excitement

You know the feeling of excitement. Your pulse quickens and your body movements speed up, along with your rate of speech. Your thoughts are focused and you are eager for experience. Your eyes sparkle.

You know the feeling, but when is the last time you experienced it? Excitement, like playtime and fits of laughter, is often relegated to the realm of children and the immature. But this feeling of enthusiasm and zest can be a powerful tool for charting your course, and discovering your true purpose in life.

The waning days of winter are actually a good time to get back in touch with the ideas and experiences that excite you on a cellular level. Naturally darker and colder, winter tends to make human beings feel “blah” – but this is the perfect condition for being able to notice the things that make your heart pound.

If you have to work to support yourself (like most of us), you cannot let unbridled passion rule every waking hour – but refusing to honor your excitement at all will starve your life of the verve and motivation that is crucial for human happiness. Excitement comes from a place beyond our conscious minds, where deep-set desires incite actions and emotions. Notice and nourish your excitement, and you will connect with your soul.

How do you follow your excitement? Here’s the path:

1. If you’re struggling with a big decision or major life change that seems unclear, try to decipher which choice makes you more excited. Which city should you move to? Which man should you date? Which dog should you adopt? Which job should you take? While logic is important when dealing with decisions, your emotions are even more so. Excitement is a message from your body and your brain, so listen!

2. Maybe you aren’t at a crux in life and have no major decision to make. Maybe you feel “stuck” in a daily monotony that is stretching into months – or even years. Take hold of the horns of your life by delving into your sense of excitement. Get a pen and make a list (right now!):

What were you doing the last time you belly laughed? What were you doing the last time you screamed in joy? When did you last experience a sweet feeling of exhaustion that was SO worth it? Make the list as long as you can, and then curate it to find the experiences you can re-introduce to your life. Now put one on your calendar and start making plans.

3. When you follow your excitement, you’ll find that the path often changes – and that’s a good thing. While some of the experiences that excited you as a child or teenager may still be going strong, there are others that you may have lost your passion for. That’s okay. It takes courage to admit that your interests have changed, especially if parts of your identity are wrapped up in them. Have some of your past passions atrophied? Are you still hanging on to these familiar, comfortable experiences that once excited you, even though they no longer do? Let go of your curdled passions, and you will make room for your true excitement to express itself. Make another list:

What scares you? What fun things would you do if money was no object? Where would you go? What activities or hobbies have you always wanted to try? If you knew you had 6 months to live, how would you spend your time?

Discovering new passions is one of the keys to aging with grace. Listen to your inner eagerness, and your excitement will fuel you with happiness and health.

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Image: Pink Sherbet Photography