One of my favourite lyrics is in the song “Dare You to Move” by the band Switchfoot:
The tension is here / Between who you are and who you could be / Between how it is and how it should be
This hits very close to home for me, and I feel is relevant to the world as it continues to turn.
We make many decisions every day, some we are conscious of and others our brain processes without us having to devote time to it. Each of these decisions changes the direction of our life to some degree. Some so minutely we might not notice until we look back years later, like whether to walk or catch the bus on a particular day, or what to have for breakfast. Others cause big shifts at the time and into the future, like whether to take up tertiary study, change jobs, buy a house, or move overseas.
I am a big user of the phrase “what if?” especially when thinking of the few times I’ve found myself strongly drawn to a wonderful woman and have been getting to know them. My mind spends a lot of time looking into the past and wondering about decisions, thinking if I had chosen my words more carefully would my life be different now? Sometimes this is conscious thought and provides helpful insight for future decisions I will make. But, more often than not, it is my mind wishing I had done something differently in the hope it would have changed the outcome. The likelihood in most of these situations, even if I had made a different choice, would have been the same end result. When interacting with others, they have free will to choose what is best for them, and there are so many more factors than simply what we said or did. Unless we did something memorable, by being extremely foolish, hopelessly rude, or failing to follow rule number one of life, “don’t be a dick,” chances are things have turned out ok. Even if we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel it will be waiting for us when we are ready to embrace it.
If we can alter our perspective from focussing on past mistakes to being excited about future adventures we can address any tension, as Switchfoot say, between who we are and who we could be. This will free us up to move our lives in the best direction. Each day I strive to be a better me than yesterday, to break the cycle of doing the same thing every day and simply hoping for change. Hope is important, but it is only one ingredient of a fulfilling life. We have to actively make change happen, no one will make it happen for us. Good family and friends will offer encouragement and assistance when they can, but if we passively let them do all the heavy lifting it won’t be long before they let us know about it. I pray to God most days for guidance. It is up to me to take positive action to accept the opportunity when God provides it.
Be a what iffer about the future. That is where we are all going and where decisions we make will have an impact. Instead of being a what iffer about the past lamenting decisions already made, be excited about the decisions we are yet to make.
Be good, keep good, and sleep good dear readers. Peace.