As a writer, I can look at the direction a story is heading and say, “This will not go where I’d like it to go.” I can then delete the work I’ve done, edit it, or shelve the entire story and start fresh with a different idea.
Doing that with your life is a little more involved, and someone has taken away the undo option from us, but it can be done.
“At any given moment you have the power to say:
this is not how the story is going to end.”
I’m going to flashback to my life about six years ago. I lived well enough. I had a job, I had a nice apartment, I had a car. I ate well, I slept the right number of hours in a day. I did a fair amount of physical exercise. I went to work, I came home, I watched movies or played games on my tablet. I slept, I repeated the process.
Then my spine acted up. I was on medical leave. I could barely walk some days. I even had to call for help to get out of bed a few times. It kept getting worse until I was in a wheelchair and on so much medication I loaned my car to a friend and have no memory of it, I was about to call the police and report it stolen when another friend told me what I’d done.
During one of my more lucid moments in all that, I stared at the walls of the room where I sat, and felt a wave of darkness roll over my life. This was it. This was going to be the rest of my life. I wouldn’t write any books, I wouldn’t finish my degree, I wouldn’t get to play with my grandchildren. I would never go camping again. I would end up filing disability and living in extreme poverty the rest of my life.
I sat in that darkness for a week or so, and then something in me snapped. “No, I will not accept this!” was the scream that dragged me out of there and drove me to find an answer. It was still another 3 doctors before I was able to find any hope and not be treated like an addict who was just seeking pain pills.
Since then, I have used the memory of that exact moment to keep my focus. I can’t accept a life where I am placed at risk. I can’t accept a life where I sacrifice my dreams. Instead, I’ve gone back to where I was when I did the work, tablet, sleep, repeat lifestyle. And I’ve decided not to ever let myself be there again.
I have chosen to say, “This is not how the story will end,” and you can too.
Take stock of your abilities. Measure your dreams. Make sure they still fit you. Odds are your dreams need to be upsized quite a bit.
And then, choose the ending of your story. You have the power to decide. If it looks intimidating, figure out the very first step you need to take to get to a certain point. My first step was seeing doctor after doctor until I found one that would listen. Take that first step and you’ll be well on your way to changing the ending of your story.