before, so I didn’t really want people to read it.

But I wrote, and I lived, and it led me to unbelievable discoveries about myself, my life, and the direction I wanted to walk.

I didn’t know if I’d ever reach my dreams. I didn’t know when they’d arrive. I didn’t know who I was going to meet, or where I’d be led.

I stopped trying to figure out, define, or plan every step on the journey to making my life, or my dreams, happen.

I learned to enjoy my life for what it was in that moment. I found peace in who I was, and where I was, without even knowing that’s what I had been searching for all along.

I couldn’t have imagined or planned for the path I took to today—yet here I am.

And even as I live my dreams today, I’ve found new ones have emerged.

These last three years I faced, and I still do today, unexpected challenges, fears, and insecurities. I’ve stumbled. I’ve doubted. I’ve questioned. But I’ve kept walking.

Because through it all I’ve come to accept that everything is a process—my body, my writing, my relationships, my being. I’m the masterpiece of my life, and I’ll never be finished.

I refine, I hone, and then I release what I create, only to start again and again and again.

And so do you.

You are the masterpiece of your life.

And if today, you find yourself disliking what you’ve created so far, that’s okay. Because that’s how it all starts. You can’t change something if you don’t know you want it to be different.

So wherever you are in life, right now, close your eyes.

Breathe deeply. Remember, you’re alive. This moment, it’s just that. A moment. It won’t last forever.

Now imagine taking one tiny step forward.

Just one thing you’ve been thinking about doing, that you’re heart has pleaded with you to do but that you keep talking yourself out of it.

It doesn’t matter what that thing is. Write a letter to an old friend. Go to the gym. Make an appointment with a counselor. Visit your parents. Walk outside. Apply for that job you really want. Get up at 5 AM to watch the sunrise. Play the piano. Just take one step today.

And then take another small one tomorrow.

Let go of having to know what the end result will be. You set something in motion, that’s more than enough.

Let go of having to know all the steps you need to take to make your dreams come true. You know your direction, that’s more than enough.

Trust that your life always turns out exactly as it needs to—even if you look around right now and say “you’re kidding, right?”

Because you are exactly who you need to be today in order to become the person you will be tomorrow.

Wherever you are in this moment, may you know and feel the truth of this…

Today you are perfect. Today you are worthy. Today you are deserving. Today you are loved. Just as you were yesterday, just as you will be tomorrow.

So live from your heart. Be honest. Be open. Be inspired. Be amazed. Keep doing what you love. Keep learning. Keep smiling.

Keep living one day at a time, so that when you reach the twilight of your life, just like my grandmother, you will wish to do it all over again.

Photo by Jozoana

Avatar of Amanda Ibey

About Amanda Ibey

Amanda Ibey is a freelance writer and consultant. Her mission is to help people create peace in their lives, so they can shine. You can connect with her at amanda.ibey@gmail.com or on Twitter, @amandaibey.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Leda

    Thank you. Exactly what I needed to read today, especially after the day I’ve had!

  • Rise

    “Because you are exactly who you need to be today in order to become the person you will be tomorrow.”
    Beautiful post Amanda. Thank You! :)

  • friend forever

    Amanda,

    Thank u Thank u thank u soooo much for your beautiful post and sharing your story. I am in the same place that you are describing- the path where one takes one step. I just took one small step towards my dream this afternoon before I read your post.

    Thank u again. I will keep coming back to read your post :) It really brightened me up and gave me hope.

    God bless! and the best of luck

  • Amanda Ibey

    Thank you for your beautiful words & great job on taking that step!

  • Amanda Ibey

    Thank you!

  • Amanda Ibey

    I’m glad it helped!

  • Jon

    Thank you – I needed to read this today

  • Anusha

    Thank you, I needed this.

  • Esdea

    Very inspiring, thanks! :)

    “Today you are perfect. Today you are worthy. Today you are deserving. Today you are loved. Just as you were yesterday, just as you will be tomorrow.”

