In a conversation with a friend, I complimented them on embracing more of a digital presence for their organization, given our shelter at home orders. I challenged them to think how they could further expand their reach by using what they have recently learned. What I heard was silence.
It happens more than you think. I too was silent when others tried to expand my thinking. Sharing with me things that had value. Things I disregarded for many months or years. The impact of a friend’s recent silence made me reflect on how I have evolved over the years.
Since childhood, we are taught to solve puzzles. Four pieces, then one hundred pieces and so on. Homework or test problems sometimes feel like a puzzle. Mysteries on TV or in a book are another form. Crossword puzzles challenge those who love words. Puzzles have an ending with a coherent picture of what they stand for when complete. They make sense when put together.
Life has some similarities to puzzles. When retired, we have the years behind us to see what our lives have become. The picture is much clearer than when we were in our twenties trying to find our way. Yet where there is joy and a feeling of accomplishment in completing a puzzle, there is sometimes regret in reflecting on our life lived when retired.
When young, we are anxious about our future. Wondering what will it be. Anxious to see the complete picture as if life was a puzzle to be solved. It is here that my understanding of life has evolved. Life is a puzzle to be built not solved. What do you mean we must build our puzzle called life?
Where I have changed the most, is that I see around me pieces to many puzzles every day. All with jagged edges. Hard to find ones that fit. In the past I would leave all of these puzzle pieces behind me without exploration.
Now I am much more curious to look at them more closely to see how they could benefit me and build further my life. Stopping along the way to notice and explore them before casting them aside. Trying to see if any part of them can be shaped to fit into the puzzle I am building called “my life”.
Puzzle piece after puzzle piece tried with hope. Most times filled with disappointment. But occasionally surprised by the new worlds they open. All outcomes requiring patience and effort to reveal themselves.
To expand your life, you need to build it. Life is not meant to be solved. There are too many pieces and choices along the way. All the more reason, to begin each day with a vision. Building a puzzle is easier than solving one if you understand it always gets built at the edges of where we have been together with some idea of where we would like to go next.