Happiness and fulfillment are the cornerstones of a life well-lived. They are also states of well-being that remain, at times, elusive throughout our lifetime. It is a constant quest we are on to attain such joy, and we each have a specific idea about how to go about doing it. At a particularly difficult time in my own life, a very dear family member shared a beautiful gift, bearing the sentiments of American religious leader, Thomas S. Manson, who wrote: “We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails.” What a profound and prophetic attitude. This is an ingenious way to look at things!
It is part of the human condition to plan and forecast our lives. In doing so, if only temporarily, we gain a sense of mastery, and feel proactive in attaining our set dreams and aspirations. We derive purpose and direction in our lives. These goals and plans can encompass many different aspects: relationships, education, career paths, finances, and so on. We cling to these notions and timelines, and when life invariably deals us a curve ball of sorts, we often find ourselves feeling out of control and lost. We struggle to regain our emotional and psychological footing, and often forget the need to recalculate what is most important to our sense of well-being.
A shift in perspective, is the best way to still pursue these dreams and aspirations. It doesn’t have to signify the end of a particular vision for your life, but rather, an expanded version: one that is, perhaps, more inclusive, forgiving and less structured.
In understanding that goals and aspirations are not set in stone, and that they can be accomplished by different means, we allow ourselves greater opportunity for success. We also avoid greater disappointment and disillusionment when they do not go exactly according to our plans. Creating a back-up or alternate plan, can give us a greater sense of security. It can reinforce our commitment to our goals without putting undue pressure on us. Having a flexible time frame still holds us accountable, but gives us some wiggle room in the process.
One thing is for sure: things will always be subject to change! If we enter into our expectations knowing, understanding and accepting this fact, we can find true and lasting satisfaction on our life’s journey, no matter what path it takes!