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10.27.2011

how do you know?

Most of us stumble through life, not really knowing where we're going or what we're doing, but knowing we've just got to keep moving. Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving on."- The guy was a genius so he must have known what he was talking about, right? In all seriousness, we all go through phases of struggle; ones where we don't know if the path we're on is the "right" one. We question our decisions, and wonder when everything will fall into place- or if it ever will. Our 20's, for example, are a particularly difficult time- and one I may have a little bit of experience in. It's a time where you are trying to establish yourself in the "real world"- you find yourself trying to establish a career, a serious relationship, and an adult life. You are trying to "grow up" and figure out what kind of life you want to create for yourself. You work on fine tuning your morals, values, and expectations for yourself and for the people you want to spend time with. Yet realistically it's not just your 20's that are a time of internal chaos. We will go through life a day, week, month, and year at a time dealing with hardship, confusion, and just trying to figure out if we're living our lives "right." Some will be easier than others, some more challenging, some we'll just want to give up, while others we'll be totally inspired. During those times of internal struggle we must remember Einstein's words. Life happens a second, a minute, and a day at a time. We spend so many of our precious minutes worrying about what's coming down the pipeline for us in the days and years to come. But the truth is, we don't know what's coming, so why do we spend so much of our time trying to figure it all out?

Many of us are guilty of living our lives by just trying to fit the puzzle pieces together in our minds and forming what we picture our future to look like. We meet someone and try to determine if they are the person that we'll share a lifelong friendship with. We'll fall in love and wonder if that's the person that we'll grow old with. We'll begin a career and wonder if it will be the key to financial security for the next 40 years. We'll invest our money into companies we hope will succeed and grow our bank accounts. We'll study something in college and wonder if a job in that field will be what we'll spend the rest of our life doing. We'll move somewhere and tell ourselves it's where we want to raise our family for years to come.

We plan and plan and plan and plan. And yet, life never turns out how we expect it to. Sometimes people walk into our lives, experiences happen, tragedy strikes, success reveals itself, perspective changes, and before we know it, that picture we painted of how we were "planning" on living our life suddenly changes. It morphs into something new.

It's a difficult line to walk. In many ways, we do need to plan and invest our time, energy, and emotion into creating a reality for ourselves that we want to be living now AND in the future. Yet in other ways, we'll dump our resources into something we can't make a guarantee on down the road. I think too often we find ourselves trying to mold something that isn't right into what we want it to be, rather than pushing ourselves to find something we won't have to "change." This applies to all faucets of life; romantic partners, friendships, jobs, career paths, living arrangements, among hundreds of other things.

So how do we know if the decisions we're making today are the ones that will make us happy down the road? Well, we don't. We don't know if that girl you are dating is the one you'll spend the rest of your life with. Maybe someone else walks in when you least expect it, and makes you doubt your commitment to her. We don't know that the job you have is going to be one you'll be passionate about for the next 6 months, year, or 10 years. Maybe you pursue an interest that you end up falling in love with and change career paths completely. We don't know that the skills we gained from that degree we got from that college will ever be used in an actual job. Maybe we'll never even pursue a career within that field of study. We don't know that our current location is where we'll want to still be living in a year from now. Maybe we'll be inspired by a new acquaintance to travel the globe and explore new places.

 Despite our best effort, we can only do so much to set ourselves up for the future we think we want today. Tomorrow we may wake up with a whole new idea of what is going to truly make us happy now and in the future. The most important part is to remember that it's OK to have invested that time and energy into something we may realize isn't right anymore- that's just how life goes. We only figure out what we want by putting one foot in front of the other, going out and taking risks, and being honest with ourselves. Spending 100k on a degree we'll never use. Burning fuel traveling the globe to only realize that where you want to be is right here. Making yourself vulnerable to a person that will only break your heart. Every single decision, choice, and experience will make you a stronger person. Every single decision, choice, and experience will bring you one step closer into figuring out what makes you happy.

Do yourself a favor consider what you want in life today. Once you've got your list, make a plan and go get it! Don't let anything or anyone hold you back from chasing your dreams and creating the reality you want. You have one single life to live, and if you aren't living with some passion for your life, then you aren't really living. 

2 comments:

CALLIE said...

AMEN!!!

Funmilayo I. said...

I love the third picture quote! beautiful blog!