October 19th was Evaluate Your Life Day. It’s a yearly thing! Honestly, there seems to be a day for everything! Sure, I could talk about the government shutdown, national healthcare, or any number of disappointingly frustrating things. Rather, I’ll reflect on more positive things such as evaluating one’s life. It’s never too early or too late to do so. We should always take the time to reflect upon the person we are, would like to be, and the person we once were.
This seems to be a topic I circle with many of my articles. And depending on how you look at it, evaluating your life allows you to take stock of everything or just the things you’d like to really reflect on. I believe I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. It has included jotting down and prioritizing a list of things that are important to me, defining who I am, looking at my approach to life as well as a few others that I’d like to go into.
Get in touch with your inner child. I think that as adults it becomes so easy to be cynical. This jaded view of life leaves little to no room for the parts of you that enjoyed life as you may have as a child. I have found that losing my inner child has also muted my creativity and can make life sometimes feel like a chore. I do think that it’s important to not always be so serious. It’s okay to live a little and let loose sometimes. It’s our adult faculties that will keep us from going completely off the deep end.
Be the best person you can be. Often we’re so concerned about how others view us that when we look in the figurative mirror we see a stranger. I’ve spent years of my life being hung up on this very thing. In many areas of my life I was just going through the motions, pretending to be someone just because that’s the person I believed others saw me. However, I realized that even if it was little things that I hid, for example, my personal religious views, it was still me not being true to myself. If you like me or don’t like me I’m not going to please everyone and so the best thing I could do is in making sure that I accepted the things that I couldn’t or didn’t want to change about myself and lived my life how I wanted to. There’s no such thing as a perfect person and to aspire to that would be crazy.
We’re only human. I make mistakes. We all do. But I was the type of person whose mistakes seemed to cast a mental shadow over my life. Rather than learn from my mistakes I’d dwell on them. As a result I often found myself repeatedly in déjà vu situations I should have avoided all together. I was the type of person who always felt that the next time would be different. In these situations I’ve learned to remind myself of one thing, the definition of insanity. I accepted that we’re often the rule and not the exception and that I should not be doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Make the mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Stop making excuses. There’s a famous dc Talk cover song, In the Light, whose lyrics include the line, “I am the king of excuses, I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do.” At the end of the day aren’t we all a little like that? Whether it’s supplying a reason why losing weight will have to wait or why we didn’t make a deadline, there’s always some reason. The buck stops with you. Sure, life happens but we do have a certain degree of control over much of it. If your goal is to lose weight, there’s no reason not to. You can make the incremental changes to do so. And when it all seems to just be too hard, put it into perspective. It took time to gain the extra weight, it’ll take time to take it off.
I’m not saying that you need to take on evaluating your life like it’s a dreaded homework assignment. What I am saying is that sometimes we need a reality check. It’s just like your car or any other electronic device, we need tune-ups from time to time. Take care of yourself and then you can be in a better place to take care of the things in your life that are important to you. Are you the person you want to be? It all starts with that first step forward.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 10/23/13 issue of The Union-Recorder. The article appeared under the title, It’s Time to Evaluate Your Life.