There have been many moments in my life when I stopped and said to myself, sometimes aloud, sometimes in church, sometimes around small children, sometimes flying through traffic because I’m late to a company meeting, “what the fuck am I doing?” Similar questions could include but are not limited to: “what have I got myself into?” “is this really where I planned on being in my life?” “who else is waking up in a Taco Bell parking lot at 4am with a half-eaten Frito burrito in the passenger seat while wearing pants (not even your own, as if that would make it any better) as a jacket after a night out?”
That last question is a little specific but the answer is no one else apparently. Regardless of where you find yourself at 4am or what types of questions you’re asking, you should understand that course correction is something we have happen to us. We all make choices and those choices lead to outcomes, some seen and unseen. We don’t get a chance to jump back in time or ask for a mulligan. More often than not, we have to face the new circumstances, but how you face them is entirely up to you. I can bemoan the fact that I have to work tomorrow or I can jump into the opportunity and face the challenges of the day. If I don’t like working or would like to change what I do then I have to change course and planning a change is often better than having it thrust upon you.
It is important, at least for me, to recognize that my life is in a constant state of flux. Not always full of huge swings in patterns, people or activities but small changes that make each day unique. This isn’t confined to the physical world either. Sometimes this includes huge swings in mood, mindset and attitude. Today, although similar to yesterday, is still today and whether or not that makes it an opportunity is up to how you face it.
“Okay, so I recognize my life is in flux. What the fuck do I do now, Mr. Guy-who-reads-a- ton-of-books-and-puts-his-opinions-on-the-the-internet-#440,112,132?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. You should *Insert cliché answer here,* buy my book (not a hyperlink) to learn your answer or watch my TEDtalk (also not a hyperlink) then buy my book (just don’t) to learn more.
NO. None of that.
The next thing you do is what you feel like you should do. Especially, if you want to change the way that things have been going in your life. You can click the “X” at the top of your browser right now, throw some shoes on and go for a run/walk. You can open the Grubhub app on your phone, order some pizza from that New York style place you love so much and start up the Xbox so you can watch Netflix, let your dreams die and throw them away with the crusts and the box later that night. You can always do nothing and continue every day as you have before.
What I like to do (besides ordering from Brooklyn’s) is ask myself a series of different questions. Better questions than the long and sometimes open-ended ones we’re accustomed to asking when we feel like things have spun out of control. Questions like “what am I doing with my life,” can be filled with ambiguity or imprecision. “What do I want to do with my life,” can also be plagued with the same problems. You can do almost anything in a lifetime, so that’s too broad for a proper plan. Shit. Even most calendars are broken into months and days. Starting smaller can sometimes lead to better results. This is why I recommend flossing one tooth or making your bed in the morning. Small wins. Now, it’s true that there are some type of people who at the age of 8 said “I’m going to do this,” and now they’re doing that. Impressive but, in my experience, that is not most of us. Certainly not me. Hell, I’m liable to change t-shirts 4 times before I leave the apartment for the day.
I do recommend having a plan. Doesn’t have to be 5 years or 1 year. Doesn’t have to be a week. You can start with today. Committing to it and following through is key. Write it on your mirror if you must. Be prepared with a plan B, if you can manage it. So that if life punches you in the face you don’t fall back into that hole of which you worked so hard to dig yourself out.
Most importantly is that the decision you make is your decision. How you let your life influence you is entirely up to you. I know that I have to want, more than anything, to make the change. This desire combined with a plan can prove unstoppable for the right person. Or the left person. For some of us, however, we have to just leave the car where it is and finish the Frito burrito on the walk home.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”