Think of your life as a book. You’re the main character, and you control your own actions, your own goals, your own future. Or maybe you think you don’t.
Maybe you’ve handed over your power over your own life to randomness and chaos, to someone else’s direction, to someone else’s philosophy or religion.
If you have, realize you’ve done this voluntarily, and you can regain control of your own existence simply by reclaiming it. You cannot choose what happens to you—but you can choose what you do, how you react, why you pursue your goals, what goals you hold sacred.
I realized this during my (still-ongoing) vacation—each of us has the choice to make our life about something, to choose the theme of our own existence.
(I tripped over this realization when I went through my goals for last year and discovered that, even though I had about half a year of being nearly out of commission, I still accomplished a surprising number of them. I stayed on track because of my theme—because when I could work, I was always working toward the same large goal, even if the small goals varied.)
If we don’t choose a theme for our lives—if we hand over control to someone or something else, we wander from desire to random desire, from thought to flitting thought, from action to disconnected action with no coherent plan, no direction, no discernible plot.
We become bad books.
For most of my life, I’ve had a theme, though I got pretty badly lost in the 80s. I came back, though. Because I had, and have, a theme.
My life’s theme is “You can overcome life’s worst assaults and rise triumphant from the ashes to joyful, love-filled existence if you pursue a life of learning with direction and creation with positive purpose.”
My life goals are:
- To love the people I love well.
- To write stories that matter.
- To teach what I’ve learned to people who want to learn and value learning.
- To live each day with purpose and joy.
So I thought this year instead of discussing New Year’s resolutions with you, I’d ask you to think about your life’s theme. Or, if you don’t have one, I’d ask you to consider creating one.
- What is your life right now?
- What do you want your life to be?
- And how can you summarize the life you want to live in one sentence of thirty words or less? Write your theme into something you can memorize, something you can hang onto when things get bad, when your path gets dark, when you wonder about the meaning of your own existence.
When you have a theme, you know the meaning of your existence.
If you’d like, you can post your theme and life goals here. I’d love to read what you have to say.
And Happy New Year.