Why haven’t you done what you want yet?
Do you wake up in the morning, dragging yourself out of bed, kicking and screaming your way to some occupation that drains your energy and leaves you upset and confused? (By occupation I mean how you spend your time, whether it’s a job, school, a relationship, a hobby, or none of those… you’re occupying your time with something, right?) Do you ever wonder if there’s more to life than running from one necessity to another?
I'd once heard someone talking about how if your life isn’t a “Hell yes!” then it should be a “Hell no!” When I heard that, it instantly made sense to me. Why would anyone settle for less than they’re capable of? Why would anyone live out a worst-case scenario on a daily basis?
But then I took a second to look at my life. I was living my own worst case scenario, hoping that something different would fall into my lap. Hoping that somehow, making a change would become so apparent and so accessible that taking the leap was less of a leap and more of a logical next step. I was playing it safe, extra-safe, hoping that any risk would later be minimized by the fact that I’d played it safe for so long.
And it felt like a slow suffocation.
I had to get honest with myself. I had to realize that I wasn’t simply going to “luck” my way into the life I wanted. Life wasn’t going to finally settle down so that I could pursue my wild dreams. I wasn’t even so sure what my wild dreams were anymore. I had spent so long going down what everyone else though as the “right” path that I was completely consumed. I didn’t even know what I enjoyed anymore. I was simply surviving - making it through another day.
Before I could shift gears, I had to figure out what gears needed shifting. I remember thinking to myself… I don’t do anything for fun anymore. I don’t know what I enjoy.
Sometimes, we don’t have to uproot our lives to create the daily experiences we are looking for. We don’t always have to move out of state or change jobs or dye our hair. Sometimes all we need is a shift in our daily habits.
I read that the most successful plastic surgery procedures aren’t the ones that drastically lift eyebrows and pinch noses. The procedures that make people “more symmetrical” are the most popular. The procedures that aren’t even that noticeable. The ones that look like someone may have changed their foundation or got a haircut but you can’t exactly tell what’s different about them. These are the changes we can make with our lives. A simple shift in balance. Moving toward something that is a better fit. The change might seem miniscule when you begin, but over time it might lead you to a completely new outlook. This process is different for everyone (just like plastic surgery isn’t an appealing to everyone). My point is that small changes in our daily lives can have massive impact on our feelings of fulfillment.
For me, changing my life started with discovering activities that had no other purpose than making me smile. It wasn’t attached to any goal or any other person. I practiced yoga because I was curious. And I continued practicing because I enjoyed how I felt after practicing. I practiced meditation to become friends with my own mind, and after a while I started to enjoy the clarity it helped me find.
I found these practices because I wasn’t afraid to become introspective. I wasn’t afraid to research within myself and in the world. I wanted to know what other people did for fun, and then I compared that list with the things I was interested in (or what I suspected I’d be interested in).
What I’m trying to share with you today by sharing this lesson from my life is that finding your passion in life, discovering what you really want is a constant process of self-discovery.
It takes effort. It takes awareness. It won’t simply tap you on the shoulder as you’re paying attention to the daily grind. We have to wake ourselves up. And we do this by paying attention to the silent call of what lights us up. What makes us feel whole when we do it. And when we find that thing, we do it more, we investigate it, we research who else has done it… we let our interest become an obsession.
But it all starts with a question.
What do I really want?
If you don’t let yourself dream… If you don’t let yourself discover… what will be left? A life someone else constructed for you based on their expectations and interpretations of the world? And to have to live that way because you never had the courage to find out who you are and what you want seems cruel and unfair.
Dare to dream. Take 10 minutes right now to sit in a quiet place and answer the question:
What do I really want?
And if you don’t know… start there. Start with your questions. Start with your fears. Tear down your own walls and rebuild them brick by brick… or don't rebuild at all. Maybe walls aren't for you anymore.