Personal Writing

I’m FINE. How are you?

I’m restless and testy these days. Dr Marry would say he’s walking a bit on eggshells, not entirely certain what exactly is going to “set me off,” but certain that something will. And he’s not wrong.

Spring is often a weird time for me. I yearn for the longer, warmer days and chafe at how slowly they arrive here on the Great Plains. The transition from winter to spring is like climbing a meteorological mountain. We make incredible progress but then fall nearly all the way back to the bottom only to have to slowly slog up that slippery edge, out of winter and into spring, once again. And again.

I’m facing some professional challenges that also feel like mountain climbing, too. This one isn’t slippery; the challenge on this climb is that there are many paths from where I stand, all making their way up. While they all feel like they would be fine, I know there are some that will be better than others. Not easier, but better. How to choose?

After I wrote a post about the recent talk I gave, a (re)Discover Your Spark retreat taker wrote to me and said:

My youngest sister and I used to play with “FINE” as an acronym. We had heard it as ”Feeling Inadequate, Need Encouragement” and would redefine it to what we were feeling. Maybe for you right now it’s “Feeling Indifferent, Need Extraordinary.“

She perfectly summed up where I am.

I’m feeling indifferent about so many things in my own life even as I reel over all that is going on around me: passing the recent two-year anniversary of COVID shutting down nearly the whole world and revealing so much rot in humanity; real despair about Ukraine; the sham hearing of the incomparably qualified Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson; the environmental crisis happening all around us.

Where is the extraordinary?

A sunnier person would come up with a gratitude list comprised of morning cups of tea, sunshine even on the windiest of days, recent travel with family, health and more to offset the indifference and despair. I am absolutely not discounting all of that, but path choosing, setting a new course or staying the current one, is at once weighty and insignificant.

After all, assuming no one else steps in and makes a choice for me, my life can continue on exactly as it is and be quite fine. More than fine by many standards.

But is the current path extraordinary? I’ll leave that answer for another day.

So how are you? What’s your mental state these days? How would you use the acronym FINE?

For some prompts, see if any of these words resonate for you. Feeling _______________________

  • Idiotic
  • Illogical
  • Immature
  • Immobile
  • Impatient
  • Imperfect
  • Impoverished
  • Incensed
  • Inept
  • Inferior
  • Injured
  • Insignificant
  • Interrupted
  • intoxicated
  • Invalidated
  • Irrational
  • Irresponsible
  • Irritated

Needing ________________________

  • Ease
  • Education
  • Elation
  • Elegance
  • Elevation
  • Eloquence
  • Emancipation
  • Embodiment
  • Empathy
  • Enchantment
  • Encouragement
  • Endearment
  • Endorsement
  • Endurance
  • Energy
  • Engagement
  • Enhancement
  • Enjoyment
  • Enlightenment
  • Enrichment
  • Entertainment
  • Enthusiasm
  • Equilibrium
  • Equity
  • Excellence
  • Excitement
  • Expansion
  • Extravagance

I’m so grateful my friend wrote and shared her thoughts because they’re the engine driving me to choose a path and get going. Fine is such an insipid word to me, but I love having a new way to think about it. Now, when someone says, “How are you?” and I answer “I’m fine.” I’ll know I’m secretly working on finding the extraordinary, whether anyone else knows it or not.

I hope you’re fine, too.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.


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