Where ever you are in life at this stage, whatever situation you may be in, whether good or bad, it is helpful to lean back and see the forest for the trees. There will be ups and downs, ebbs and flows, happy times and challenging times – all is virtually guaranteed within the human existence. Our journey will twist and turn, creating the full spectrum of emotions from joy to sorrow, pleasure to pain, darkness and light.
But if we take a step back and consider our lives more holistically, it can be comforting to see how our life progresses. It zigs and it zags, pushes and pulls. In fact, no one lives a life that is straight and linear with no bumps in the road. That’s because there is no rule book or owners manual for life and curve balls get thrown at us all the time. We are confronted with choices, often life changing decisions, which may embark your path on a completely different course. It can be from taking a small risk, or a big chance on someone or something, that shifts your trajectory dramatically. Obvious examples are major life events like career, marriage, children, health issues and relocation. But they can be smaller, seemingly less significant choices too, such as joining a new club or engaging in a new relationship, death of a family member, a health issue or simply moving into a new apartment across town. All can create opportunity or peril, a shift in how you view life or create a game changing scenario.
As you reflect on your past or, equally, ponder your future, try to view the bigger decisions and highlights as chapters, chapters in your very own personal book. There will often be a common thread among several chapters such as a romantic relationship leading to a beautiful wedding followed by children and ultimately buying your first house, all shared with your partner. Each of these positive life events creates a separate chapter, a key milestone in your book. Unfortunately, there will be challenges and tough times too such as divorce, losing your job, a forced move or failing health. Through all these trials and tribulations, you are not only the main character in your own personal book but the author too.
But you have a co-author, the universe, and things don’t always follow your script due to external forces and/or coupled with bad personal decisions. Rather than dwell on a bad situation which may foster into a chapter of its own, it is helpful to think bigger picture and realize it is all part of a bigger plan i.e., your book in totality. Your book is fluid and dynamic and can and will change plots often so don’t dwell and get stuck when in a painful situation. Heck, even prolific writers like Grisham or Ludlum have bad chapters that don’t fit within the context of their novel. If you feel you are in a rut or things are not going your way at this moment, try to view it as a challenging chapter in a grander book rather than an epic failure that is irreversible. We learn from our experiences, positive or negative, and we often grow the most when dealing with adversity. By observing it as one piece of a much larger puzzle, it allows us to view it less critically, be less bitter about it, not dwell on it so severely and work towards a better solution by turning the page and creating a new chapter. In adversarial times, we often have the ability to close that difficult chapter and start fresh with a promising new chapter, all within the context of your glorious book called life.