Taking Time To Evaluate

Flowers_SkyIt’s a gray day, with lots of mud created by the snow melt. Seems appropriate for a bit of reflection.

So many of us lead ridiculously busy lives, barely having any time to just sit and think. What happened to those long summer breaks from school where it seemed like summer would go on forever? You could just stare up at the blue summer sky and daydream about the future. We need those moments.

Sometimes people get stuck in a rut. Many of us go through the motions, doing what we think is the “right” thing to do: go to college, get a corporate job, work the 9-5 (really, more like 8 to 6 or more for many), buy a house and cars, contribute to your 401(k). You do it not because it’s what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning, but because it’s what society says you should be doing. You work long hours, spend little time with those you care about, let yourself get out of shape, eat unhealthy meals at your desk or on the road, and collect your paychecks. You probably don’t or won’t take much in the way of vacation because work is ever-present – you have to check your email on vacation or deal with a thousand messages in your inbox when you get back. Maybe the office even calls you when you’re on vacation. So much for boundaries.

This kind of lifestyle takes its toll. Our physical and mental health suffers. Who hasn’t heard of coworkers, including “young” ones, having strokes or heart attacks? Relationships suffer. You feel like the “hamster on the wheel” and the damned thing is constantly picking up speed.

What to do? No one can (or should) tell you, so you’ll have to decide for yourself: keep doing what you do, primarily for money, and deal with the negative results or take a big risk and do something different. The risks include the possibilities that you could make less (maybe a lot less) money, have to change your lifestyle, gain a different sense of identity…and maybe, ultimately, you’ll find you’re happier and healthier in the long run.

Think about what really makes you feel fulfilled and what doesn’t. Do you really have to keep doing the things that don’t make you happy? Can you incorporate more of the things that do? Sometimes you decide to make the change; other times, the decision is made for you. However it happens, take the time to consider whether there’s a purpose you may have missed at first blush. Maybe it’s a cue that you wouldn’t have made that decision on your own, so something has given you a little push. Sometimes the right encouragement is all it takes to make that leap of faith into the unknown…and maybe there’s something really interesting in the unknown.