The Art of Taking Radical Responsibility
Some of you may remember that time I had a mid-life crisis about a decade ahead of schedule. I was in the shower, getting ready for my best friend’s 30th birthday dinner, and I completely lost my mind. I was washing my hair and obsessing over the way my life didn’t measure up to the lives of my peers.
After chasing my dreams for several years after college, I moved back home. I felt like I was starting all over and was “behind” everyone else I knew. Other people my age were getting married, starting families, and thriving in their careers. I was sharing an apartment with roommates, working as an adult babysitter, and the closest thing I had to a husband, was my 10 -year old Beagle, Oscar.
I was really getting lathered up, (while I was literally lathering up) just thinking about all of the things that were “missing” in my life. And then, it hit me. Right there, in the shower, mid-shampoo.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!
Wow, what a novel idea. I was so comfortable just being a bystander in my own life. A victim of circumstance. I believed that my life would only start to feel the way I wanted it to when certain situations outside of myself fell into place. I’d be happy when… (I met the guy, lost the weight, landed the job etc etc etc). Until then, I was just stuck, hopelessly waiting for my real life to begin.
I was tired of waiting.
I recognized that, yes, some circumstances were indeed out of my hands. So I started to get curious about the areas of my life where I did have some control. Where did I have power? What could I change? How could I feel the way I wanted to right here, right now?
So an idea was born. Possibly the best one I’ve ever had. I decided to make a list of things that I had never done before (for one reason or another,) and I committed to doing one thing off the list every month between my 30th and my 31st birthday....
It was, hands down, the greatest year of my entire life. (It was so awesome I decided to make another list for my 35th birthday). It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had AND it was the first time that I truly experienced what it was like to take radical responsibility for my own existence. It was the start of a major internal shift. A shift that has continued to ripple through every area of my life.
I remember feeling powerless, hopeless and defeated that day in the shower. Like there was nothing I could do to better my situation. To be honest, that’s how I felt for the first 3 decades of my entire life. As if my own happiness and fulfillment were out of my hands. As if I had no say in the matter. I’ve never been more grateful to be proven wrong!
You always get a say! While you can’t control the world around you, you always get to decide how you respond to it. You always get to decide where you choose to put your attention, your energy, your time. You get to decide how you want to show up. You even get to decide what you choose to think and believe. Not only do you GET to decide, it is your divine responsibility to do so.
I’m so glad I stopped waiting, and finally decided to start living.