When I was a children librarian, a series of books came out called “Choose Your Own Adventure” by R.A. Montgomery. The purpose of the books is to allow reluctant readers the freedom to choose their adventure. I believe he created more than readers, he gave kids the knowledge that they have freedom to make choices.
Today is my niece’s high school graduation party. We are so proud of the woman she is becoming and the choices she has made to bring her to this point in her life. I took her for a pedicure last week and we talked about her current crossroad, choosing a college degree. It can be a confusing time because the world is vast, the path is long, and it can be scary to take that leap of faith, accept the changes, and make choices for the future.
The conversation with my niece has me thinking about how life can be overwhelming if you truly understand that you can choose your path. The best advice I can give is to follow your heart and dream big. Life is long. You may wind up where you envision your life going, you may not. All you can do is choose one step at a time. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to change paths. You may change your vision of what you want. You may choose based on what you need. You have the power to change and create new paths.
Change can be difficult, especially when something outside of your personal choice is creating the change. But even when we have chosen, change creates a level of discomfort. Why is that? We are creatures of habit, even when it’s a bad habit. It takes courage to move out of your comfort zone into the unknown. It doesn’t matter if you are pushed onto a path or you chose a path, accepting the path makes all the difference. Evaluate the crossroad with a check list.
- Talk about it. I talk with people that support me. I can speak freely about the change and it helps me work out in my mind what is making me anxious about what is to come.
- Write about it. Writing forces a higher level of thought. I find, when writing, I am more positive and I allow myself to dream.
- Have a vision. How far can you see in to the future? Create long-term goals.
- What’s the worst than can happen? Okay, reality check. What’s the worst than might actually happen?
- What amazing things could happen? Dare to dream!
- What is motivating this change? If it’s not your choice, find something about the change you can embrace as your own.
- What choices can I make? Create short-term steps.
- Did you take time to breathe, meditate, and center yourself? Sometimes taking care of yourself and not thinking about what’s to come helps you open your mind and embrace the future.
Whether you are off to college in the Fall, looking for a new job, starting a hobby, or looking for more out of life – remember, your path is what you make of it. Don’t fall back into an old habit or let fear guide you. Choose to embrace life and the changes that come with it. Take a leap of faith and follow your heart. You know – “choose your own adventure”.
~I’m Here To Help
Resources and further reading:
Carter, Sherrie Bourg, 2012. Change Is Hard, Here’s Why You Should Keep Trying. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201210/change-is-hard-heres-why-you-should-keep-trying.
Nelson Mandela Foundation. 2016. Biography of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography
Soul Nectar. 2013. 22 Inspirational Quotes by Nelson Mandela. Soul Nectar Wellness Blog. Retrieved from: https://soulnectarwellnessblog.com/2013/12/17/22-inspirational-quotes-by-nelson-mandela/
Steenbarger, Brett. 2016. Why Is It So Hard To Change Our Behavior? Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brettsteenbarger/2016/02/07/why-is-it-so-hard-to-change-our-behavior/#42c751ced659
Vishnu. 2016. Life Lessons on Embracing Change and Impermanence. Tiny Buddha. Retrieved from: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/6-life-lessons-on-embracing-change-and-impermanence/
Zulberg, David. 2015. Why It’s So Hard To Change After You’ve Shifted Your Attitude. MindBodyGreen. Retrieved from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18501/why-its-so-hard-to-change-after-youve-shifted-your-attitude.html