In my twenties, I had trouble loving my life. After being told what to do for so long by others I didn’t know how to give myself permission to have fun, to play, to explore, to carve my own way through life.
Honestly, I was a person with a shell around me that kept the good stuff out. It was lonely and depressing and meaningless. And it dragged. Every day felt like 50 years long. All the things I’d done naturally as a child — laugh, explore, sing, dance, rebel, learn — disappeared in a fog of fear when I got into high school and beyond. I felt like that young elephant who has been chained for so long that when they remove the chain, she still stands in the same place — unaware the chain has been removed.
I saw a few others living a life they loved. They just filled the room with their enthusiasm about this adventure or that project. Yet, I didn’t know how to join them. Nor did I have the courage to ask them how they got to such a place.
Instead, I cowered behind the fears I’d developed along the way. Fear of saying hello. Fear of making the first move. Fear of speaking my truth. Fear of talking back. Fear of speaking up first. Fear of making a scene. Fear of showing my emotions. Fear of taking a chance. Fear of going for the brass ring. Fear of being human. Fear of overcoming Fear. Ad Nauseam.
It’s sad how a child that loved life gets trained to be afraid to love life. But it happens. It’s important to beat the life out of people so they follow the beaten path – the one that you wouldn’t normally get on because it looks drab and worn out. I didn’t want to get on it but felt like I had no other choice. And it was as bland and soulless as I’d imagined.
How do I get off this ugly path, I wondered?
Fortunately, when a miraculous portal opened to “love your life land,” I stepped through it or got pushed by a friend or the wind blew me into it. Not sure exactly. Somehow I made it to the other side of the looking and wishing glass and it was beautiful over there. Scary, but exhilarating because a life that you love requires you to be fully alive and that means taking chances and busting through your own status quo and bad life training.
Over time, I chose the path of what Robert Frost called the Road Less Traveled. And it is true, it did make all the difference. The first time I read that poem, I felt it was speaking to my trapped soul! God, how can I ever get onto that other path? How do I get there from the one I’m on? They don’t seem to connect. Little did I know I had to create my own connection to the path I wanted to get on.
When I start to feel too comfortable, I look down and notice I somehow migrated back towards the beaten path. At those times, I pick up an imaginary sickle and bushwhack my way back to the path less traveled.
At this moment, you may want to pause and take your own life inventory.
Do you love your life? I mean really love it. Or are you settling for good or okay? And if it’s the latter, is it really the life you want to live? Or it is the default life?
The easiest way to tell the difference? The life you love makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning because you know in your heart that the world needs you to be you because by doing so you’ll be encouraging someone else to step through their own magic portal to find the life they’ll love.