You are in your living room, lying on your couch, trying to remember who you were at eighteen, twenty-five, thirty-six, and wondering why you are so different today. What happened to all your dreams, your plans for the future? How did your life slip away without even realizing it?
When we try to revisit those years, are our memories of the events accurate? Do we see them as they were or how we would like them to be? Do we make excuses for our decisions, try to rationalize them, or do we live with regrets that we give up to get where we are?
What if we had traveled the world for a few years before getting married or before embarking on a career? Would the earth have turned on its axis if we had put off making those adult decisions until we had lived a little, learned more about life, learned more about ourselves?
Where are the friends we used to have, the ones we abandoned because we rationalized that we were moving forward, growing? Did we really know each other well enough to make the kinds of decisions that would affect our entire lives before we knew, with absolute certainty, the kind of life we were signing up for?
Many people move through life on autopilot, not content with their lives, but being too lazy or too scared to make the necessary changes.
How did you get into this race? If it no longer suits you or you don’t feel like going to work every day, it may be time to change the type of work you do. If you’re married and feeling trapped with kids and a huge mortgage, it might be time to have that conversation with your spouse and see if he or she feels as trapped as you are.
It is never too late to change careers or make different financial and living arrangements with your spouse. If you have the money, it’s never too late to take the trip you imagined taking when you were eighteen, twenty-five, or thirty-six.
But above all, it is about knowing yourself as you are now. Are your dreams still sleeping in your heart and mind or have your dreams changed?
It’s not a huge shame to change your dreams as long as you don’t fool yourself or make excuses for not having pursued your original dreams, all of which makes me wonder why you let your life slip away, why you’ve never noticed it before. And what are you going to do to get back the life you lost?