“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
We have one hell of a privilege in the first world.
Here, where our bodies are fed, rested, and exercised, our basic needs are met. Here, where there are (typically) no immediate threats to our survival, we have the blessed opportunity to think about our futures. Who do we want to become? How do we want to spend the 100(ish) years we get to live? What decisions will best support our happiness?
What am I supposed to become? How can I maintain peace and harmony in my life for 100 years? What decisions will best support my community, the ecosystem of people and organizations and circumstances that raised me? How will I make my life count?
If you care so deeply about doing this life thing “right,” you can worry so much about doing the right thing that you forget to do anything at all. You can get so caught up wishing that you had the right partner, job, or life circumstances, you forget that everything in nature takes time. You forget that what may not be here today might be waiting to greet you tomorrow.
It only takes one moment for your life to change.
Perhaps you are working a job that is less-than fulfilling. Perhaps you are single and you wish to find the love of your life. Your problem seems like the only thing that matters- if you could only solve x, then you’d be happy. Often times, you are so close to the problem that you can’t see how you may be contributing to it.
Take a step back. It only takes one moment for everything to change.
That thought can be scary; your response to that statement may be: “Oh no, I could lose it all!”
Or, you could gain something you’ve always wanted.
Everybody who has met the love of his/her life experienced “the day before.” They all had one full day of single living before they met the loves of their lives. And, more likely than not, these people were doing regular people things. They were going to the grocery store. They were going to the gym. They were fighting with their mothers. And, somehow, the person they hadn’t yet connected with on a romantic, soul-level, was doing the same thing somewhere else. She was getting her car washed. He was doing laundry. The next day, everything changed.
It’s easy to become cynical when life (our privileged, first-world life) doesn’t give us everything we want at the very moment we want it. Maybe that’s because life knows that on Saturday, we really need to get to the grocery store. And so, it saves the job we want, the partner we seek, or the opportunity we pray for until Sunday. How we spend Saturday, that’s up to us. We can spend the day in worry, fear, or stress. Or, we can recognize what’s in our control and take a positive attitude to the seemingly mundane activities that fill the precious hours we get to live in the first world.
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