This spring I wrote a post called How to Reevaluate Your Life. It talked about asking the right questions when you know you want something different out of this brief, beautiful existence. This is the next step, about answers.
That quote scared me. I have plans — but I always have plans. And I’ve been talking about some of them for ten years or longer. I don’t want to risk my life passing while I dreamed of a different existence I was too scared to even attempt.
Ah, fear. Not fear-of-spiders fear (which is silly because spiders are awesome and eat things that bother you). Instead, when your questions start to give you an idea of what you want, you’ll get afraid. You may even get hostile. You may look for people to blame, reasons it’s too late, or you may re-reevaluate your life and say ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad,’ (hint: If you find yourself saying this — Yes. It. Is.)
So, after you start to get an idea of what you like, and don’t like, about your current life — what the heck do you do now? I’m glad you asked.
THE ‘WHAT THE HECK DO I DO NOW?’ LIST:
- Take a ‘Reevaluation Vacation’. Back in May of 2014, I really felt stuck and wondered if I hated my long term job in retail. Then I decided take an 8 day vacation (the length was based on hearing that it took 8 – 14 days for your body to really rest and recuperate away from work). So I stayed home and did every day whatever sounded most enjoyable, not really ‘movie marathons’ but things like walks and yoga and writing (and making collages!). The point wasn’t just to party but to give myself time away from the hustle-bustle (I tried not to leave the house except for park walks). You might not be able to do as I did, but even a long weekend (or having someone watch your kids for a couple of days) can be very clarifying. For me, I realized I didn’t hate my job I just needed to be doing more of the things I loved.
- Plan the Plan-y Plan. All talk and no action will get you nowhere but… It’s an important first step. Still, like the awesome Larry Winget says, you already know what you need to do. You’ve probably known for years what you need to do. So, now you’re going to do it. That’s it. That’s the plan. It’s as simple as imagining your perfect life (not a vacation or the day you meet Oprah, just a regular day in your extraordinary life), then realizing what would need to happen to get there (healthier weight, advanced degree) and distill it down to something you can do every week and every day to reach that goal. You don’t have to know every step, just the first step.
- Do it with love or not at all. Presumably, you’re reevaluating your life because you’re tired of living a compromised existence, full of activities you hate and things you’d rather not be doing. SO STOP. Really. The life you are supposed to be living, the life you’ll excel at, is doing what you love. All. The. Time. Don’t believe me? Just try to be deliriously happy and not change the world for the better. Betcha can’t do it. When you’re trying to figure out what your life should be like, follow what makes you smile, what makes you excited. Now, in the long term, I’m not talking about pizza and Netflix. I’m talking about the little kid inside you, and what gets them excited, makes them want to leap off the couch, plastic sword in hand, yelling “Yay!’ at the top of their lungs. Because starting right now, you’re closing the door on the mediocre part of your life; you’re through compromising.
- Only spend time on goals that are of Soul-Level importance to you. Really. The big stuff. Not the things you think you should be doing, or will impress other people. Your goals should be change the world / change your life forever achievements. This doesn’t mean you have to be selfless — I want to be in my perfect body for me (and to inspire others to live healthier lives). Writing my novels is completely selfish (and could create works that others will enjoy as much as I do). Even my goal of keeping the house cleaner is no small thing (sometimes we have squirrels) because I want to honor my sister and create a place worthy of both of our artistic dreams. Any goal can have meaning, but its only chance of success is if it has deep meaning for you.
- Ask yourself if this is the defining moment of your life. My sister and visionary, Sarah Cerulean, often talks about ‘The story of your life’. If you were reading or watching a bio of how you achieved all your dreams and came to lead such an inspiring life, what steps would have brought you there? Assuming the outcome is amazing-great-spectacular, when did things start getting exciting? Could you trace it back to these days, this time when you said ‘I deserve more’ and starting working hard for it? The truth is, the clock is running — if you’re ready, you can make your life as great as your fantasies, but if you back away now, you may just let some of those dreams slip away forever. Scary but true. And the vision I have for the rest of my life (and yours) is way too grand and exciting to turn away from now. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT. You have been training your whole life for this leap, for this proof of your awesomeness. Keep going. You’ll make it.