Having to and getting to

Some days, it feels like I’m moving forward. Most days, it is actually just me running in place, or driving around in circles. Then there are those days where I’ve gone zero-to-eighty, but I was going in the wrong direction. More often than not, I realize I’m stuck. I look around and see all the forks on the road, and I am overwhelmed by all the choices that I just want to head back.


But heading back is not always an option, so I stay still, looking ahead into the unknown while my ever-so-familiar past tries to lure me back into its comfortable arms.

On days I feel good about myself, I feel like I am walking with a spring in my step. But I bet I look more like a penguin waddling in the ice, taking the smallest of strides and hoping I don’t slip.

I have to do this. I have to do that. I have to get up. I have to go to work. I have to eat healthy. I have to work out. I have to pay my bills. So many things I have to do that I just feel like I’m doing it all mindlessly and without a purpose. I feel stuck.

Then a friend suggested that if I feel stuck, I should force myself to move.

It doesn’t matter if it’s forward, backward, or even sideways. Just move, somewhere. Half a step forward, or two steps back – it doesn’t matter. Who cares if I look ridiculous? Movement should help me out of the rut.

And then it hit me, you know what would also help, a change in perspective? Instead of feeling obligated to do the things I have to do, why not be grateful to get to do them?

I get to go to work. I get to pay my bills. I get to eat, and (relatively) eat healthy.

Sure, all I did was turn off the negative switch and it’s like I’m fooling myself into being happy. But isn’t that how it usually starts? It’s one thing to be clearly fooling yourself that everything is fine when your house is on fire, but it’s another to focus on the dirt on the ground when there are flowers all around you.

It’s finding that healthy balance, so that you don’t dread getting out of bed every morning because you hate your job. Hate it? Maybe look for another one. Or maybe you just hate how much you’re being underpaid – so ask for a raise, or maybe even work for a promotion.

Realizing what things you’re actually grateful for will weed out the things you genuinely don’t give a fuck about. If you still hate that you have to eat kale every day, then change out of it. It’s not for everyone. Maybe spinach will be more your taste.

That’s the key there. Find out the things you actually care about, prioritize those. Make changes and let go of the things you don’t. Life’s too short to care about unimportant shit.

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