A lot of people get stuck in a rut and stay there. They do the same things every day, day after day, because they are easy, comfortable, and non-threatening. They pose no challenge, and no difficult decisions have to be made.
But there is a big difference between merely existing, and living life to the full. If we have only one life to live, we should try to make it count. And since people in the developed world are living longer than ever before (to around at least 80 years of age), that is an awful lot of years to spend “just killing time.”
Getting into the Rut
When we are younger, we get used to other people have expectations of us: parents, teachers, and other well-meaning adults. They want us to be happy, so they encourage us to be doctors, lawyers, teachers and so on. They steer us in the direction of secure, well-paid jobs. They also encourage marriage, children, home ownership via a mortgage, and all of the other trappings of “success.”
We go to parties and say “I am a banker,” not, “I work as a banker.” We start to identify with our job as if it is who we are, and tells the person we are meeting for the first time everything they supposedly need to know.
If we show any interest in a more creative career, such as becoming a musician or writer, we are told to be “practical” and face up to adult responsibilities, such as needing to have a steady income in order to pay all the bills. We get stuck in jobs just to pay the bills rather than have a career that really fulfills us.
The longer we are in the rut, the harder it can be to get out of. Everyone has so many expectations of us, after all – at work, at home, paying the bills, being a good spouse, parent, child of elderly parents, and so on. The sheer weight of expectations, however, can soon start to feel like a crushing weight on our shoulders.
Getting Out of the Rut
Getting out of the rut takes courage, but the rewards in terms of body, mind and spirit can be well worth it. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to change.
But it does require a decision to do so, and commitment to follow through. Your starting point is from within, as you examine your life and decide what is most important to you. Many people call this their purpose in life; leading a purpose-driven life means focuses on actions that help you achieve your purpose and goals in life.
It’s about looking at where you are now, and deciding where you want to go and who you want to become. The caterpillar does have to struggle, it is true, but look at the beautiful butterfly that emerges, completely transformed.
Dwelling on the past is not going to help you live a happier present, or future. Only by taking action each day can you achieve your purpose in life and feel the kind of passion and excitement we often had as children waking up each new day.
Each and every moment can be ripe with all sorts of exciting possibilities if we are willing to look for them. What if you go left, not right, get off at a different stop on the train, or take an evening class on a subject you’ve always wanted to learn more about?
All these small changes can lead to big results, and a more fulfilled life – and best of all, it’s never too late to try.