    “Trust that your life always turns out exactly as it needs to—even if you look around right now and say “you’re kidding, right?”

    My favorite quote now, best of luck for you in doing things you love!

  • Louise

    Such a good post. You’ve managed to put into words what I’ve only recently been discovering. Thank you.

  • simdelish

    Amanda, what an insightful and inspiring post. You should feel fortunate to have figured this out at such a young age. I am almost twice your age, and have discovered this concept. For the last ten years of my life, I have been sucked into a vortex of pain, frustration, disappointment, (divorce, death, health problems, financial and legal problems), without any control over these things (hence the frustration part). I am, however, finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so now I am running towards it. When I come out the other end, I intend to make up for having lost these last ten years – in the next ten years, by living life to the fullest, and doing/thinking exactly what you have said here. Your words and pearls of wisdom belie your age. Thank you. Everyone should be so lucky as to read your post.

  • pura

    I’m going through this right now. It’s scary to just take that leap but I’ve yet to hear someone regret the decision when they do. Thank you for sharing. I hope I develop courage and find my direction.

  • Amanda Ibey

    What a sweet note, and thank you for sharing! Life truly can take unexpected twists and turns, and for you to realize that it is possible to live your life differently is an incredible awareness. May you find much peace, joy and love by living in that light.

  • Amanda Ibey

    It can be scary can’t it?! I find when it’s scarier for me to stay the same is when I’m ready to take a step forward. I know you’ll discover the courage you seek, and as for your direction…well there’s only one path in life – our own – and we’re always walking the right way. All my best to you!

  • Amanda Ibey

    Thank you Louise! Enjoy the continued discovery – Always :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Thank you for the kind words Esdea :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    You’re most welcome Anusha. Keep smiling :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Thanks for the comment Jon, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. :-)

  • Jenn Hourani

    Wow Amanda… I went through a similar experience a while back and I have to say, you put this into words perfectly. It’s also inspiring to see the parallels in these kinds of life-makeover tales: that sucky middle phase necessarily drags you so far down that you inevitably decide to pick yourself back up, and reach higher and farther than you thought you could.

    The line “You are the masterpiece of your life.” will stay with me forever. Wow. Thank you.

  • http://inpursuitofhappiness.net/blog Miss Britt

    I love the idea of getting to the end of life and wanting to do everything over again exactly the same!

  • t

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/LaMarceliux Marcela Lionheart

    Me encanto , me encanto. Es como algo mágico, es justo lo que necesitaba en mi vida,
    thank you so much, was like a inspired by heaven

  • Angie Kozak

    I love the idea of doing ‘just one thing’. So simple, yet it can bring so much peace or joy or relief or contentment. One thing a day seems possible.

  • Amanda Ibey

    Hi Jenn! Thanks for your comments, and understanding. I love your remark, “…you inevitably decide to pick yourself back up, and reach higher and farther than you thought you could.”

    SO true! It’s kind of like you begin to say, “I didn’t know this was possible,” and then it morphs into an “anything is possible” attitude. All my best to you :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Absolutely Angie! And to some degree isn’t that what many of us look for – a way to bring relief, contentment, peace or joy into our daily lives? Thanks for making that lovely point.

  • Amanda Ibey

    Aw Marcela, you’re too kind ~ and you’re making me blush. Thank you SO much for your kind words. xoxo

  • Amanda Ibey

    You’re welcome!

  • Amanda Ibey

    Me too Miss Britt, me too :-)

  • http://halinagoldstein.com/blog Halina Goldstein

    Amanda, what strikes me most when reading your post is the genuine peacefulness that it radiates. One thing, one day – that’s beautiful!

    I’m reading stories from widows every day, who are in such an emotional turmoil that they would probably say: I cannot decide on one thing. I’m too confused, or too restless, or hurting too much. In that context (and others too) I find your advice: “it doesn’t matter what that thing is (…) Just take one step today” simply brilliant!

