Yesterday was my 27th birthday. Birthdays have a way of causing one to reflect on life, such as where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. I'm still in awe of the fact that my body helped create two little beautiful human beings. My oldest will be THREE this year. It seems like only yesterday that we brought her home. I can't believe this year will be five years since I married the love of my life. That means it's also been five years since I graduated from college. Time seems to be going so fast.
It made me think this week a lot about where I am in life. There is so much that I love about my life. There are things about it that I don't like though too. But I can honestly say that I am on a path to change everything that I am unhappy about. I am not simply sitting by and waiting for life to magically change. With God's help, I am moving in the direction of my dreams. And even though this requires sacrifice, at the end of the day I can rest easily because I know that it will all be worth it.
I was watching "Despicable Me" (hilarious by the way) with the family the other day. The first scene is in Egypt at the pyramids. I thought to myself, "I can't wait to see that someday." I have always assumed that someday I will see all the amazing things in the world that I want to see. Do you do that too? Do you just assume that someday you will have the time and money to do what you want to do?
For example, I am always wishing that we had the ability to travel. Instead of allowing my desire to travel to become a distant dream, we are making sacrifices with money now, so that we will have the time and money to do it later. The timing is good for us to make this work. My kids are so young that they don't notice that our family days are spent on mostly free activities like going to the park. They won't care that this year we are cutting costs by spending our vacation at a beach and staying with friends. But because we are working hard this year and spending less money, we won't have to work as hard later and our money will be freed up in the next 1-2 years.
When I talk about sacrifice for us it means spending less money, but it does not mean that we do not enjoy ourselves, We find ways to have fun for less. The point is, that we are on a path to change what we don't like about our lives. AND we are enjoying ourselves along the way. You can't just assume that the future is going to be what you want it to be. You have to create it. Don't assume that you're going to have money when you retire unless you are actively setting it up so that you will. Don't assume that 10 years from now your life will be different unless you are taking the steps to make it different.
Too often, people make themselves victims of circumstance, They act as if they have no say in what becomes of their future. If you are at a job you dislike (studies show that 80% of Americans are), then what are you doing to change it? If you want more time with family, what actions are you taking to make that happen? Do you wish you could be debt free yet you are doing nothing about changing your spending habits? In other words, are you complaining about something and doing nothing to change it? Take your power back and start taking steps to change what you need to change.
The chart below may seem oversimplified, but it works for most things.
A common cause of feeling like a "victim" is that we assume that our future will be a certain way because our past has told us that. Have you heard, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior?" It might be true, but it doesn't have to be.
A great example is when people start a new weight loss program. You hear people say all the time that they've "tried everything" and it's no use. They think that because they have failed in the past that they are destined to fail in the future. If that were true, however, no one would ever succeed because everyone fails at some point! Some manage to overcome the failure and grow from it. You can too. You have to commit to your goals and then identify obstacles and how to overcome them. But don't let your past be the indicator of what you can do. Instead, see your past mistakes and failures as a learning experience and use it to discover what you need to change to succeed this time around.
Little changes every day can become big changes over time!
This year I turned 27. I wonder how different my life will be 28? It'll be fun to look back at this and reflect again. I expect that it will only be wonderful by then, because I am choosing to make it so. You can too.