It is finally spring here in Chicago and along with noticing all the work that needs to be done to the yard many families are making their plans for spring break. Some are big extravagant plans like trips to Florida. Others are just day care arrangements and maybe one family day together. Planning a trip or arranging childcare takes time. First one decides what spring break looks like to them whether that means visiting Mickey Mouse or making sure the children are taken care of while the parents are at work. Next there is research, pricing, and scheduling. And finally there are phone calls, purchases, and contracts. It takes a lot of work to make a family’s spring break happen.
How many hours or days did you personally spend conceiving, arranging, and planning spring break? Now how many hours have you spend this past year in determining your ideal life, researching what it would look like, and determining what would need to occur to make it happen? It has been said most people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their lives. Is this true for you?
All too often we drift through life without a direction. I know there were many years of my life where I didn’t know what was next and most importantly I didn’t know I could decide what was next. I spent the time doing the best with what I had, reacting to events and opportunities, and wondering if this was all life was suppose to be. I thought life was only about survival in a system someone else created.
For example, I had gone to California for theatrical directing graduate school just because UCLA accepted me. If they had not, I had no idea what was next. After graduate school did not work out because my heart was not into it, I floundered around Los Angeles for a few years not knowing my future or what I wanted that future to look like. Then when the company I was working for was no longer stable, I decided to come back to Chicago. What I was to do there, I had no idea. What happened was I worked with a placement company to find a job, any job, to pay the bills. This chance secretarial position led to a 15 year marketing career. There was no conscious thought. The decision to find this job and accept it was made out of fear and desperation. It was not made from my heart, from my passion. And eventually my body made it clear that the 9 to 5 corporate world was not right for me by waking me up with undiagnosable pain so I could finally begin listening to my heart.
All too often we move through life not being aware that we have a choice in what that life looks like. We go through our days doing what our parents did, what are friends are doing, what we perceive society expects from us, or just accepting what comes our way. We go to college, get married, have children, and retire at 65. That’s the course that is laid out for us. That is the course we assume we have to take. Sometimes that course is not right for us. Perhaps the course laid out is not composed of the right elements or those elements are not in the right order for us. But it is difficult to go with our heart, to move toward what makes us happy versus what we assume we are expected to do by society. People who stray from society’s course are seen as courageous, rebellious, or gutsy. But really they are just following their heart. They have put their heart’s needs above the fear of assumed repercussions of not following perceived expectations.
We make it difficult to plan our lives from our hearts because we fill our time being busy with stuff. All day long we have to answer emails and texts. We have to buy this or that to remain modern, trendy, and to keep up the image of success. We have to race between work, soccer practice, and karate. We fill our days with stuff keeping ourselves from looking at our heart’s desires. The analogy I often use is that our lives are lived like we drive our cars. We put the pedal to the metal. We race through yellow lights. We rush around slow cars. We get angry at roadblocks and potholes. We are racing around fast and furious because we are late and have to so much we think we need to do. But if we don’t stop and define if we are driving to Los Angeles or New York, will we ever get there? We spend our days adding mileage to our lives but we are not moving toward our desired destination. All too often I found, the more I did, the more fires I put out, the more to-do’s on my list, the more I was actually pulling myself away from what makes me truly happy.
Are you ready to let go of what you think you need to do and to begin listening to your heart? Are you ready to start planning your life today? Share with us the first steps you will take to have the life you truly desire.