- Mental Health»
Life is a highway, have you stalled out on the road to your goals or just taking the scenic route?
The other day I took a friend out for lunch. My friend though, a normally happy and optimistic soul, found the occasion, shall we say less than celebratory. It was one of the “milestone” birthdays, you know the ones, the ones ending in zero … or five … or the ones before one ending in zero , okay it was a birthday and we are both beyond the age of cartoon character cakes and candles. My friend found herself in the grips of a pit stop with a bad case of travelers blues. One of those times in life when you find yourself looking at the your personal trip through life and find it lacking. Life just isn't as exciting or fulfilling as we thought it was going to be. We don't have the job we want, we didn't lose that last 5, 10 or 20 pounds or we don't have the house or job we always wanted and we are a bit lost on the road to our dreams. Now my friend has a great spouse and two fabulous kids. She has a job, roof over her head and food in her mouth. Life isn't terrible but she isn't exactly setting the world on fire either.
Birthdays, holidays, even a friend's promotions can often spark a trip to the land of lack for many of us. Those times in life when we have lost the map and the trip to our dreams is either stalled or on permanent hold. Those times when we took the detour and got lost along the way. Before .Before you take that ticket to the land of slump-dum I would like you to think about a couple of things.
This is your trip.
Sometimes it may not seem to be going where you want but that doesn't mean that it's the wrong path. We must realized that each of us have our own destination to take and our own path to get there. Unfair comparisons to the some one else's journey is never a useful strategy. The old adage to never judge another until walking a mile in his or her shoes does not only apply to the other person but to you as well. We all have our own trip to take in life, our own road to take and our own time line to get there. Your friend may be living the high life in Vegas but spending time berating yourself for not being with them when you hate gambling is pointless and self-destructive
Don't count the detours.
We find ourselves judging the whole of the journey by the pit stops along the way. We see the the stop signs, and detours as the only measure of our lives We all have times in our lives in which the goals we haven't achieved seem to outweigh the ones we did. This kind of thinking is destructive though the biggest killer of our dreams. Don't put yourself in danger of taking up residence in the roadside park.Just because you are stopped at the side of the road doesn't mean your moving in.
The trip isn't over till the car is in the garage
We all heard it isn't over till the fat lady sings, well in this case the trip isn't over till the car is parked in the garage. I know many people who think it is too late. They are too old or they missed their chance. There are just too many obstacles. We all know the stories of famous people who did their best work later in life. Sometimes it just isn't the right time. For example, I always wanted to go back to school. But life happened, there was marriage and kids and the day to day bills I just never seemed to find a way. For 20 odd years I let this dream and my perceived failure define who I was. I'm happy to say that it was a dream that I not only accomplished but mastered. At 47 I graduated with my first degree and am l continuing on for another. Looking back now I see how all those years taught me the patience and perseverance I needed to learn the rules of the road that led to my success. In addition I can also see how this is the right time for me. In my 20's and 30's with a houseful of kids it just wasn't the right time.
Choose your view
You may not be where you want to be but you aren't where you were either. During these little pit stops on the road to life it is easy to forget how far we have come. That is the time to drag out the map and not only see where you are but where you have been. Maybe you are much further down the road than you give yourself credit for or maybe you are still on the path to your ultimate destination but just kind of lost in the boony's. Which ever is the case take a look at what all you have done not all you haven't.
No matter where you are it could be worse
It can also be easy to get stuck in the what if , and if only's. Life may not be the the never ending joy ride you thought or dreamed of , but I bet if you look around there is somewhere worse you could be . Take a good hard look at what is not only wrong in life but what is right as well. The car may be a little worse for where but as long as it's still running there is always a chance.
Grab a map
How did you get here. Now as you take a look around if you really think that you have lost your way there still things that you can do about it. First off take out the map and pick your destination. It may be different than it was ten years ago so make up your mind where you want to be a week from now, a year from now or five years from now. If that seems to much, map out your destinations for tomorrow and or maybe next week. This is a skill that gets easier over time. Next set a time line. Make it realistic and give your self a little wiggle room. You may not be able to lose 20 lbs by next week or be able to get your master's degree my next year but I bet there is something you can do right now that will start you down that path. Finally, take action. It doesn't have to be anything big. It may not even be an action per se. Before any big trip there are certain preparations to be made. You may need to check the oil and the tire pressure for now.
Enjoy the scenery
In the end the thing to remember is that this doesn't need be a permanent stop. You may be broke down in bumpkinville at the present time but that doesn't mean you need to pick out real estate.
Where ever you find yourself in life . Take a realistic look at where you are and where you want to go . Ask yourself how long you think it could take and then lay out a few steps how you can get there. It doesn't have to be taking a trip around the world tomorrow but we all know that forward motion begets more motion so take a few steps
Lastly don't forget to smell the flowers along the way. No matter where you are on the highway to life I bet there is some thing about the scenery you can enjoy today if you let yourself. Life is not a quick trip to the store, it is a journey meant to take a lifetime. Take advantage of it along the way.