It’s been a while since I’ve waxed poetic or philosophical or issued an unbridled rant – so, happy new year!

I used to walk through airports, wondering where people were going, why they were in such a hurry, imagining the stories behind the faces. And the faces – I admit, I grew up on 1980s pop culture brat pack movies and I believed beauty lurked in romance. Or maybe it was the other way around.

And I spent many years looking for the happy ending, the stunning match, the confirmation that life imitates movies or perhaps it was the other way around.

So last month, I ended a tumultuous year with four solo days in Mexico with a beach so vast and soft, I could have walked clear around the earth. In the early morning sun and in the setting sun at day’s end, I walked the sand, invigorated, inspired, ignited by the crash and ebb of ocean waves, marveling every time at the way it gave its gusto slam onto the shore only to pull back in retreat.

Again and again and again. The waves would always be there, rocking in shades of blue and screaming their utterances, then whispering them, too.

The marble floors were soothing. The winter-warm breezes like kisses. Sunshine, cloud cover, fish fresh from their catch, drinks sipped in soothing utterances. I read books. I took notes on Life As I Know It and sketched out Life As I Want It To Be.

And when I came home, this is what I had gathered:

* Every person should ask herself, if I could do anything, what would it be? Then do that thing.

* Instincts are the most powerful force we have. Listen to them.

* Money ceases to matter when there is no meaning attached. And even so, money comes and money goes. Shoot for the meaning.

I once read a very thin book of Jewish scriptural thought called Thou Shalt Not Want. It explained the Talmudic perspective on income, which was basically that if you exert the exact amount of effort required for whatever your task in life is, you will be fine.

You can kill yourself to work overtime, but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with more cash jingling in your pocket. You can shlub around and do the bare minimum, but we all know that won’t cut it either.

The whole perspective, summed up in less than 120 pages, was, do what is required of you and you’ll be taken care of. Not a sit-and-let-the-Higher-Being-provide way of looking at things. A strive-for-balance-and-you’ll-get-happiness approach to the necessity of working for a living.

In this new year, this new decade, this second-third-fourth chance at starting over and creating new beginnings, do what really matters. Only you know what that is so only you can measure your success.

And banish all those outside voices. If they don’t get you, they never will.

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