I’ve taken a few days off from writing meditative posts because 1) Life. and 2) At the risk of sounding repetitive, I wanted to make sure what I was writing was useful and unique. Writing/using meditative practices can feel redundant at times, and while practice is what gets us to that elevated state of being, it’s also not helpful to repeat the same things over again. In order to grow in your practice, especially if you’ve been at it for a while, you sometimes need new information to help feed it.
I’ve written on the topic of “Creating Your Own Life Story” before, but it came from a different point in my life, a point at which I was evolving into who I wanted to be. A few years later, and I’m a lot more self-aware (in all aspects), am driving towards the things I want, and am finding myself enjoying each of my days as much as I can. In other words, I’m constantly creating my life’s story, and it never stops!
I know, especially in today’s world, there’s so much noise – “buy this”, “travel here”, “do these 80,000 things before you die”, “vote this way”, “hate this”, “love that”. You follow all of these “strong recommendations” on how to conduct your daily life, living in fear (and debt) that you’ll be missing out, or are judged, and you’re miserable because what you really wanted was something different. In this scenario, are you really creating your own life story or living out someone else’s?
I used to have major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) a lot. I believed that other people’s lives, documented on social media, were far better in comparison to mine. I tried to emulate much of what they did and wore, and realized that 1. I was exhausted 2. I felt broke, and 3. I had no idea who I was. So what if I preferred a different style of dress? So what if I didn’t get the $1000 milkshake at the newest/trendiest cafe (totally exaggerating on that one, but I once shared a $300 lasagna)? Was the stress and instant gratification worth the emulation and money for something that would be forgotten on a timeline? And, that’s just this overly-hyped use of social platforms… this doesn’t even account for real-life situations of going to place after place, event after event, seeing the same faces every night, realizing you’re just as lost and miserable as everyone else… while they are carrying the coveted bag of the season.
Step 1, for me, was getting out of my environment. I’ve mentioned before the notion of being around what you want to BECOME. This means living in an environment that nurtures your life’s goals, not prohibits them. It means surrounding yourself with like-minded people who inspire you to get there. Unfortunately, Washington, D.C. wasn’t the place for my transformation, so I moved back to San Diego for a year. While it came with its own challenges, it also came with a lot of GROWTH – it was as though I needed to be a “life” exchange student to independently transform into the person I was always meant to be.
Step 2, for me, was figuring out how to BE healthier. This wasn’t a checklist, but rather a natural progression. Sunshine is a good start, and so are long walks by the ocean and the bay. Then I started hanging out with some of my favorite people who are into holistic approaches to life, including meditation, Reiki, eating well, and workouts designed to relieve stress. Slowly, over that year I was there, I began to evolve. I started to naturally move away from certain people who weighed me down negatively, I adopted new, healthy habits that had me looking and feeling better than I ever had before.
Step 3, for me, was to EXPERIENCE my own life. Feeling freer than I ever had before, I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles meeting all sorts of amazing people, went to Sundance for the first time, flew home a couple of times to attend some super fun events, as well as so many other places to do things I had had on my “bucket list”, but was never sure I’d get to.
… and then… I moved back to Washington, D.C.
It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened. My lease was up, and I knew that while San Diego was great, I needed to be around a bit more energy. The decision was then between moving to Los Angeles or going home. I went back and forth on it until I was just about a week away, and decided that for some unknown reason, it was time to go home.
The thing was… I was different, more relaxed, and happier. I saw the city in a different light. I took the tools I instilled in me, and made a conscious decision to keep using them as best I could (while not being surrounded by sunshine and water). I took a trip through Europe for two weeks, experienced pure euphoria on a few occasions during that trip, came back, met someone amazing, traveled to Mexico, India, and Iceland, bought a house, and moved up in my career. I’ve written two books (which are currently being reconstructed), have been asked to contribute to professional publications, and have finally settled into a great mind/body routine.
The summary on my life matters because I consciously CHOSE to create my own story, to experience my life the way the universe intended. I said “yes” more and “no” less. I chose (and choose) to remain present as much as I can to appreciate every moment, regardless of what I’m doing. I chose (and choose) to not waste any minutes, because there might not be minutes left with someone you love, or even you, yourself.
You’re going… “well, good for you, but why do I care?” Because everyone is given their own journey from the start, and few actually take it. YOU have the ability, at any time, to choose what you want to do with your life. I’m not saying up and quit your job, and become a beach bum; but I am saying if you’re happier by the beach, look for remote work that allows you that flexibility! If you wish you could have happier friends, make sure you’re making yourself happier first and then you will attract those friends! Don’t wait for others to create your story, make yourself be the most interesting person in the room because YOU went out and created it.
Live. Life. Fiercely.
So, you want to be on the path to happiness, and you’re ready to create that story that’s all your own. How do you do it?
Always start small! Just like any new healthy habit, it’s taking baby steps to make it stick.
- Start by looking out a window you always look out of and notice five new things you never saw before – it can even be people! Appreciate the fact that you saw five new things out of the same view – it means you’re already practicing awareness and looking through a different lens! Repeat that for a week or so, appreciating, each day, that you can see something different (it’s also fine if it’s different windows).
- Do something different in your routine everyday. Are you usually a coffee and toast person? Have a bowl of cereal instead! It forces you to sit down for a minute and enjoy the morning… even if it’s only a minute.
- Take stock of the things that make you the happiest – things that have a lasting effect. No, this isn’t shopping. Is it your home? Is it your family? Friends? Travels? Pick one (or more) of those and spend more time with it/them. This is to create that happy feeling, continuously, that propels you into wanting to seek more avenues of long-lasting happiness.
- When you’ve mastered these, seek out the new things you want to try that gives you the same happy vibe you’ve been feeling everyday. Is it learning to skydive? Dance? Go do it! The happy feeling comes from accomplishment of trying it… even if you decide it’s not right for you to do again.
The goal you must always keep in mind is that you are seeking happiness through things that brighten your life. The more you open yourself up to the experiences, the more you do, become, and are able to share with the world! Go out there and create your own story.