A Train Wreck of Choice & Circumstance

That’s all life is; a train wreck of choices and circumstance.

Every day we’ve had to make choices based on the circumstances of our life at that moment in time. It’s been that way ever since we were no longer shitting in our diapers. Sometimes we felt in control of those choices and other times it seemed like we didn’t have any other alternative.

Each of these decisions has led to exactly this moment. Whether your life is perfect or totally miserable, it’s this way because you chose for it to be this way.

If your life is good, you’ll agree with me. You know that everything you have today is because you worked hard to get it. You know there were times when you wanted to quit and it felt like the struggle wasn’t worth it. But you persisted and here you are. Everything might not be exactly as you’d liked it to be. But you’re okay with that because you know you’ve done your best and this is what you’ve got … what you’ve earned.

And if your life is shit, you’re going to argue and outline all the reasons I’m wrong. Or explain why you’re the exception. You’ll call me names and say I don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ll say I need to try living in the “Real World,” as so many people just like you seem to enjoy labeling their lives … as though there’s some alternate dimension I’ve been occupying all these years.

I know bad things happens. I’ve been through a lot in my life.

I was raised in a broken home by an alcoholic mother and a multitude of abusive men who came and went like the weather. My father committed suicide when I was in the third grade after I admitted to my mom that he’d been sexually abusing me. I used to blame myself for his death. It’s still hard sometimes not to feel responsible.

I’ve been homeless, sleeping at friends’ houses until I was no longer welcome. I had no other place to go. Sometimes I’d stay the night with complete strangers that my mom would meet in the bars. I was twelve when I first smoked pot and I started drinking and doing drugs regularly as an escape from it all a few years later. I was arrested and put in jail at eighteen.

I’ve lived in the “Real World.”

I didn’t like it.

Changing my life didn’t happen overnight. It happened slowly, one choice at a time. The choice to get clean. The choice to go back to school. The choice to get out of debt. The choice to travel. The choice to live life on my own terms. The choice to seek adventure. To find happiness. To be honest and vulnerable to hurt.

Even though none of us can control what happens to us, we still have the power to influence the outcome of our lives by how we react to any situation. Stop being a victim to the circumstances of your life. Don’t just be the product of other people. Choose yourself and begin creating a life you never thought possible.

It’s your choice.

You’re Already Good Enough

What are your goals for the next year of your life? What about five years from today?

With goals for our future, we’re better equipped to avoid the minor distractions of daily life and ignore what isn’t important or doesn’t provide our lives with some kind of value. Goals fill us with a sense of purpose and intention, and they help guide our decisions, actions, and behaviors. For these reasons, setting and achieving goals is a powerful way to improve our lives.

“Without goals, you are living reactively, letting life push you around. With goals, you can live a proactive life, steering toward a destination. You know where your path is supposed to lead.” ~ J.D. Roth

Continue reading at Pick the Brain…

Life, Interrupted

Even the best of intentions don’t always go as planned.

You can spend your entire life preparing for tomorrow only to have those plans derailed in an instant, forever changing (or forcing you to change) the direction of your life; an unplanned pregnancy puts your goals for the future on hold; a death in the family reminds you that life is short … too short to languish in a relationship with a partner who criticizes your every move; a job loss leaves you scrambling to make ends meet; or a diagnosis stamps an expiration date on your life.

How can you persevere and persist during these moments of difficulty?

Accept the things you cannot change. Recognize reality for what it is, not what you wish it were. Don’t continue ignoring your situation … quit acting like everything will be okay. Stop fighting against the truth and embrace reality so you can move your life forward. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, don’t pretend your time here is limitless. Fight like hell for a cure, and embrace what time you have left.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ V. Frankl

Take a wider look. It’s easy to be consumed by the details of the moment. Consider your situation in the context of a broader perspective. Our struggles are temporary; time will afford us an opportunity to see things more clearly. The moment we learn that someone close to us has died, our world falls to pieces. As time goes on, we’re more able to accept that death is as much a part of life as is birth; that it’s something we’ll each face one day.

Change your thinking. If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it. Rather than focusing on the worst that could happen, think of the best that might come. Instead of how much you’ve yet to do, consider how far you’ve come.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” ~ Gandhi

Learn your lesson. These situations are an opporunity to gain perspective and will change your outlook on life. If you’ve lost your job, you might come to realize money isn’t everything. Walking away from an emotionally void relationship will make you appreciate exactly how capable you really are. Don’t let an opportunity for growth slip by as you distance yourself from these periods of your life. Pause to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned through these experiences.

Find Support. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ J. Rohn

Choose wisely.

Despite the feeling of familiarity, your life will never be the same. Your only choice is to move forward into this strange new world to build your future upon a new foundation; one of fresh perspective, a different understanding, and a revitalized sense of purpose.