Drip by drip her coffee poured into her cup. Its surface seemed to dance as each drop merged with it. Marilyn held her journal in one hand as she grabbed the cup of coffee with the other. It was raining outside as she sat underneath the porch. The gentle ticking off the rain on the roof reminded Marilyn of her current season in life.
Softly she opened her diary and took a sip from her coffee. She looked out over her small but flourishing garden. The plants seemed to smile at her. They enjoyed every drop of water they could soak up. To them every season had its purpose. The plants only adjusted to the weather and seasons they were in. They never wanted to force a change that they weren’t yet ready for.
‘I worry about my kids.’ Marilyn wrote in her diary. Tom her son was now 22 years old and Jacky, her daughter, was 25 years old. Both in the midst of their young life. Full of energy, full of passion, full of dedication, and that’s exactly what she worried about.
How She Ignored the Seasons
‘My kids have been so focused on being successful. On making loads of money. On achieving their dreams.’ She wrote
down. ‘I see the bags under their eyes. How pale their skin looks. How obsessed they are with success, and how little time they spend with friends, with us… Their family. Their focus in life is to be successful, and to be that they feel like they have to work every day.’ Marilyn paused for a moment, she could already feel the tears welling up in her eyes.
‘My son is so busy trying to be a successful entrepreneur that he gets up every morning at 5 a.m. but also goes to bed at 11 p.m. I feel like he barely gets any sleep, and is burning himself down. Jacky on the other hand is so focused on her career as an art director that she spends almost 16 to 18 hours at work. I see the passion for both of their pursuits in their eyes, it’s just that…’ Marilyn drops her pen and begins to cry.
A small robin flies by, straight onto one of the branches of the apple tree in her garden. It looks at her. Marilyn wipes away her tears. She shakes her head thinking that she is dreaming. She thought that the robin looked her straight in the eyes and whistled a beautiful melody. Marilyn smiled. She hoped that her son and daughter would one day understand the wisdom that this small robin knew.
‘I hope that Jacky and Tom will learn the lesson that I learned when I was their age.’ Marilyn had picked up her pen again and continued writing. ‘It’s no surprise to me that they are so dedicated, so passionate about what they do, that they are at the brink of burning themselves out. I did so too.’ Marilyn remembered how she began her career as a professional writer. She had big dreams, big plans, of writing books, publishing them, and teaching others about the art of writing.
That passion within her was so strong that she ignored the seasons of her life. She just kept going. Writing every day, ignoring how her body felt. Ignoring the signs of fatigue. Ignoring the many signs that the world gave her. ‘I understand what young people are going through,’ she wrote down. ‘Cause I have been there too.’ She looked up and the robin was gone. A sign to her that she was on the right path, the path of the heart.
Successful people don’t just work hard, they have learned to be satisfied with their lives and to live with the seasonality of it.
Following Seasons to Success
‘All these young people are driven, passionate, and have so much energy. Especially now, in this time where they have every possibility, every opportunity at hand to make it. To live a life they dreamed of living. Tom and Jacky are obsessed with being a success in their lives, and I can see why. I’ve seen the videos they watch, I’ve seen the people they look up to. These people have made it. They are successful, have loads of money, but they forget one important fact. That these people are satisfied in their lives and have learned to live with the seasonality of it.’
That’s what Marilyn had to learn the hard way too. She burned out in her pursuit of becoming a writer. She was focused on quick success, instead of long-term success and most of all joy, love, and peace in her life. She let so many amazing people go. She treated her family horribly, and most of all she treated herself as if her body was useless. She abused it, didn’t get any sleep, drank liters of coffee, and didn’t eat nutritious food.
‘I have learned it the hard way, but I hope that soon Tom and Jacky will learn this. I might just let them read what I wrote down.’ Marilyn thought for a moment about the words she wanted to write down.
‘Tom and Jacky, I admire your courage, your passion, and your willingness to make your dreams a reality. I did so too. It has made me the person I am today and brought much good to my life. There is one piece of advice I would like to give both of you. Success is not about the achievements you make or the money you have. I know that sounds like a cliche, but hear me out. Success, my dear kids, is about embracing the seasons of your life. Loving every bit of it. Just like nature does. I know the two of you always loved to play out in the forest, and just like that forest your life knows seasons.’ Marilyn took a deep breath, trying hard to stop her tears from falling on her diary.
Success is not about the achievements you make or the money you have. I know that sounds like a cliche, but hear me out. Success, my dear kids, is about embracing the seasons of your life.
‘Every animal, forest, ocean, and part of this world knows that life is seasonal. That we can’t have summer all the time, nor that we can have winter or autumn all the time. If the summer would last all year round the forest will start to dry out and burn. If autumn will last longer than a few months the rain it gives will soak the lands, making it all go to waste. And so our lives know the value of seasons as well. Tom, Jacky, I don’t want to lecture you. I just want to give you this lesson that truly made my life a success.’ Marilyn took a sip from her coffee, it was still steaming hot. She listened to the rain and smiled.
‘What determines if your life is a success is not the outcome you achieve, not the money you make, or the numbers you hit. What determines if you experience a successful life or not has everything to do with embracing the seasons of your life. Of going with the flow of life. This means that there are moments to shine like the sun in summer, to peak with energy, and to work with everything you got. But just like the seasons, there will be a moment where summer turns into autumn, and we have to begin to let go of parts of our lives that no longer serve us. So that the winter of our lives will not destroy our essence. Just like the tree lets go of its leaves so that it can survive and eventually thrive past winter. It’s in the winters of our lives that we reflect on our essence, on our path through life, and if we are still on the right track. So that when the season of spring arrives we can start to bloom and flourish again. And so that cycle repeats itself.’
What determines if your life is a success is not the outcome you achieve, not the money you make, or the numbers you hit. What determines if you experience a successful life or not has everything to do with embracing the seasons of your life.
Marilyn thinks back to the time when she started to embrace the seasons of her life. How all of a sudden she could experience that feeling of success without actually hitting the numbers of having a lot of readers or getting her book published. She just felt so aligned with the flow of life that everything seemed to go natural. As if everything was already planned out. And eventually, she did earn her money as a writer, she published many books, most of which become bestsellers.
Just like the seasons, there will be a moment where summer turns into autumn, and we have to begin to let go of parts of our lives that no longer serve us. So that the winter of our lives will not destroy our essence.
‘These cycles, these seasons in our lives they don’t go along with the seasons of nature. Sometimes our summers last longer, other times our winters last longer. What’s most important is that we listen to our bodies and hearts. That we rest when we need to, reflect when we can, and use that energy again in spring and summer to bloom and thrive in the new projects we are working on. It’s important to not always do the same things each day, to build habits that last the entire year. It’s important to follow the seasons, to see what you need in the winters of your life and what you need in the summers of your life. Build around seasons and things will start to align and feel effortless. Build around routine and strict guides and your life will feel like one big hustle and struggle. Rest and reflection will only improve the work you create. It will only show that you embrace how life was meant to be lived, and the Universe will graciously reward that my child. So do what feels best for you kid, but know that your life knows its seasons. Embracing them will never harm you. It will only benefit you because you’ll start to align with the natural flow of life. It is that feeling of effortlessness and weightlessness that is the true feeling of success. Detached from any outcome. Fully focused on living life as it is, because remember kids: That today you live! Make the most of every season you get to live.’
Build around seasons and things will start to align and feel effortless. Build around routine and strict guides and your life will feel like one big hustle and struggle.