Saturday, May 7, 2011
When I was little, I was going to grow up being one of Charlie's Angels.
I got a little older and I was certain I would be an archaeologist in Egypt.
When I thought about falling in love and getting married, I imagined some romantic proposal, a man madly in love with me and a wedding to end all weddings.
When I was younger, I did modeling.
When I got a little older, I became a medical transcriptionist.
I made a practical relationship decision with someone who did not find an even remotely romantic or enthusiastic way to propose, was married by a justice of the peace and catered my own wedding.
I hear from other women all the time "what if Mr. Right and I don't meet? What if I make a wrong decision and we pass each other on the street?" You know what I have to say to that "So?"
We spend a lot of time fussing and worrying about whether we are making the "right" decisions as if there is some grading system for life. There is no "right" decision or "right" direction; there are just many many possibilities that lead us down surprising paths. It is on those paths that we meet ourselves and recognize our true values and needs, desires and hopes and not those we assumed we should have.
Today, you decide to stay home or go out to the mall or go for a hike or take a nap or call a friend or work on a project or wash your car. You have just given yourself seven different days. Were any of them "right?" No. They were just all different.
Serendipity: Discoveries by accident.
You cannot have serendipity if you have a planned life. Every outcome is predestined. Every reward is well-known.
Once you give up that notion of some "right" way to do life, you actually start just doing it and every path is an exciting gift to open, every outcome a wonderful unknown. It is exhilarating, frightening and rewarding beyond belief because you come it realize something really vital: It is how you adapt to the currents of your life and not the way you plot it that makes your life "lived" and happily rewarding instead of "preordained" and always coming up short of some imagined outcome.
I thought being single was the most horrifying thing in the world, but the more horrifying prospect was staying and knowing I would never be the love of a man's life. I always wanted that for myself, to know that some man when his life is over believes, "she was the love of my life." Such a simple thing, but something I ached for every day of my marriage. I may be too old to be the love of a man's life (most men by now have managed to run into that gal), but I just changed the possibilities of having it happen from zero with my ex to ?? (great exciting unknown)
Does that mean I made a wrong choice when I was 16 to set my hopes on being with him the rest of my life? Nope. I made one of those "not right or wrong" decisions because at that time, I made the decision that fit best. From that decision, I made the most delightful find of all, my son.
It doesn't mean you can't change your plans as you age and your needs change. The real crime is sticking to that "right" plan commitment no matter the fact your life has changed, your relationship has changed, your priorities have changed
People are often mired in the procrastinating muck of "what if I take the wrong path?" It keeps some folks overweight for decades while they wait for the "right" diet or the "right" moment to start.
"Right" focuses us on the reward, the outcome, and completely ignores the process wherein living occurs.
Just do it! There is no "right!" There is no "wrong!" There are only a thousand exciting potential outcomes.
Tomorrow, take a different way home from work. Take note of a completely different experience; new sights, lucky runs of green lights, entertaining street musicians. And, what you'll really notice is that, outside of your usual zombie drive home, your mind came up with completely new thoughts than the ones you usually carry on the way home. A completely different experience by taking your focus off your usual route and bringing it to what's in front of you, around you, coming up. Consider that a metaphor for your life.