Life is fluid.
Sometimes we all feel a little bit out of control. It’s like we are paddling down a river, one minute everything is peaceful and calm. We can take stock of what is around us. Enjoy the view, the peace, and the journey. The next? You’re paddling for your life, feeling like the river is in control and you are just doing what you can to stay afloat.
It’s reasonable to experience feelings where you believe you have lost control. To feel exhausted and to want to throw the oar in and let life bounce you off rocks, capsize you and decide on your fate. But the fact is, absolutely everything that is going on in your life, you have control of.
I’ve had a total of four new beginnings in my life. Some might say that I should try changing something. If I have had to hit the reset button that many times, then I’m not learning things.
That isn’t true.
Each time I have taken control of my life, I have learnt something new and changed something new. Carrying a fresh understanding into the next stage of my life which has given me the strength to grow and evolve in some way. It’s impossible to flip a switch overnight and wake up as the ideal version of yourself. No one can do that. What is possible is to keep building on the original version of you, until you find one you are happy with.
When life is really getting choppy, you are faced with choices. It’s these choices that determine the path you will take. Those paths don’t specify the outcome, only you can do that. Often I have heard people say that in times of trouble, they wish they could just pause everything. To a degree it is possible.
Let’s go back to the river. You can see rapids approaching. You can hear them. But you don’t have to be dragged in. You already have a choice. You can paddle over to the river bank, get out and walk. You can assess the situation. You can see the quickest route through is to just ride through it. But it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be dangerous. Or, you could pull your boat out of the water, drag it along the river bank and go round.
Both of these choices will work. But which one do you want to take? And which one will help you grow?
I have a powerful motto. If you aren’t living life on the edge, you aren’t living. So I will always take the route that scares me most. Having the ability to stop, breath and prepare is still the starting point.
If you are lucky, you won’t be alone. You’ll have someone with you saying ‘Come on! We’ll be fine,’ or maybe, you’ll have someone behind you, taking your lead and trusting you. More choices. What if the person with you doesn’t want to take your route? They are scared of what might happen? Do you change your plans to stay with them? Or do you leave them behind to make their own decision?
One thing I know is that if I haven’t thrown myself at the hardest thing, I will always feel regret. Something that I have never learnt from, it’s never made me stronger, bolder or wiser. Disappointment has only ever made me wallow, which in turn makes me repeat the same cycle. To get out of the boat.
Right now my life is rapid. It’s like an angry, choppy monster created by my past choices and by some new ones. This time though, I’m taking the lead. I have no one to follow or make me feel brave. The people I love are looking to me.
I’ve hit rapids like this before. So I know what is on the other side. It’s like a beautiful, still and calm new life. It’s moments away from me. I could get out and walk around. Dragging my boat slowly to it’s calmer destination. Repeating the same choices that seem to make these rapids bigger and scarier. I’m not going to do that though.
I’m heading straight in. I know exactly what route to take. How to navigate it and that I’ll get through it. I want what is on the other side. I want the people I love to come with me. Laugh at the bottom, once we are through and then sit with me, in the calm knowing that it was worth the risk.
I know the rough ride ahead is the start of a new beginning in my life. I just don’t know if anyone is coming with me.
Don’t be afraid to face things head on. Don’t be afraid to learn as you go. Trust in yourself to get to the place you want, no matter what it takes. Take every hardship as an opportunity and every joy as a reward.
Respect the ones who couldn’t follow you. Love the ones who could.