“First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.” Epictetus. Goals . . . dreams . . . desires . . . hopes . . . plans . . . wishes . . . got any? Let go of some over the years? Thinking about adding a few new items to your list? Frustrated with the lack of progress? Set the bar too high over the years? I could go on for hours with these questions but I’m sure you have had enough so what’s my point? I’m just restating his quote above from my perspective. Want something in life you don’t have yet? Well, I can tell you I have been there many times and why? Was it a lack of action? Poor planning? Unclear objectives? Too many obstacles? Or, was I being unrealistic? OR, could it have a been a portion of all of these? Life is uncertain no matter how well we plan, how hard we work, and how much we hope for. In the end, I believe it is a sense of maturity and acceptance of what life hands us and how we handle it. Sure, most of us want more of something but wanting it will not guarantee we will get it. What we can do is take all the right or best steps and then accept where we end up, how we got there and learn what life wants us to learn!
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” William Shedd. As a former sailor, not in the Navy, but sailing a sailboat for a few years, I learned a great deal about how sailing relates to many aspects of life. Here are just three to consider. First – If you don’t start, you can’t finish. Regardless of how smart you are, lucky you are, rich you are, etc. the ending of everything depends on starting. Whether it’s a new job, business, relationship, diet – whatever. You have to start. Second. If you quit before you finish or reach your objective, why did you even bother to start? Three. The ending won’t always look like you hoped it would, planned it, or worked for it. The happiest people in life are not always the wealthiest, smartest, or most successful, etc. but those who have brought the most openness, playfulness, and positiveness to what life has given them, taken away from them, denied them, or rewarded them with. And one more thing – they don’t get attached to outcomes, yes, they have plans, hopes, dreams, etc. but they live with a flexible spirit. Without many of these, people will live with stress, anxiety, regret, disappointment, frustration, blame, and often anger.
“Security is a superstition, it does not exist in nature. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.” Helen Keller. I don’t know if I could have lived with the courage, values, dreams, or hopes that she did after losing her sight and hearing as a young child. But what she did teach me was that regardless of what I was missing in life I had a choice. Blame it or them for my lack of success, happiness, lack of blessings, and life outcomes or positively use them to try and change my world, the people who crossed my path whether in a restaurant or an audience in some way for the better. I don’t know how you define security; safety, money, owning stuff – whatever – but as Ortberg says in one of his books (one of my favorites) “It’s All Going Back in The Box”. “We are here for a short time and then it’s bye-bye forever.” I don’t know if there are beaches, gyms, restaurants, etc. in Heaven but I have them now – so do you. . .