Why did I wait until I was in my mid-70s to realize that I do not need a plan for everything? Why did I miss so many opportunities to enjoy life? Now that I think about it, who created all these rules in the first place?
How come I never wrote my book? How come I never tried sports? Why didn’t I accept that invitation to speak? Why do I have to be so sure about every aspect of my life? Who said I have to have everything planned out perfectly? So many questions with so little time.
It is clear to me now that most plans do not work out, so why did I spend so much effort worrying about them? I am all for planning but do not expect that there will be no changes. When you act as if you have control of everything in your life, you miss out on the spontaneous, memorable aspects of it. Wow, most of the people that know me never expected me to say that! Well, I have had 70+ years to think about it.
I have always believed in a balanced life. The challenge is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy doing. Examine your values and decide what’s important to you; then set your boundaries. Not knowing what you want and trying to do everything is not a good plan. So, just because there is an opportunity in front of you does not mean that you should pounce on it. On the other hand, going through life afraid to do anything is a drag. Both extremes, doing too much and doing nothing, I believe is a problem.
Many years ago I went on a Windjammer Caribbean cruise and met a girl. OK, the secret is out. We would go our separate ways after the cruise, so why was I so worried about laughing a little. We both had fun, so why put a title on it? As long as you are happy and not violating any of your boundaries, go for it. Maybe it’ll be everything you ever wanted and more, or maybe it’ll be a disaster. Either way, you’ll learn from it. I do not advocate giving up on responsibility or accountability. What I am saying is that sometimes you have to take some risk.
If you are searching for joy, try new things and embrace the uncertainty. I think that we get so set in our way, we forget there’s more to life. Do something you’ve never done, no matter how unsure you are and don’t waste your time stressing about it. Maybe somewhere along the way it’ll dawn on you that you have a dream worth following. So what if you are a little unsure, try it. OK, let’s not get too carried away here. Sometimes that uneasy feeling is trying to remind you of something. Remember your values and relationships and if you are not violating any boundaries, try it. It is OK to be uncertain and to stop planning every step of the way. You are the one who controls your happiness. You can be happy if you choose to be, or you can let yourself be miserable.