I have a friend who is going through a terrible time. They are questioning everything having to do with who and what they are and the life they have been living. Or, to put it differently: feeling like they haven’t been living their life at all. You see, he just turned 45 and all he can talk about is how he is almost 50 and how his uncle simply fell dead, from a stroke, at the ripe old age of 54. His wife is quite worried. His mother, bless her heart, told his wife (her daughter-in-law) to stop being a drama-queen; that he was just having a midlife crisis and that she simply needed to hide all the credit cards and not give him too much time alone to think. She needed to keep him busy with projects that he could do well, finish in plenty of time, and to give him a lot of praise when he did so.
There are many people who go about living a fairly satisfying life till their late forties or fifties, or even their sixties. Then, all of a sudden, they have some knee-jerking realization that they are mortal and may have less time remaining than they have already spent. It is like a magnified, elongated, version of the question; “What would you do if you were told you only had three days to live?” The answer, usually, is that they would be spend that three days doing something much different that what they had been doing. In their head, time just became much more precious and a luxury not to be wasted on the “everyday” stuff. Then, they buy a fast little sports car; possibly reminiscent of their youth. Some of them get a new wardrobe, hairstyle, or a face-lift. There are some that decide to become more daring and adventurous and take exotic trips or jump out of airplanes. Then, there are those who decide that, realizing they have only this life for a certain amount of time, want to live a completely different life; they leave their spouses, their jobs, even their friends and simply “become” someone else for what precious time they have left.
So, it seems that for many, the newly found concept of time running out somehow transforms the life they had from being satisfying to that of one being unacceptable and a waste of their limited time and they have a “Mid-life Crisis”.
Maybe, but I know for a fact that it doesn’t happen solely at the middle point of one’s life. I have been having a “Mid-life Crisis” since I was sixteen!
I have never felt like I was living up to my potential or doing what I was supposed to do and I always looked at every “it’s okay-but-not-great” accomplishment as more of a failure and as it having wasted valuable time. I was one step closer to being in the grave having never known true happiness. Now, that, People, is a drama-queen.
I have struggled with that my whole life and feel it is, largely, why I am a jack of all trades, but master of none. I have bounced from job to job and city to city, always hoping I had finally found what would give me that sense of satisfaction and completeness; that “YES! This is who I am am what I am supposed to be doing!”. Instead, after just a few months, or even just a few weeks, I would have to resign myself to accepting that the job or the place were okay, but not what I was, ultimately, searching for. I had more jobs and relationships (if we want to call them that) by the time I was 25 than most people have their entire lives!
So, I spent over 30 years, bouncing. It seemed such an easier prospect to simply keep doing this and then doing that, over and over again, by a process of elimination, than to attempt trying to figure out what it was that was going to give me “THAT” happiness; that place, job, and persona that would make me feel like I was finally as functional, constructive, and fulfilled as anyone could ever hope to be. It has all been very disappointing and, oh, so exhausting.
Then, late last year, I stopped doing that. I decided that I was tired of changing all the physical geography of my being. It struck me that maybe I should consider changing my idea of what would make me happy.
So many of us have this ideal of the perfect life-scenario that will fulfill every facet of our needing. But, it really isn’t like that at all. I knew there were a number of things that I am good at and enjoy, but I was all consumed with finding that one, ultimate, thing. Why? That was what I finally asked myself? Why was I simply dismissing all the possibles that could make me happy; insisting on being uber-satisfied just to fail completely and not be happy at all. You know the phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”?
So, I decided to broaden my definition of happy. Now, I do not mean settling for just satisfied. I mean really happy, but not needing to be ultra-ecstatic in order to be happy. It may be that I didn’t change the definition as much as I expanded the criteria of qualification.
That is when it all started falling into place. I made a list of new acceptable pathways.
I wrote out a very detailed mission statement. I outlined what kind of work environment I wanted (not title), what income I needed in order to be comfortable (not make and model of a luxury car), what kind of home life and life style I desired (not famous people I wanted to hang with), and, finally, how I wanted to feel about my life ( I stopped using the word “happy”). I scrubbed that word from my vocabulary and replaced it with conflict-free. That is what being satisfied, fulfilled, and at peace is, right? My goal became to be conflict-free.
I get very annoyed when someone tells me what can help, but doesn’t tell me how to do it. So, to that end, I offer this example: I would love to be able to travel. So, instead of looking for scenarios that involve travel, I looked for those that did not conflict with the ability to travel. Having a job where I am the only one holding a key to the safe or the sole individual who can confirm the codes for the NORAD missile-silos; well, that just wouldn’t work, would it? By the same token, and a bit more realistic, having a dog that is so big and fierce that no kennel would take him would cause conflict to travel plans. By the way, I did get a dog. He is just the biggest cuddle bug anyone could ever want and the staff at the kennel adore him!
