Where are you going? and What do you want out of life?
When doing a life evaluation, it can feel so BIG. Interestingly, I tend to want to change my entire life every March or April. It is such an odd thing I’ve recognized about myself. Basically I wake up at the end of winter, when the sun starts shining longer and all of a sudden feel this enormous pressure to start achieving HUGE things again. As the Spring seasons progresses and turns into summer, I thankfully calm down a bit. Or at the very least realign my specific goals and put things in perspective.
I tell you this because during this high pressure time, I start wondering if I should have taken a completely different path in life. My mind jumps from, should I have gone to law school? Should I quit my day job, start going back to school and pursue my big dream (which I’m not going to mention here ;))? All sorts of things go through my head! One year in particular, I started down the path of getting a motorcycle license.
All things considered, it makes me happy to know there is still a spark in me! In addition, I love my fearless curiosity and broad list of topics which comes up on my radar. Through these odd moments, I do a ton of research on what it would take to pursue all of these dreams, which I hope one day will help my children have a leg up!
All jokes aside, this brings us to today’s topic: Where are you going in life, and what do you really want? These two questions are important to ask – not too often, but at least once or twice a year.
Deciding on the destination
When you look at the above map, what comes to mind when you see the final destination, designated by the star? Do you feel like you are even close to that point in life? Or in general with your specific current goal? As we have just gone through graduation season, many people are moving from a huge accomplishment to facing another big hurdle. Whether it be from high school to college, or potentially from undergrad to a first job. Or maybe even from one job to a bigger job with a promotion and people responsibilities. No matter where you are in life, if the heart is still ticking, your “you are here” mark hasn’t caught up to your next destination!
Can you think of all the different goals, and big achievements you’d like to reach in this lifetime? Can you think of any which you’ve been avoiding by distracting yourself? Either way, this post is meant as a prompt to get you back on track! Or at the very least, allow you to re-recognize your destination in this season of your life.
What do you want out of life, really?
So let’s get right to the point. What do you want out of life, really? Emphasis on the word: really. When you take a moment to place your hands over your heart, close your eyes and picture yourself advanced in years. What do you think the 80 year old version of yourself will be looking back on over your life? What are some of the proud moments you can’t wait to achieve? What are some of the things your role models have done which, you still want to accomplish?
When you do this exercise, be sure to make a heart and head connection. Meaning, don’t just think about how much money you think you’ll need to retire, but instead think about the more fulfilling things in life. The sweet moments, the awe-inspiring scenery. The food you’d still like to eat and the conversations you’d still like to have. Think of the characteristics you’d like to be known for. Lastly, only think on the things that truly matter to you, and you only.
Creating a personal map
Sometimes, when doing this exercise it can be helpful to remember the things you’ve already done and write them down. This can help to gain a general theme or focus. Otherwise I tend to group things in some main categories:
- Soul-level life goals.
- Education, learning and research.
- The physical body.
- Relationships & Community.
- Financial achievements.
Once you have grouped your destinations for each category, it is time to determine where you are on your path. With your destination in mind, try to figure out how far away or close you are from your destination. For those who are more visual, it could be helpful to actually draw out a path like the above picture or something similar.
Be as honest with yourself as possible, because the next part of the process is to map out the steps needed to get to your final destination.
Loving Kindness Meditation