Sunday, February 24, 2013

Life Is What You Make It

I have been thinking about the idea of life is what you make it. I know we often talk about being in control or taking control of your life or doing what you love or anything of the sort, but how often do we really do any of these things? How often do we actually take control of our life instead of reacting to the stimuli constantly occurring around us? How often do we head in the direction we want, instead of following the path the winds are blowing us towards?

Some things are out of our control and it is important to make the best out of what happens around us (and to us). You may lose a job or a relationship will end or a manuscript will be rejected or you will be passed over for a promotion or any number of bad things that can happen to you. Don't dwell on the bad things when they happen. We've all heard the sayings: "there's more than one fish in the sea" or "when a door closes a window opens" or "everything happens for a reason". While we all know these are true, we have to do whatever we can to really make the best out of things that happen.

There are times, though, when you just can't make the best out of what happens. Instead of falling into an abyss of depression, sometimes you just have to shake your fist (often with your middle finger extended) to the heavens and use the anger as the fuel to learn as much as you can, pick yourself up and move forward. Not everything is going to work out in the end. That's perfectly normal and okay, no matter how many people mention a cute, little quote like the ones above. Sometimes shit just happens and we have to continue to get up in the morning and live life. We don't have to make the best out of these situations, but we do have to keep moving forward doing the best we can.

It would be great if someone could just give us a shortcut on making life exactly what we want it to be. We look around and we see people who seemingly are living the life they want and we just want to know how to get there. The real answer and the one most people don't want to hear is they worked their ass off. Yes, they may have had some lucky breaks along the way, but they still worked their assess off. I know, it's not the answer I wanted either. I was hoping for an easy way too...but everything you really want is going to take a lot of hard work. There really aren't any shortcuts on this journey, unless you don't really care about the outcome.

As you are trying to make your life what you want, remember no one really has all the answers. If they act like they do (or actually think they do), they are going to do more harm than good. You can read tons of books or listen to people speak or subscribe to all the self-help blogs and podcasts out here, but you are never going to find all the answers externally. Part of life being what you make it is knowing what you want with your life. Other people have their own agendas and ideas that probably don't mesh with yours. The only way to get all the "answers" from other people is to give up your own ideas. No matter how you spin it, this sounds a little too cultish to me (and trust me from experience, no matter how smart or well-known a leader is, they aren't going to be right about everything).

This life is what you make it. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the anger, the joy...everything rolled into one. While we are never going to have control over everything that happens, we do have control over ourselves. We can react to the things that happen and we can work towards the things we want to happen. We can fight. We can get angry. We can work our asses off. We can get lucky from time to time. We can have things ripped from our grasp. We can try to make the best of the shitty things that happen. We can just dust ourselves off and push forward when the really shitty things happen. We can curse the gods. We can thank the heavens. We can learn and dream and hope and pray. We just can't stop trying.

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