I wanted to help people. I wanted positive and nurturing. I wanted calm. I wanted control (to be honest) and I wanted freedom. But, looking for all those things hadn’t worked. I made lists of all the things that conflicted with those desires.
I eliminated anything governmental, on any level (worked for a municipality for years and the politics were ridiculous!) or anything religious. I eliminated anything in institutional healthcare for reasons having to do with, again, politics and because I am far too empathetic and can not handle the “you can’t get too close or personal” requirement. I eliminated anything in education, customer service, and food service. These all conflict with a calm and/or nurturing environment. I eliminated and eliminated and eliminated. I searched every corner of the box, turned the box upside down, and inside-out. Then, I started thinking and looking outside the box. Why was I always trying to find a place inside someone else’s box?
What I had left was being my own boss, making my own schedule, choosing my own projects, and creating my own environment.
Then I began practicing being excited about and grateful for all of the seemingly new possibilities and the knowledge that they were far more accessible than the prospect of becoming a world renown brain surgeon or beloved opera signer, at this stage in the game. Yes, this is something that has to be practiced. I know that sounds strange, but when one spends that long viewing too many options and starting over as a negative thing, that becomes part of a mind-set, a habit. Changing a point of view is like replacing an old habit with a new one and it requires intent, practice, and relentless repetition. but, the more I practiced, the more easily it was to be excited and grateful and that is huge in the inspiration, motivation, and manifestation department!
This all opened a whole new box and, better yet, inspired me to believe I could build my own box or not even a box; a sphere or triangle or whatever the hell I wanted!
That was when I found it! And when I did, I was astounded that I hadn’t seen it before, because it was something that I did on a regular basis and that helped me, immensely, when I had my health issues. But, doing it wasn’t the key. The key was creating a place and a service that enabled others to do it and benefit from it as I did. Because creating the place and the service gave me the power and the freedom to insure it was conflict free.
From there, it all started falling into place and the more I found reason to believe I could achieve my goal, the more things just seemed to magically happen. It was like the Universe was saying, “Hey, what took you so long? Here, we have been waiting to give you all this.”!
Now, at present, I am much closer to achieving my goals and, hope, that within 3-5 years, I will be the proud owner of my very own Yoga & Art Studio that has a very unique specialization.
Well, you might think, that is definitely a far cry from brain surgeon or opera signer and yoga studios are everywhere. Why should this one be special? You do know, don’t you, that most new businesses fail within the first year?
Yep, it is very different from being a brain surgeon or an opera signer. It is also a much less expensive than medical school or extensive voice training and that will take far less time, which, remember, is at a premium.
It will be a healing, nurturing, and creative environment. With good staff, I can travel as I like. It affords a stable and flush income and is something I can do well into my golden years. Oh, yeah, the income, right?
Well, like I said, my yoga studio will offer the traditional practices, just like all the others. But, my studio will also offer an art studio. Nurture the body and the mind.
Oh, not enough to ensure my success? Okay, how’s this? I have a business plan! Imagine that.
I need only 0.25% of my city’s population to practice at my studio and, based on current operation costs plus 3%, I can meet all my overhead and profit needs and still charge .15% less than my closest competition!
AND, as if that wasn’t enough, I have an ace in the hole. I have developed and been using a specialized yoga for a certain demographic. There is nothing similar being offered and it is highly beneficial, both physically and emotionally.
So, what can this post do to help anyone else? At this point, I have come a long way and still have such a long way to go. But, I hope that my sharing this shows someone that being “happy” is all relative and, in my opinion, has more to do with what you make sure isn’t in your life than what all you try to have in it.
I learned that being without conflict was the way to achieve all the things I had been trying to find. Find what isn’t working. Look at what you need to remove in order to gain. There is no such thing as empty space. When you remove one thing, that vacated space will be filled with something else!
Lastly, realize that there is no one, single, perfect answer. This realization can be an epiphany and the pressure it does away with of finding a single perfect answer can bring a tear to your eye.
Before you even truly begin moving forward, you may find your path has already changed and be amazed to see that it’s the perfect path for the person you always have been, you were just looking at it from the wrong perspective; the wrong ideal.
It could be that, like me, removing the conflict allows you to become aligned with the path you feel you were meant to follow.