Yes, You Can Do Over
The most amazing thing about life is the ability for a do over. I know you may think this is an impossible task but read the sentence again. Life can be done over. It is a cruel irony that hindsight is twenty/twenty. I think the ability to reflect and learn from our past choices is what drives us on. If we are able to look back at the decisions we have made then we can move forward with our eyes wide open.
We have all encountered those maps that have a big red dot stating “You are Here,” correct? How prophetic those maps are. They are always so perfectly accurate! You are here, in the present moment. Exactly where you are meant to be. Now now, before you roll your eyes and start to argue with me, let me explain my logic.
The past has already happened, there is no question to it, there is no surprise about it. You have experienced it and it now resides, well….in your past as memories, emotions, experience and knowledge. These past occurrences are what mold you into the person you are at your present moment. The future is a question, nobody knows what is going to happen. All we can do is try to make the best choices at each of our crossroads to propel us in the right direction on whatever path we choose to take.
I spent my childhood making choices that took me down paths which always seemed to ensure other people’s happiness over my own. This put an enormous weight on my young shoulders. I was forcing myself to stop living in my present moments. Instead, I lived in a constant future of unknown “what ifs” that were never going to happen.
I tirelessly attempted to plan for the most awful, gut wrenching just in case scenarios so that I would know how to handle them. This torturous game of life that I was a constant player in caused me to never enjoy the present moment. I set this defense mechanism up early in life.
Past, Present and Future
My accomplishments were often met with “don’t get your hopes up” levels of encouragement. Nominated for homecoming queen? Don’t get your hopes up, you probably won’t win. Want to be captain of the softball team? Don’t get your hopes up, you run with a refrigerator on your back and tomahawk when you swing the bat. I was essentially the pig pen character from Charlie Brown. Only instead of dust and dirt swirling around me there was a cloud of insecurity and negativity. I thought that the only way to get rid of this cloud was to ensure that my mom, my friends, my husband and anyone else I held dear to me, were happy. I was relinquishing my choice for theirs each and every time.
Recent events have forced me to let go of the past and stop obsessing over the future. They are the parts of my life that I can not control or change. All I can do is take charge of the present moment, my big red dot.
It is the only part of our life we have control over so it is the only one that I am going to worry about. I realized that those “what if” scenarios were like a colony of termites. They were invading the foundation of my thoughts. When you see one of those pesky insects in your house you know there are probably thousands more hiding just below the surface. My termites are negative thoughts that swirl around telling me why I should not or could not make the choice to change my life.
I was not happy though and I needed to figure out what was not making me happy. Once I came to that conclusion I had to decide to make a change. I had to change before those negative thought termites destroyed all of my foundation leaving me unable to have any positive steps forward.
Wait, A Do Over Means A Start Over?
Whoa. I had to do what? First, let’s have a mini round of applause here. The act of having this thought and then accepting it – that I was actually unhappy in the life I am leading, takes a lot of guts and courage. And just a little sprinkling of crazy. This is my life here people! The routines, safety net of a steady income, and knowledge that my life was essentially planned from here on out was a pretty enticing thing.
Some of the “what if” termites were settling down. Aside from going completely off the deep end and stressing over the sun turning into a supergiant or freaking out that a volcano under Yellowstone would erupt, I only had death and my unhealthy relationship to focus on. Screw that! I am 37 years old which is not even forty which is the new thirty. My time for a do over was now.
So I am basically celebrating my 28th year of life! I am not ready to throw in the proverbial towel and wait for my imminent death to catch up with me. So what now? What steps do I need to take in order to change my life? How can I begin to determine the one that is going to make me happy?
I think we all realize the first step in the journey. In my do over. I had to take ownership of my decisions. Whether or not I truly stood behind them 100% yet, I had to become my own advocate and take action. Fake it until you make it and all? I promptly removed my negative thought termites, cleaned out all of the crevices and cobwebs and hopped onto my own cheerleading train.
Awesome. I was halfway there, right? Wrong, I have a lot of work left to do but isn’t it 95% motivation and 5% something else? I have the motivation but I needed to come up with the something else. The thing that will propel me into the next phase. I knew that beginning to change my stagnant life had to start with a single choice. A single thought set in motion, a little push to get the ball rolling so it could gain the momentum and lead me to success.
So I did it, I put my do over in motion to alter my future, I chose to end my marriage. Please, no moment of silence of needed, this is not a reason to mourn but rather a cause for celebration! Honestly, it was probably the first thing I have ever chosen to do completely for myself in my entire life and it’s scary as hell. But it is also exciting and refreshing and feels completely right.
Closing one door does allow for others to open but they aren’t necessarily going to do it on their own. I will need to be my biggest advocate, my loudest cheerleader and my own personal life coach in order to make my dreams a reality. This is where the other 95% comes into play – I have made my choice, taken my next big step and now I need to make sure I follow through.
Take a moment and think about the choices you have made throughout your life. Not the little ones like what you had for dinner last night, but the bigger ones, the ones that shape who you are and where your life is going. Are you happy with all of them? Are there any that you can change?
If there is even one thing that you have thought of that would make you happy to change then do it! Hold on to that thought and start to develop a plan to make your desires turn from a dream into a goal. What’s the difference between the two? A dream is something that you have the possibility of completing, a goal is something that you are taking measurable steps towards achieving. So, do you have a dream or do you have a goal?