What if getting what you want was a simple process?
After a particularly grueling week at work, full of strife and corporate chess games, I found myself thoroughly worn out, half-comatose in my oldest sweatpants on the couch, basically drooling on myself with self-pity. Scrolling through Instagram in an attempt to disassociate from my current reality, I paused on an image of an isolated beach. With palm trees casting shadows under a setting sun and a sailboat anchored offshore, in a single lounge chair sat an occupant who could not be seen except for the silhouette of an arm lazily clutching a tall glass. “That should be me”, I muttered as one of my cats pawed at my head and my daughter bellowed from across the house wanting to know what I was making for dinner. Reluctantly, I closed the app, and called for a pizza delivery. While giving my address for delivery, I was interrupted with, “Oh, hi Vivian!”. They know me so well that I am on a first-name basis with the voice on the other end. The pity-party now has active participants. Wonderful.
After the pizza, and still in the same place on the couch, I went back to looking at pictures on my phone, but this time I was searching through my own, and came across some from the previous summer. Taking the backroads has always been a favorite pastime of mine, and these pictures were a testament of the rewards of one such venture. In a nameless town, along a gravel trail, we found a small stream. Secluded and quiet, we sat on the banks on cool, flat rocks, listening to the birds. Remembering the bottle of wine we purchased at the little winery along the way, I ran back to the car, popped the cork, grabbed our empty travel mugs and half-eaten bag of chips and made an impromptu picnic. It was perfect.
While reflecting on that particular day, I had an “a-ha” moment.
I remembered feeling soooo relaxed. Just as relaxed as if I were basking on the lounge chair in the Instagram feed.
Wants versus needs
I don’t need Tahiti. I just need a break. Someplace quiet by the water. And a nice Merlot wouldn’t hurt.
Getting clear on what actually defines and demonstrates an agreeable existence on a personal level is the first step to making life work, for you, on your own terms.
While insights into how to navigate towards this agreeable existence will inevitably reveal themselves in little ways, we will also initially fight them. Why? Because we will reason that we are somehow giving up on our dreams. No one is asking you to give up on all of your dreams! But why spend so much time dreaming about some far off, possibly unattainable “someday” when you could be getting your fix right now? Why spend months or years, or possibly even a lifetime wanting?
And seriously, why wait for the “a-ha” moment?
Choose one thing, right now, that you want. Be honest, then be reasonable and boil it down to what will satisfy the need behind the want. Take the flights of fancy and the steps that will have to happen to achieve them, then rework it with a strong dose of reality. For example: yes, in a currently unfeasible turn of events, I could languish under a far-off palm tree, sipping some concoction with a tiny umbrella for a two-week stretch in order to recharge my zapped internal batteries. BUT, in order to do so, I would definitely have to a) take a two-week vacation and come back to an Everest-sized pile of work which would immediately undo all of the stress-relief said vacation was supposed to achieve, b) kennel my cats for two weeks at an alarming cost, and c) budget enough money for months in advance in order to afford such a luxurious vacation. Or, I could get real and be fully satisfied by a) getting organized at work so I could plot out a few long weekends within a two-hour drive from my home, b) make sure someone is going to be around to feed the cats for three days, and c) stop going out to dinner so much so I could put some extra cash away to maybe enjoy a few umbrella-festooned concoctions on my long weekends. Does this, basically, give me a similar result? Yes, and with much less stress, planning and funds. Yay!
Being honest and real makes an agreeable existence attainable
And, just like that, when you are honest and real, and get down to what you actually need, you can get honest and real about finding a way to get it.
I would love to hear your results; please feel free to comment!