On Trying To Control How Things Happen

Image of woman contemplating life

I’ve been on a happiness kick lately.

Maybe it’s ’cause I’m so damn happy that our home renovation, the one we’ve been living in for about seven weeks, is now finally ‘on the upswing’. Joel has been telling me that since we destroyed the bathroom on day 1 though, so it wasn’t until I had a kitchen sink again, about a week ago, that it finally started to feel true. Check out that pink tile, eh?

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Or maybe it’s because I’ve finally decided to embrace the neckerchief.

Either way, as I’ve settled into the first home I’ve ever owned, into a new neighborhood, in a new city, and into a new career in writing, I’ve realized lately that I’m really happy. Happier than I can remember being as an adult, even though my bangs haven’t fully grown out yet – #neveragain.

It’s an odd thing to sit back and look at your life sometimes and realize that everything you’ve been working towards, all these goals you had, have pretty much been accomplished.

Since we’re human, and it’s our nature to constantly scan for problems, the moments that we do sit back and just appreciate things, tend to be fewer and further in between than moments when we’re looking for areas of improvement (or berating ourselves for being total fuckups).

So I just wanted to take a second to reflect today, if you’ll indulge me.

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Joel and I devised our plan to get married, renovate a vintage Airstream, take a life sabbatical to travel the country, move out of New York City, buy our first home together and start an income property business all the way back in 2013, over a glass of wine and an I.P.A. on our couch in Brooklyn. And I also decided at some point along the way that I was going to be a writer, instead of a health coach. (Career idea: 64,378, by the way.)

As I sit here looking at the exposed studs in the dining room that our structural engineer friend is going to help us remove in a few weeks (to create the open concept kitchen and living area – a la Joanna Gaines), I almost can’t believe it. We made it all happen.

We made each and every one of those things happen in the past three years.

  • We bought and renovated a vintage Airstream.
  • We got married.
  • We took a three-month life sabbatical to travel across the country.
  • We decided not to move back to New York City.
  • We bought our first home together Upstate.
  • Last week, I made my first few dollars as a writer.
  • And then just this morning, our very first tenant signed a lease and handed us a check.

Yes, yes, thank you, thank you.

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The reason I’m noting these things today is twofold:

1. Celebration: I’m trying to break a nasty habit I have of not stopping to consider everything I’ve accomplished in life, in favor of angsting instead, over what I’ve yet to do.

2. Consideration: I think it’s a good exercise to sit back and consider things once in a while, evaluate what’s worked, what’s working and what’s not, in order to decide where you’d like to go next. And, as I’ve just read an incredible piece by a 20-year old Hunter S. Thompson, to decide whether to float for a bit or swim towards a new goal.

And as I’ve reflected some today, I’ve realized one lesson that comes up over and over again in all this personal development bullshit, has actually proven quite true for me in hindsight, which is this:

Decide what you want and then stop trying to control how it happens.

In other words, stop thinking you know better (talking to myself here) than the Universe how things ought to play out.

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When we decided we wanted to do all of those things back in 2013, we didn’t know what it would look like.

We didn’t know when we’d make it happen, where the trip would take us, what city we’d relocate to and I certainly didn’t know how I’d make my first few dollars as a writer (I still don’t know how I’ll make more).

We just knew that we wanted all of those specific things and then we started to working towards them as best we could.

And as we started taking action, people, situations and opportunities started to present themselves to us. As did challenges, like Joel blowing his knee out five weeks before our wedding. The past three years have been awesome, but they’ve also been really, really hard. So many setbacks and challenges popped up along the way, but we just kept moving forward (one of us calmer than the other – if you can guess which one). Sometimes we didn’t know if any of it was going to happen.

I think that’s just how it works though. We just have to decide what we want, start moving towards it as best we can from where we are and with what we have, and then let go of our expectations around how it ought to look. We also have to remember when it gets rough that that is simply to be expected. Challenges are, unfortunately, just part of the process.

So as I sit here and consider which goal/s to swim towards next, like perhaps being able to feed myself through my new career, I just wanted to share how true this idea of releasing attachment to the how has proven for me.

I doubt your goals are the same as the ones Joel and I recently achieved, but you do have goals of your own, I’m sure of it. Today, I just wanted to say: 

Hey girl. Just decide what you want and get going.

You can do it. You don’t need to know how it will happen. You just need to know what you want and then start working towards it. That is all.

And check out that piece by Hunter S. Thompson, because although I agree with Mark Manson when he said that none of us know anything, I do believe it’s worth a read. You know, if you’re interested in that whole meaning of life thing.

And if you’re also interested in reading the one sentence that will help you lose weight, be happy and figure our your life, pop your email in below and we’ll send it over.

Dana

Author Dana

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