Every now and again I question the choices I have made. I question whether I chose the right career or the right career could still choose me. I question if my belief in what I want is actually what I want and I often question what tomorrow brings. Every now and again I wonder what would have occurred if I had just made different choices, had different thoughts, walked a different path and essentially was just a different person….well, you know what they say.…you might as well be yourself because everybody else is already taken.
But, seriously, I wish I could take back all the wasted hours of worry, the pointless hours of fear and teach myself what really mattered. You know, the things that are truly important, what you will regret when your end is near and what really deserves your sleepless nights. I can assure you that many times, if only I had a crystal ball in hand, I may have felt differently. But, I didn’t and still don’t.
When you’re young, you have an endless list of goals, aspirations and benchmarks for what you think life is all about. But, the thing is, life isn’t about reaching those goals and benchmarks…life is what happens while you are trying. When you are a teenager you can’t wait for “real life” to begin, when you are in university you can’t stall it long enough. When you are in your 20’s it’s a bittersweet mix of excitement and fear at every step and in your 30’s, it’s an acceptance of a few things that you cannot change and many you still might….mayyybbeebe when you’re less tired.
But, what happens to all that fear and worry? Well, it doesn’t go away entirely, I can assure you that, but it does evolve. Tomorrow will never be just like today no matter how much you want it to, or how much you fear it might. We don’t always know what tomorrow brings. Life can be hard. Life can be scary. Life can be challenging. Life can be tricky. But, what I know now…is that life can be surprising. One day you just may wake up and decide that this is all there ever was and this is all there ever will be. The rising of your body, the sleeping of your soul, the foods you try, the strangers you meet, the classes you fail, the promotions you earn…all of this, day-in, day-out…the good, the bad, the mundane and the ugly…this is your life.
Years ago I told a friend that I thought I ruined my life. I was scared to commit, I was scared not to commit. I was scared to live on my own, I was scared to settle. I was scared to go into more debt, I was scared to spend my money in the wrong place. I was scared to go back to school, I was scared to follow the wrong career. I was scared of losing myself, I was scared to be myself. Most of all, I was scared, so unbelievably scared to admit that I was scared. I had a very misguided life plan that assumed figuring out the answers to these fears would make me happy and fearless, but it was these fears that were actually running my life. And it took time…so much time to figure out that all of this is all I have. As my friend said, you can’t ruin your life, you can only live it.
If I could undo all the fear and the worry I would. But, what journey never had a bump in the road, what novel was ever written after the first swipe of the pen, what soufflé finished after the first crack of an egg? No, it’s these hiccups, these mistakes and these stories that make my life just that…MY life. And you know what? I have from this day forward to remember that the past is the past, the future but a dream and you can only live in your here and now. My new worry can be to worry about how much I used to worry. But, more seriously, my new fear can be how I’m ever going to live enough hours to experience all the things I need to experience in order to say I truly lived.
The Ginga Ninja