Time for a Reality Check
What are you doing with your life?
What is underneath all of those important tasks that keep you so busy? All the hustle?
Have you ever thought about this weird set of rules we follow? Have you ever questioned the validity?
My interpretation of the rules for being an adult:
Work hard, as hard as you possibly can. Grind.
Stress is a good sign. Stress = productivity.
You will have all the time in the world to enjoy your life, but not until you have earned it over the course of several decades (we call this retirement).
If you aren't doing, making, producing something that has a viable and reliable outcome (typically centered around $), it is not worth your time or energy.
Put your work and your stress and your busy-ness before the things you actually want to do. The things that make you happy. (By the way, "I'm too busy to _____" is bullshit. What we actually mean is, "At present, ______ is not important enough for me to focus on. There are other things that take higher priority."
Do any of these guidelines sound familiar?
Are you still subscribing to these urban legends?
At some point we gotta break the trance society has on us.
I am going to get very real here because this is what it took for me to make some changes.
Eight years ago, I lay in bed wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I had called out of work and spent the day hungover and depressed, crying on and off. I felt that my life was spinning out of control... because it was. I didn't know why. I thought I had made my own choices, but was slowly coming to the conclusion that I really had just been reading from a preordained script. The costume fit, so I played my part.
Searching for self-help answers, I somehow stumbled upon the suggestion to imagine my funeral and who would be there and what they would say. Then to write a letter from my future 80-year-old self to myself in present day.
It was SO sad. I surmised the only people in attendance would be those obligated to come as a formality—my family, etc. The letter to myself made me sob, "What did you do with your life? Why did you do this to me? You had so much potential."
It hit me square in the face that if something didn't change, then I would lead a very morose and gloomy life up until the day I died, whether that be one month later or 50 years.
Do you want to know the top regret people have on their deathbed?
What they think about as they look back on their lives?
It is this:
"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
Does that not punch you in the gut? It took the wind right out of me the first time I heard it.
Life isn't about working ourselves down to the bone, wearing our misery like a badge, all the while assuming we will make it to a ripe old age, that day when we can cross the finish line and finally relax. How presumptuous to think we will live that long! How presumptuous to think we will live even one week from today!
"Man plans, God laughs." We aren't in control, people. Just because you get your yearly physical and check all of the right boxes doesn't mean you will live until you're 90. Which means you shouldn't have to wait for a magical day to give you permission to live your life and spend your time in the way YOU want.
The reality of death is a reminder of our fragility. A wakeup call that we have to make every moment count. Some of us parade around like vampires as if we have all the time in the world. I certainly did. I never wanted to think about life ending because I hadn't really lived.
Imagine if you knew you were going to die one week from now.
Think about it. What would you do with your last week? Maybe even close your eyes for 60 seconds and picture it.
So, if that is what you would do with your last week, why ... aren't ... you ... doing it ... now? Why haven't you already done it?
If I thought today was my last, and got down on my knees begging a Higher Power for just one more week on earth, they would probably say, "But Lindsey! I already gave you1,857 weeks! What did you do with those?" And then I would feel really stupid.
But it isn't that way today. Honest to God, if I had one week to live, things wouldn't look so different than they do now. Yeah, I might travel to my special island for a few days, just one last time, but I lived there for three years so it wouldn't be a big deal if I couldn't.
The point is I would have no regrets on how I have been spending my days here.
Dare I say that I actually enjoy my life? Sometimes it feels like I am breaking those golden rules we hold so dear.
Because I live simply, serenely, and spaciously now. Quiet afternoons with my chickens, deep talks with close friends, lots of yoga, hilarious family dinners, writing, learning, helping people, and all of the things that make me who I am.
Because I got sick and tired of saying one day, some day I'll ... write again, live more mindfully, figure out my passion. Empty promises to my soul that I myself didn't even believe. I know how deep this agony runs, day after day feeling something is off.
I also live in a way that I don't have any bridges to mend or burning last words to speak. I try to treat every interaction as though it could be my last. Because it might be. Maybe that sounds silly but this mindset, reminding ourselves that we all will eventually die, does so much more than prepare us for that one day. It helps us move through this present day with peace and grace. I have my moments, I make my mistakes, and then I resolve them as quickly as possible and do all I can to make things right.
Do you want to wait until you are out of time to reach the conclusion that you didn't live the way you wanted? That you let others define you? Where are those people now? Are they putting a ribbon around your neck in celebration for your service to them? Was it worth it? Do you even know who "they" are? Were you just blindly trusting the collective messaging of our society?
Do you refuse to go out like that? Do you refuse to be anything less than the main character of your own life? Do you choose to commit to a different way—your own way—perhaps the road less traveled, perhaps the less easy route, but definitely the one meant for you, paved especially to fit your footprints.
Because only you are capable of manifesting into the world that one thing in that one particular way. Only you. Given a specific skillset/talent/gift that is your unique imprint. It takes some self-discovery—digging, shedding, exploring—to return to the basics of your core being, to sink in and realize what you are here to do. But it is possible, and it is worth it.
Do the thing.
Take the risks.
Call your mom.
Go to the place.
Tell them you love 'em.
Take the long way home.
Stop and smell the roses.
I understand there isn't a switch to flip that will make everything better. It has taken years to cement these patterns of thought and behavior and they won't be reversed in one day. The subtle shifts are what matter. Even though at the time that one action may feel insignificant, it is everything. One shift has the power to change your whole trajectory. If you are using a compass heading north and then decide to go one slight notch to the east and continue down that path instead, you will end up in a completely different place than originally planned.
I want to help you do things one degree different today.
Whether it is coming up with a morning routine, seeking accountability for your intentions, or working through a major turning point in your life, implementing a plan of action is key! I have your back.
And the reason I have your back is because I would do anything to help you mitigate that deep aching I too suffered. I would do anything to prevent you from feeling a dreadful sense of regret on your deathbed.
Let's chat and come up with a plan :)
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."