Do What You Can

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In that last post, I quoted a line from a book by Shauna Niequist. There’s a part of that quote – the part about not fast-forwarding yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned – that I’ve been considering a lot in the past several days.

There are a lot of things that I want in my life that I don’t yet have. And while I fully believe I’m the only one who can make things happen in my life, I hadn’t exactly thought of it in terms of “earning” my future.

I think I should start asking myself that question as part of my morning and evening journaling. What can you do today to earn the future you want? What did you do today that puts you one step closer to that future? Does the way you live your life now make you worthy of the future you desire?

I feel like that’s a good reflection exercise.

I’ve read from a variety of different sources about the value of writing down on paper, in very specific terms, where you want to be, say, 5 or 10 years in the future. I’ve always had a hard time with the specifics. I think that’s because sometimes the specific things I want to be part of my life are beyond my control. And I don’t want to commit to paper something I can’t guarantee.

But I had a very clear vision this morning as I was getting ready for work of what I wished I was doing instead – of exactly how my day would be carried out and who would be in it if I had my way. It was a lovely way to start my morning.

And then I went to work and got bogged down by a bureaucracy that only seems to be getting worse every day, and all I can think about now is that vision of my future. A future that – while it isn’t wholly in my control – could be exactly what I need.

I’m always harping on control, and I get frustrated sometimes because I feel like a lot of what I think will make me feel fulfilled is beyond my control. So what am I supposed to do?

“What I can” is inevitably the answer. Focus on what you can do and work your ass off for it, and ultimately everything else will follow. The result may not look exactly like what you’d envisioned, but if you put in the effort, it will be good.

It’s not scientific, but I believe sending out positive vibes will result in good things coming back to you.

So I’m going to spend some time today writing out my vision. It’s not for public sharing – not right now, anyway. It’s just for me, to give me a beautiful sense of direction (something I feel like I’ve been lacking a bit.)

And I’ll take what I write and develop a list of what I can do to make it happen. Something concrete I can review every day while I ask myself “Is the way I’m living now pushing me toward what I want?”

I already know that some of what I’m doing now is. And the major thing that needs to change is my attitude toward my work and where I want my career to go. It’s stagnant and has been for awhile. Ironically, it’s probably the one area I have the most control over. Which should be comforting.

I just need to get off my ass and get to it.

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