This time of year I often get to watch the sunrise as I exercise in the early morning hours. I don’t know of a more significant and symbolic way to start a day than to watch the sun peek up over the horizon, slowly spreading its warmth and light across the sky until it touches every darkened corner. Not only is it beautiful, but it also provides a stunning metaphor for life:
Each day is a new beginning – a new opportunity to acknowledge the mistakes of the past, leave them behind, and begin anew with greater purpose and clarity.
One of my biggest fears is that I will get to the end of my life and realize that I spent my days so wrapped up in meaningless pursuits that I failed to make my life count for something – that I failed to make a difference. I can almost feel the heaviness of the guilt that would come with such a realization, and it makes me want to scream: “No!!! Give me another chance!”
But I do have another chance. Every. Single. Day.
And so do you.
You can start by pondering this important question:
Creating a meaningful life begins with a vision – a deliberate decision about what is most important to you. Once you have that vision in place, you can start to build your life around it by making mindful daily choices that keep you going in the right direction.
If you do not carefully and deliberately decide what your priorities are, the whirlwind of life tends to make those decisions for you. Far too many good things are competing for attention at any given moment, often crowding out the essential things that actually result in progress.
It is easy to get swept up in the momentum – running here and there, volunteering for this and that, taking on more projects than you actually have time or energy to complete, spending too much time on media that has no lasting value – and then feeling unfulfilled at the end of the day because so little of your time was spent on things that add significance to your life or bring you closer to accomplishing your goals.
That is often the story of my life, but I am working to re-write it, remembering that days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into the years that make up life. Daily decisions are the fabric from which destiny is created.
If you discover that you want to change the direction of your story, begin by taking small steps today.
You cannot wait until you have more time, because time has a way of disappearing.
You cannot wait until there are fewer things on your to-do list, because that may never happen unless you make it so.
You cannot wait until your children are older and your life calms down, because the next stage of life is bound to bring unknown challenges of its own.
It has got to be today.
Stop trying to do every good thing that comes along and learn to say no to opportunities that do not coincide with your priorities. Trade good things for essential things that will fill your life with meaning and purpose.
So, let me again ask you the question posed by poet Mary Oliver:
Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Today is a new day – time to leave the past behind and start living a more deliberate, meaningful life. What steps are you going to take today to make that happen?