As I turn 33 next week, I have a lot on my mind.
Let’s step back for a moment….
Where were you a year ago? Two years ago? Ten years ago?
Odds are, you were a completely different person than you are now (if you aren’t that’s another problem, nobody should be static).
Life is about growth, learning, redefining yourself, embracing change, and always moving forward. If you’re the same person you were yesterday, well that’s pretty boring. It probably means you’re rather unhappy too. (If we’re lucky we find a person who can grow and become stronger walking along side us).
I’ve had some challenges in life, and I’ve definitely made a lot of mistakes (the peanut gallery can hush up here). But I’m always learning (the hard way). I don’t listen all that well (I’ve been told I’m quite stubborn), so I’m always running head first in yelling, “well what could possibly go wrong!” Ha, well I wasn’t always so optimistic, and that’s something I’ve adapted to as well. The point is, I refuse to be defined by those mistakes. (If we’re even more lucky we get to find a person we can listen to where once our ears were shut).
If you talked to me ten years ago, maybe you didn’t know it, but I was a very sad person. I had no meaning that kept me going. I grabbed onto things in the short term and when they didn’t make me entirely and insatiably happy, well I fell apart into a crumble. When those things inevitably faded away all I had left was darkness and it was often too much to bare.
Now, I am resilient. It’s not as though I don’t get sad, scared, angry, or doubtful. But it won’t stop me. You’re only a coward if you let fear stop you from trying something that has a chance of giving you happiness. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy, and nothing is ever 100%. So sometimes you have to take a chance (a real chance, not a tip-toe in the pool before you see your reflection and run). Maybe you win, maybe it all ends in pain and misery. But, you always learn through the process. Struggling is natural, quitting is not. Getting what you want takes work, but the happiness and rewards that can come make it worthwhile.
If you hold onto the past (and the picture of you that comes from there), you get stuck. You get defined in that box. But you aren’t. You aren’t definable at all. YOU get to decide who you want to be, and how motivated you are, by how hard you work. You can adapt, mold yourself, become stronger, become a fighter. The weaker-you doesn’t get to hold you in place, it becomes a faded memory of the path you get to be proud you took.
Starting over in life, well that’s pretty scary. You can take it slow if you need to, one step at a time. Setting goals that make you closer to the picture of you that you would prefer to be. Hold onto the final end game, but, hey, enjoy the journey too.
Read books. Read a lot of them. Read autobiographies, books about building the qualities you want, books about psychology, anything at all. Make notes. Remember the words.
Listen to people. Be open and friendly and the world opens up to you. There’s a lot of information out there to help you build a better you, and often it comes from a rather overlooked place. So open your eyes, a person you look down upon could potentially teach you an important lesson.
Write down your projections for yourself in a tense that is present. “I am _______”, write it down over and over until it feels like a reality, until it enters your mindset and it becomes your existence. Repeat it. Believe it. Ever hear fake it until you make it?
Set goals for all aspects of yourself. Make them for the long term, but don’t forget about the short term or the long term idea is a place that will never happen.
Make promises to yourself and flex your willpower muscle in order to keep them. I can have a tendency to live in the moment. I’m working on it. I make lists of the reasons why I need to do something, and if I need to I look at it to remind myself. Id (the pleasure seeker) can’t win every time. (But he should get to, sometimes).
The past only defines you if you let it, if you get stuck there, if you do not learn from your mistakes. Regret….well… that’s a thing. But it’s only baggage if it holds you back from whatever it is that can bring you happiness (please stop trying to pin me down with your assumptions). I refuse to be so simplified. Once I set my mind to something now (as opposed to that dark girl who never had any optimism), it’s as good as true. There is no shortcut to get there, I get that, but it’s going to happen, because I believe in it. I have a fire in my belly, and it burns brightly. (do you see it?)
Fortune favours the brave, the bold, and sometimes the “I’m just crazy enough to think this might work.” Go after what you want. Do it aggressively. Don’t ever doubt, and don’t let anyone stand in your way. I’m ready to rock and if you’re too dark to see my light, just move over and get the fuck outta the way.