Have you ever received a gift that you didn't expect would have the significant impact on your life that it eventually ended up having? Well, last year I received one of those exact gifts. For my birthday, my boy Eric sent me the book ‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. Eric swore by this book and told me that it had really helped him look at life, and the situations we deal with in our lives, a little differently. If you know me then you know I have a tendency to dwell on the negatives in my life and have had a rough time transitioning from a career in the military. Well, back to the book… If you have never heard of The Daily Stoic, the book is a wealth of stoic and philosophical knowledge. Designed to follow for an entire year, it provides daily quotes and reflections.
On December 7th, the quote read as follows: "Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what's left as a bonus and live it accordingly to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?" -Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.56-57
I think all too often we wake up and forget that every day we are above ground is a gift. And that gift is a chance to reinvent ourselves and live the lives that we dream of. From my vantage point, we tend to live life in the past, reopening old wounds and revisiting past traumas. We tend to give these things too much power over our lives. It’s not that we want to, but we are stuck in this self-deprecating loop that we can't seem to shake or move past. I know this to be true for myself, and I absolutely hate it. I hate thinking I'm not good enough, or that one day the bottom is going to fall out and people are going to find out I'm not as good as they think I am. I say all that to say this, I understand all of this to be my truth, but yet I haven't been able to move past it.
This is where the above quote comes in (see, I am going somewhere with this, just hang in there…) Here’s the truth: Identifying the problem is the first step to correcting my current course, as well as facing the fact that this life is fleeting. I have come to the realization that I need to get on with living the life I want. I need to kill my past life, shoot my demons in the face, and walk down the path I choose…not the path they shove me down. I started this with a quote, so I'm going to end it with probably one of my favorite quotes, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present." -Master Oogway.
My challenge to myself, and those of you like me, is this: Learn to be present. Today, remember that the past is the past. It’s dead and gone and there is nothing you can do to change it or bring it back. Holding on to the past is dangerous. Utilize every day to craft your life into what you want it to be. Enjoy it, and don't take it so seriously. We only get one…don't screw it up for yourself or let anyone else steal your joy. Every day really is a gift. Will you choose to use your time to make yourself and those around you better and live your life to the fullest? The only things that are able to affect you are those things that you give the power to do so. So, don’t hand them the power.
Love you guys,