Henry David Thoreau wisely said about living a meaningful life: “Most people live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Reflection: When you make a “decision, whether it’s for a marriage partner, parenthood, certain job or a particular profession, or more mundane choices whether it’s a dinner engagement or a volunteer position, you make a commitment and agree to certain arrangements or responsibilities. Lawyers would call this an agreement to terms of a contract. For every deal, you are making investments and taking risks. It’s up to you to conduct your due diligence before committing and signing-up for this arrangement or deal. It’s up to you to understand the energy, time, and emotional investment required and the possible risks. It’s up to you to make the expectations explicit to both partiest. It’s up to you to negotiate, compromise, re-negotiate or end the deal. It’s up to you to make sure that you can handle the downsides as well as the benefits. It’s up to you to decide if this contract and arrangement is what you need, want and will honor, come what may.
You need to honor and be responsible for the choices you have made and will make in the future . Don’t remain a martyr or feel persecuted they will just lead to more depression, desperation and “stuckness” in life. Be clear and conscious about the current and future choices you make. After all, if you’re over the age of 18, no one is choosing for you but you. You can point your finger and blame and look to others – “It is a have to…or I had no choice…They made me do it”, because in the end you’re the one who must choose and have the power to change in your hands.
You see this idea of living in quiet desperation doesn’t happen because of one bad choice. It’s not caused by a momentary event. It is a string of small-steps and choices over time where you choose something other than to honor your values, speak your voice, or listen to your heart. Little by little you trade personal ownership and who you are to live a life for something else. Then, one day you wake up and wonder, “How did I get here?” and your heart cries out for freedom and choices.
So, starting today ask yourself: 1. How alive do I feel about my life 1-10 scale of satisfaction (1 being and 10 being very desperate ? 2.What choices or commitments have I made that I feel great about? 3. Which ones am I regretting or feeling bad about and why? 4.What choices do I want to start making today so that I am living fully and authentically in a way that brings meaning to my life and makes me satisfied and happy?