There are moments in your life when you break free from the yoke of your usual constraints and commitments, and a window opens to a very different life—one with many more possibilities.
This window has opened for me many times: when I’ve taken a much-needed vacation, stood at the top of a mountain after hiking, attended a personal development seminar, or stayed up to 2:00 am on New Year’s Eve dancing. In those moments, the roadblocks and rationalizations I throw up to justify why things are the way they are—and will never get better—are gone.
The path to my hopes and dreams seems laid before me, just waiting for me to take the road less traveled.
A new year can be one of those times that the window opens. And people know it. They join a gym, certain they’ll lose 30 pounds by January 5th. They start organizing and decluttering, shedding their old, unwanted pounds—and pounds of junk. They say this year will be the year they reach their goals.
And then the window closes. After a few days, their resolve waivers. And after a few weeks, they are back in their rut despite the best of intentions.
When I earned my black belt this August, my window was opened wide. And I felt invincible. Not in the “I-can-kick-your-ass-so-don’t mess-with-me” kind of way. Rather, in the “Oh-my-gosh-I-never-for-a-second-believed-I-could-do-this” kind of way. I just couldn’t picture myself accomplishing it—even after training for six years.
For weeks after, I remember thinking, “Gee. If I could do that, what else could I do that I didn’t think was possible?” And I came up with a list of dreams while that window was still open. Yet even after shattering my own glass ceiling—and a couple of boards—I noticed that after a few weeks some of my limiting beliefs crept back into my psyche.
So how do you keep it open?
It’s about your mindset. Think about how hard it is to solve your own problems, and how easy it is to solve another’s? This New Year’s Day, I was consoling a friend who finds it impossible to see her life as anything other than miserable.
I heard myself saying, “I’d like you to spend time with my family in Florida sometime. There’s something about being with them. They don’t dwell on what’s wrong, and it makes you feel unshakeable, like anything is possible.” I want her to know what life with the window wide open feels like.
She responded, “Well they probably have perfect lives.” Uh—NO! They have financial troubles, medical issues, and one recently lost her spouse. But they live joyfully and happily—and actively, even though they are over 70—because that’s what they want.
What do you want for 2017?
Personally, I’d like to keep my objectivity, even when my life sucks. I want to live each day doing things that keep me in a positive frame of mind both about the daily grind and the future I’m building. Most of all, I’d like your window (and mine) to turn into a pair of French doors—or better yet a giant glass accordion window—opened wide to all the beauty that life has in store for us.
Is this the year you keep your window from closing?