How to Live a Life that Doesn’t Disappoint

how to live a life that doesn't disappoint

Recently, I’ve been thinking, how do I continue living in such a way that when I’m 26 I’m not disappointed with my life even if it doesn’t look how my 23 year-old-self thought it would?

And that’s when it hit me – the four things that guided my decisions and protected me from living a life of disappointment: choose a destination, consider all options, recieve counsel, and choose your decision.

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When You Look Beyond Yourself

flowerandflipflops

Dear Self,

I was reading Make It Happen by Lara Casey today and thought this would encourage you.

Friend, you don’t need to be ready or perfect to make what matters happen. A life of purpose – living for something bigger than yourself – is not about achieving your dream job or the ideal circumstance or the perfect timing. Use what you have, where you are, right now, ON PURPOSE.

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Today is All I Have

brothersunrise

Dear Self,

Today is all I have.

I’m learning that life – a beautiful, powerful life – is a choice. It’s a choice that takes work and sacrifice. But more than that it’s a choice to see the beauty and power of simply being alive.

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What No One Ever Told You About A Mountain Top Expereience

mountain top experience

Dear Self,

Have you ever heard of the mountain top experience?  Like a camp high; you’re on a mountain top and everything is amazing but you can’t stay there forever because there isn’t enough water, food, or oxygen.  At the end of camp you have to go home down into the valley.   Often it’s discouraging and a drag, but your coaches tell you not to be discouraged.

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The Decision that Questioned the Purpose of my Existence

decisions compass heart

Dear Self,

When, if ever, is it right for me to follow my heart rather than follow the current of logic?
Is the desire of my heart reason enough to say ‘yes’?

While accepting a tutoring position seemed like a simple answer I saw all the lives that were impacted by my decision.  It wasn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer for me.  Thankfully, it wasn’t a life or death decision, either.  But it was an expensive or costly decision in the realm of passion and purpose.  It was a decision that questioned the purpose of my existence.

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What Food and Fun Have in Common

Fun Without Food is Possible

Dear Self,

Tuesday morning you walked into Panera ordered a cookie and coffee and enjoyed both without a terrorizing thought because food was not your enemy.  You knew that food was fuel so when you were satisfied you were able to stop eating and sipping guilt-free.  It was a victorious moment worth savoring.  

But it hasn’t always been that way.  It used to be every time you decided to indulge, you couldn’t stop.  It was as if you were trying to make up for all those years you deprived yourself.  Food wasn’t your enemy anymore but it was still a beast.  So you embarked on journey number two: learning that while food is fuel, food is also fun.

Oddly enough, having fun and enjoying food have a lot in common.

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How I’m slowing Down my Hamster Wheel Life

slowing down life

Dear Self,

I feel like I’m in a hamster wheel.  It doesn’t matter how many times I rework my schedule, the wheel just goes faster.

As you’re reading this I’ll be putting on my creative/coordinator hat collecting everything I could possibly need for a ball.  Thursday I’ll pick strawberries with my family.  Friday, I’ll work and go to a women’s conference.  Saturday I’ll decorate and host that ball for 175 youth. Finally, Sunday will launch me into four straight weeks of traveling, decorating, doing make-up, brides-maiding, cooking, and maid-of-honoring.

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What I learned from Packing One Carry-On Suitcase

Carry-on Suitacse

Dear Self,

Packing one carry-on suitcase was a good idea!  It was such a great idea that I think you should take the same approach to your summer.  Now before you get all defensive let me clarify a few things.  I’m not suggesting that you create a capsule wardrobe.  I’m not encouraging you to go without.  And, I’m not trying to add another challenge or burden to your life.  Quite the opposite really, because these are all the benefits I have observed since have been in Florida with only one carry-on suitcase.

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To be Good at Living You Must be a Good Guest

A guest of life

Dear Self,

I was in a hurry to leave for work.  With a purse on my shoulder and fancy shoes shouting my hurried pace i jerked the fridge open.  Flinging a bag of lettuce and a can of tuna on the counter I frantically searched for a can-opener.  Finally I started jamming a lettuce tuna wrap in my mouth careful not to smear my perfectly painted red lips – my signature feature.

As I bent to grab my purse that had fallen during my sophisticated scavenge through the kitchen for a five-minute meal my eye were captured on the neat but empty kitchenette.  As if in a daze I dragged my purse to the bench and we ended the table’s loneliness – my purse and I.

I’m not sure what I thought would happen.  The table and chairs would thank me for being their friend or a bright light from the ceiling would burst around me showering me in pixie dust…but that’s not what happened.

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Discovering Peace in Disorder

disorder

Dear Self,

I saw you hopelessly staring at the piles in your living room yesterday and watched you pick at the duct tape on the floor with your toes.  I also heard you sigh as you stared out the kitchen window only to have your vision obscured by cardboard covering a whole made by a stray arrow from your brothers’ heroic adventures.  You see messes caused by a busy life, but that’s not what others see.  

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The Struggle is Real

The Struggle is Real

Dear Self,

The real feat wasn’t running 13.1 miles. The feat was the last 8 years leading up to this race. The time you dared to go on a second run even though you couldn’t make it once around the track on your first run. All the times you ran when you didn’t want to, rested intentionally, and every single time you ignored the thoughts that told you that you couldn’t.

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The Secret to Running through Discomfort

running

Dear Self,

I can remember it like yesterday (maybe that’s because it was yesterday), feet pounding, mind chanting, chest heaving, arms working.  This would be the day you set a new personal record.  Every stride counted.  At the start you picked a speedy yet sustainable pace.  Now maintaining that pace through labored breathing and lagging legs was your only key to victory.     

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How Building Railroad Tracks Decreased my Stress

railroad tracks

Dear Self,

There’s so much to be said for boarding a train and enjoying the journey.  When you get on a train you first choose your destination.  Once on board you relax and read.  True, you might change trains along the way, but you trust the railroad tracks to get the train where you need to go.  

In twenty years you’re going to look back on life and regret the way you lived.  Contrary to popular opinion, just because you’re overbooked doesn’t mean you’re living your best life.  Just because you’re not squandering your hours with mindless activities, parties, and retail jobs doesn’t mean you’re doing what matters most.  And, just because you rearrange your schedule every Sunday doesn’t mean you value your time.  In the same way that someone will one day regret that they frivolously whiled away their youth you will regret the intensity with which you stressed yours away.

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Loving Yourself Isn’t about You

Loving yourself is the best way to Love Others

Dear Self,

Loving yourself isn’t about you, it’s about others.

All your life you have been taught to serve, lay your life down for others, and go out of your way to make others’ lives better.  That’s not wrong.  But…

How do you expect to love others if you don’t know how to love yourself?
If you’re never giving to yourself, what do you expect to give when you’ve burned out?
If you’re never thinking about yourself, what are you thinking of others?

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What to Think when Dreams-Come-True Turn Nightmare

Thoughts

Dear Self,

Can you imagine doing everything that you love and always dreamed of all day every day? Of course you can, because you have. For the last year you have mentored young women, read to your siblings, published a book, hosted a conference, coordinated a flashmob, directed a ballroom dance program for youth, trained for triathlons, and toured the Mediterranean for four weeks. Your life has been the epitome of your dream come true! But even in the midst of this dream-come-true-life you felt as though you were living a nightmare.

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