Tweaking Versus Big Change

It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern. In fact, I find that one of the hardest things in life to break is a routine. Think about it. Routine is the order in which you get ready in the morning. The route you take to work. The way you walk through the grocery store.

These are little things that almost never change – and they make up a lifetime.

That’s because, the older we get the harder it becomes to break routine.

Did you know that one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is continuous change?

I find that it is when we get stuck in the day-to-day way of doing things that we start to feel like our lives are mundane or they’re simply passing us by. Be it due to fear or an unwillingness to change, or some other big reason – we become a spectator in our own life.

And yet, we’re still hoping that something extraordinary will happen to us.

Will happen. TO us.

We’re passive. Accommodating. Floating along, and believing that things will play out how they’re supposed to.

We wish it – but what do we do during our life to accommodate that wish?

The answer? Not much. We’re too stuck in our routines. We’re overly distracted by what we need to do to survive. How much we need to work to pay the bills. How many social activities we have this week. How we can’t miss practice.

Before we know it, we’re sixty, watching our kids graduate, wondering where the hell the time has gone.

But being sixty or seventy or eighty doesn’t mean it’s too late to shake up your life.

It’s just a change in routine.

And it’s that change of routine – that big, scary change of which you don’t know the outcome – that feeds us. Sure you can make little tweaks in your existing routine. Cram in a yoga class or a vacation into your life where it fits. But those small tweaks won’t result in big changes. They won’t bring about that big experience or event – at least, not in a timely manner.

What will allow you to make the great strides is big change.

Quit trying to stuff small changes into your current routine.

Shake up your routine. Change it. Try it out. Change it again.

Or be on your deathbed, at any age, and wishing you hadn’t wasted life waiting for permission to live how you want.

It isn’t about luck. It’s about working and changing and growing and connecting.

It’s about trying one thing every day that scares you.

And it feels good.

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The Idea Of

I’m unusually fascinated by the idea of relationships today. The marriage culture, without a doubt, is alive and well, especially in the Midwest, where I’ve lived my entire life.

I realize that writing this as an unmarried, near thirty, entrepreneurial woman, may lead some to believe my opinions are skewed. Perhaps they are.

I’m not entirely sure how my path diverged so much from the path of so many of my peers. A psychologist, I’m sure, would be able to unwrap many warning flags that I’ve long since forgotten about.

For instance, I was never popular. I was always a little bit bigger than the other girls my age. Often a little quieter. I didn’t drink or party in high school. I didn’t really participate in those activities in college once I came to discover that I had poor self-control. Wise for a twenty-one year old, I’d thought, even then.

Is that where it started? Should I have cut loose more often? Depended more heavily upon others for my well-being rather than solving everything myself?

There is something to be said for people’s ability to let someone in to their entire life. I’ve never been able to tolerate it much beyond a few months. After all, isn’t the idea of marriage – of forever – hard enough without coming into it with problems?

I wasn’t always like this, of course. There was a time I desperately wanted a relationship. I wanted to feel complete. I wanted to know that there was someone out there who wanted me exactly as I was.

He has never come along. And eventually, it began to sink in, that he might never come along. At first it was hard. Now it’s almost comforting – knowing that if he doesn’t come along, I’m still perfectly capable of living a full life.

In the last few years, I’ve come to understand that relationships – romantic, that is – come in all shapes and sizes. I was so preoccupied in my younger years by the idea of forever that I perhaps forgot or didn’t even know the beauty of the abbreviated love.

Abbreviated love, also known to some as “soul mate” is when you meet a person that you’re only with for a short time, but it changes you in ways that it would take years for another to achieve. Perhaps it is this person’s philosophies or their belief in your abilities. The way they look at you when you’re naked or the way they push you to your brink. In one way or another, they rip you open, the light shines in, and nothing about you is ever the same.

That’s not a way to live, though, some have said to me. Being constantly ripped open, constantly growing and changing. It leaves you breathless, sometimes incapable of living for days, weeks, months at a time, doesn’t it?

On the contrary. I find that I’m forever in and out of these abbreviated loves between which I take months, years to myself before finding the next.

And that’s what got me thinking. Some people find this existence frustrating, painful, and downright illogical. After all, don’t I want to stop being pulled apart only to have to piece myself back together?

Not right now. Maybe not ever.

And just because someone feels it’s wrong, doesn’t make it so.

That’s the beauty of love – its lessons are never complete. And abbreviated love is no less dazzling, no less of an education, than marriage in my opinion.

Perhaps not everything has to be about ending in marriage – in long-term commitment where we are forced to grow and change and love and hurt with the same person day after day. Not that, that way of living is wrong. In fact, it’s beautiful.

It’s just not for everybody.

What do you think?

Lining Up Stars

Do you ever feel like the universe is just lining up your stars?

I’ve always thought that there is something bigger at work. I’ve never believed that Earth is the only life-sustaining planet. I’ve always believed in coincidences. There just seem to be too many of them in my life.

A few months ago, I decided to begin journaling again. Frankly, it goes better some weeks than others. I write so often in other ways that sometimes, when sitting in front of a journal, my mind is blank. I try to accept this as part of my offering to the world – that there are days I have nothing to offer my journal thought-wise. If I’m at a total loss, I do always try to write down what I’m grateful for. I often forget to write things down because I’m grateful for so many of them.

I think that when you’re grateful for things, more things that you can be grateful for start to come along. Here’s the thing: I try to always be grateful, even for the bad stuff. I get into a fender-bender: I’m grateful it wasn’t worse. I get stopped at every single red light: I’m grateful for more time listening to my favorite band. I injure myself when running, I’m grateful that I have the ability to run again after I’ve healed.

When I was younger, it was harder. There were days I didn’t have enough money to buy more for groceries than three packs of Ramen for a dollar which had to last me a week. I was grateful that I at least had enough to cover rent and gas to my low wage job.

When I do this, I feel as though the universe is more inclined to line up better opportunities for me. Crazy?

What do you believe?