    Thank you!

  • Debbie

    Good for you Amanda for realizing to take your life in a new direction. Many people end up walking through life rather than living life. Your grandmother is a wise woman. She new how to live. Life is like a river, one day it takes you in one direction, the next day it can lead you around the bend and find something new.
    Thank you for sharing your story and keep living those moments.
    Debbie

  • lanlone

    I loved it- every bit of it. Thanks Amanda!

  • http://www.facebook.com/katie.delorenzo.90 Katie DeLorenzo

    This was so beautifully written. Can’t wait to share this. You have sparked a light in me, thank you.

  • Smca

    Wow! Beautiful!

  • Amanda Ibey

    Katie – what kind words. THANK YOU, and I’m psyched about you feeling / finding that light. Best wishes :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Hi Debbie! Thanks for the comments. I love how you compare life to being like a river. It’s one of my favorite analogies to use – so, so true! I’ll be sure to “keep living those moments,” and I wish you the same in return. Always, Amanda

  • Amanda Ibey

    Most excellent! Thank you :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Aw, thank you so much :)

  • Amanda Ibey

    Wow thanks for your touching remarks Halina! What you described reminds me of one of my favorite passages from Lewis Carroll in “Alice in Wonderland.” When Alice comes to a fork in the road she isn’t sure which road to take, so she asks the Cheshire cat, who asks her where she wants to go. Except she doesn’t know where she wants to go, so he tells her, then it doesn’t matter which road she chooses. In some circumstances, especially the ones you described above, I totally agree. It doesn’t matter what you choose, or what you do, it’s more about the simple act of moving forward, of owning your life again, that is all that is needed to begin the process.
    All my best to you and thanks again for such a thoughtful comment :)

  • http://twitter.com/vallendior Vallen Dior Pilgrim

    THAT is beautiful!

  • Jennifer

    I read this fantastic post and, right after, got an email from my mom with literally the exact same advice! It totally freaked me out – guess I should listen to the lesson the universe (and some very wise women) is trying to teach me! Thanks for sharing :)

  • SS

    “I walked away from my job to work as a freelance writer.” Gave me the chills–this has been my dearest wish for SO long, and you’ve inspired me to start taking the steps to make it a reality TODAY! You are an amazing, talented writer. This is one of the best things I’ve read in a while. Honest. Beautiful. Good. In love with this line: “I’m the masterpiece of my life, and I’ll never be finished.” Keep writing…PLEASE!!!!! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mahesh.sahu.98031 Mahesh Sahu

    Beutifully written. Thanks for reigniting the power of now.

  • Dina

    wow! so glad i stumbled upon this. Gave me just the right amount of inspiration i needed to get through my day!

  • kevin

    Dear Amanda, your words and encouragement hit me like a lightning bolt at 4AM as I was searching online for the “truth” like many sleepless nights before. I can’t even believe I’m writing this. You see, when people see me from the outside, I shouldn’t be this insecure or lost. Despite all the homes, toys, and things that I own that people dream or read about on magazines – I still feel something is missing. I don’t know what that “thing” is yet. And I suspect I may never find it, but as you put it – it’s the process or journey that’s important. So, I will take your advice and take that first step starting today even though that journey might never end.

  • Allister Lam

    You have found the secret to life, Amanda. I’d like to add one more piece of advice. Learn to forgive. This is something I’ve noticed that was a block to obtaining true peace in my own life. My motto is: Happy, Healthy, Wealthy – maximize all 3. ;-) Peace to you and all in the New Year. Feel free to FB connect if want to trade advice. I think our stories are similar. I plan to reshare your article there. The top thought leader I’ve run into who uses peace in a business context is Tommaso Arenare. His article on disruption and emotional intelligence was transformative. The rest of his writing was eye opening for me especially in context of the business world. I’d encourage anyone reading this to read his work. http://tommasoarenare.wordpress.com/tag/emotional-intelligence/