[dropcap]I[/dropcap] recently read a quote “This isn’t your practice life. This is all there is.” These words really resonated with me. Often times we go through life coasting. We go through the motions. We are in relationships that are “ok” or jobs that we “don’t like” we have friends that drain of us of our energy but still continue to hang out with them, even though it’s more work than what it’s worth, I could go on and on. I hear too many stories of people that are young and something terrible happens. A 29 year old with stage 4 melanoma, a child took from the world too young, all reminders that life is SHORT. You never know when it will be your last day.
Yet for most of us we live our life with something majorly wrong. I myself was victim of this. I was in a relationship that was 80% of the time “ok” and 20% of the time “good”. I felt like I had invested so much time that I didn’t want to throw it away. I was with a great guy, I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about him, but at the end of the day we didn’t make each other happy. We didn’t bring out the best in each other. I didn’t want to be a failure, I for sure didn’t want a failed relationship, but at 26 I KNEW that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with “ok”. Making big changes are scary! It’s hard to think about completely uprooting everything that you have grown to know and become routine. I see so many people in unhappy marriages and they stay for the sake of their kids. Now I do not have kids so I am not going to even claim that I know what that’s like, but I am a kid from divorced parents. I can speak only from my own experience to say trust me, we will be ok! My parents were SO different. I look at them now and can’t imagine them married. I see them both with amazing partners, people that they have so much in common with and get it now. As a 14 year old kid I didn’t understand or grasp it, but I was a snotty teenager of course all I cared about is my “life being ruined”. As I got older I learned so much more about relationships through my parent’s divorce. I knew I did not want to be divorced. I knew I didn’t want to get married because I had been with someone 7 years and that’s what you are “supposed” to do. I knew that a ring on a my finger was not a validation that my relationship would last. Even though it was hard, I appreciated my own relationships so much more for the fact that I got to see my parents truly in love with other people, even if it wasn’t with each other. Their new relationships are what I hoped to have for myself one day.
I finally stopped settling for ok and moved out on my own. It was scary as hell but my years being single and alone taught me so much about myself. It really let me be ME, the person that was hiding somewhere deep down, the person that was always putting other people first and finally got to do all the things I wanted to do. That change was one of the biggest leaps of faith I took and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My relationship with MYSELF grew and enabled me to fully appreciate what a good relationship really is. I met my husband and while I might have waited a long time to get married it was worth the wait. Now I have 80% “great” and 20% “good”. I hear too many people say “I KNEW the day I got married I shouldn’t be doing this”. I have heard every excuse from “we spent too much money” (divorce isn’t cheap either people!) to “I thought it would get better” and I guess I can’t relate but what I can say is from what I have seen with people very close to me go through this is you need to make yourself happy. That gut instinct is telling you something. Yes you might lose out deposits on your wedding venues and DJs but you will most likely spend that down the line on an attorney. Bottom line is don’t settle for “ok”. You have one life, this isn’t practice.
Most of us spend 40 plus hours a week working. More time at our jobs than we probably have to spend with our families. Yet if you asked most people you know if they like their job they would probably say no. I know many people that outright hate their jobs. Yet they do nothing to change their situations. They don’t update their resumes or start searching for something new. They waste away going to a place they don’t like and just toughing it out. We get comfortable and complacent and it’s easy to fall into that trap. I recently was in a job where every day I pulled into the parking lot and sat in my car for a solid 10 minutes, mentally prepping myself to walk into the building. I was commuting over 30 miles, my office building was dreary, my job was not what I had been told it would be when I got hired and I overall wasn’t happy. I “toughed” it out for a year and a half and thought enough is enough. I would come home from work mentally drained and crabby. I knew there was more to life than THAT. I started job hunting and found something new and so far am 100 times happier than I had been before.
I think when things get hard for us we keep hoping that things around us will change. We hope our relationships will get better magically, that a new job will just fall into our laps, that the negative people in our life will just wake up one day and be happy, we want the external circumstances to change because that would be easy. The change has to start within. WE actually have to pick up the remote and change the channel ourselves.
Through my yoga practice I started being more present and living life in the moment. When I am not happy I now do something about it. I am done settling. While I am young still and might not have years worth of experience and life knowledge behind me, I do know THIS – I am done being “ok”. I am going to do my damnedest to make my life GREAT and I am the only one that has the power to do that. Stop living your life like it’s a practice round, make the best of what you have because you never know when your time will run out. Can you look at your life right now and be happy with what you have accomplished? If you said no it’s time for a change. It’s scary and hard but in the end your happiness is completely worth it. This is all we have.