Lately I’ve been talking with a friend about our purpose in life and all that, and was asked some basic questions about how I personally was handling things. My reply email turned into word vomit – or maybe like a statement of affirmation to myself. Thought I’d share it here, as it’s a good reflection of where I am at the moment. [Edited and names changed to protect the innocent.]
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Dear Friend ‘O Mine,
Well, for one thing, there’s no right answer for how to live your life. Everyone is different. We all come from different backgrounds, have different needs and dreams and goals and lifestyle requirements.
Just be the best YOU you can be!
Don’t be afraid to dream big and take small actionable steps every day. And know that there isn’t one “right” way to live your life. Don’t live by anyone else’s rules. It’s your life, your choice… and it’s terminal. You don’t have time to “wait to be happy”. Do something NOW!
Make conscious choices on a daily basis.
If you are happy in the location you are, doing what you’re doing, living the life you’ve chosen today, that’s great! Own it. Love every day – because you made the choices that brought you there.
We all talk about the elusive “one day”. But that’s a harmful statement and stops you from being able to live in the now.
Don’t plan for an unknown future, live for today!
If you keep thinking “oh one day I’ll get around to traveling to that country I’ve always wanted to visit” (or go to school, or try that career, etc), you’re not actually making the CHOICE to make that happen. It’s just wishful thinking. Not that there’s really anything wrong with that per se, fantasy is a healthy part of the creative mind. But it’s just that, in the mind. Not a choice that you’re actively working on.
So, know yourself.
Decide what’s really important to you (not for your parents, not for your friends, but you). What made you make the choices that you are living with today? Are you happy with where you are and what you are doing? Are you “just trying to get by” and “someday” you’ll do something brilliant with your life? Are you meshing your past, present, and future and making the best decisions for yourself for today? Or are you following the herd and being “responsible”, regardless of how that makes you feel?
Don’t wait. Be happy today. Make the hard decisions if you need to. Be selfish, and fearless, and take actionable steps forward.
Not saying you need to sell everything you own and run off like a gypsy tomorrow. I certainly didn’t do that. It’s taken me 10 years to make sense of things and come to these realizations for myself. 10 years of wasting time and repeating the same mistakes! I’m quite horrified. But it’s better than never figuring things out, right? Hopefully it’s not too late for me.
So I’ve made the decision to live for myself today, because tomorrow may not come.
That is very real to me right now. What society told me was important turned out to NOT be important to me at all. Like when you’re a kid and discover that your parents don’t actually know everything…..turns out society lied!
I’ve worked a series of crappy jobs my whole life. I’ve lived with a house full of junk, I’ve lived with very little. Neither gave me happiness. Pleasing other people was not the road to self-improvement.
Happiness turned out to be real life experiences, making the human connections, learning on the road instead of the classroom, expanding the boundaries of my own self.
I can’t help others if I can’t help myself. I’ve learned that I absolutely need to be selfish, because that’s the only way I can be truly selfless.