“Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those slight changes that would make all the difference.” – Mignon McLaughlin
Well, doesn’t that just sound encouraging and lovely? Sure does. It’s a great reminder that everything you’re doing ultimately makes a difference in your life. What a day!
Cool, but you know what else is lovely? Seeing results like NOW. This difference everyone speaks of, I want to see it happen in the amount of time that I want, in the way that I want, where I want, etc etc. And when that doesn’t happen, I get discouraged. Am I right? I’m kind of right.
We have this idea in our heads of how our life should go and we strive to make it turn out a certain way. Doing all of the “right” things to ensure that we achieve our goal. Remember the board game Life? You get to pick your house, your career, and your salary. Everyone wanted the Victorian house and to be a doctor making that wicked high $100k. Until you ended up with the literal split level house, as a salesperson, with a $20k salary.
Sure, this might seem like a crappy deal, but honestly, you really only just started the game and at least you have a house, a job, and a paycheck. Whenever I find myself thinking that everything is going wrong and my life sucks and karma is kicking me while I’m down, I sit down and think (or write it down if you’re into that) about all the good things that have happened to me.
Think of everything that has been good to you. Things like getting that last good spot in the parking lot, the bartender giving you a free drink, going out to dinner with friends you rarely get to see, not thinking about that ex for a few hours instead of minutes, putting away laundry and finally find that missing favorite top of yours and oh wow, you can wear it for the plans you have tonight.
I sometimes forget to recognize all the good because I get tunnel vision and focus on one particular occurrence that I’m waiting to happen. We all do it! We all make goals for ourselves that we want to reach. That’s a good, healthy thing! Until you start to lose sight of everything else around you. Then it’s time to step back and give your noggin a hard reset.
The past few months have been a huge lesson to me personally in this area. I had such bad tunnel vision that it started to affect me physically and mentally, as well as emotionally. When I realized that, I had to take a hard look at what was going on around me. I realized that my life may not be Victorian houses and six figure salaries, but you know what it is? F*cking awesome. It’s not perfect, in fact, most days it feels like it’s a hot damn mess. But when I just stop and focus on me that’s when things start to improve. I’m no longer living my life, making decisions, or doing things that I hope might contribute to a particular outcome I’m looking to see happen. I’m doing them for me.
I’m just spinning the wheel and moving my little yellow car along the path and enjoying whatever comes at me. I’m not paying attention to the other players and their cars. I’m not feeling left out or “behind” when I see cars filled with kids or a happy couple. I’m enjoying my time and the fact that I can play whatever music I want in my car. I can sing as loudly as I want and not feel self conscious. I can stop whenever I want to stop or keep on driving. It’s not lonely, it’s freeing. It’s exhilarating and it’s something I’ve recently come to truly enjoy. That slight change, that adjustment of perspective, and that acknowledgment that things may not be what I thought they’d be is what I needed. A step back to appreciate what I have, how far I have come, and what I have overcome to get here.
It doesn’t sound like much. It’s like, “Bex, you have a great life! You have this and that and done this and been through that. How can you think otherwise? What do you mean you have anxiety? What do you have to be depressed about?! You’re doing great!” Yeah, okay, thank you for that. I’m aware. However, when you’re sucked into the tunnel and you’re squinting your eyes on that itty bitty spot of light ahead of you, you don’t care about anything else. Not until you realize that your eyes are watering from not blinking and your head hurts from squinting at the spot of light for so long because you’re afraid that if you look away, that light will be gone completely and you’ll never find it again.
I call bullsh*t! Blink your eyes, look away, lay down and think about what you’re doing to yourself…. or myself, since I did this crap recently. I found that I work better with blinders on, not in some dank, dark, creepy tunnel. Blinders shield me from all the other bullsh*t in the world, but it doesn’t leave me in the dark with just ONE way out. We all need blinders on at some point, if we want to truly grow and evolve and become a better person. Focusing on yourself isn’t selfish, it’s self fulfilling. It becomes selfish when that’s all you start to do and you no longer empathize or think about anyone else at all or only do things if you can get something out of it at some point.
So, make that small change. Blink. Step back. Refocus. You know what you’ll see? A world of opportunities ahead of you. Start small and you’ll see a large difference in how things begin to unfold. Don’t worry about certain milestones you think you need to meet at a certain point. Get in that metaphorical car of yours and just enjoy the drive. Your life just started, make it great.
You’re not alone. I believe in you.