In my youth, the crystal ball predicted a life as an executive in corporate America, a trophy wife, several kids, a few spare homes, and memberships to expensive clubs. Fortunately, the clairvoyant signal short circuited and gave me my existing life. I am 50, childless, between girlfriends, follically challenged, and finding immense joy in every day. I am spending much more time aligning myself with what is happening as opposed to trying to control what will or will not occur.
On the tenth day of my Camino journey, I found myself entering the mentally challenging portion of the walk known as “The Meseta.” Mountains rim these high plains of central Spain and occasionally edge into them. But for the next 200 kilometers, I walked on a flat surface. Endless crop fields of wheat, oats, and barley bordered my path. The golden glow of the fields etched my mind on this leg of the journey.
Toward the end of my first day on the flat grounds, the blue sky turned gray and the wind began to howl. Little did I know that this would remain constant for the next five days. Were it not for the chinstrap, my Tilley hat would surely have accompanied Dorothy on the yellow brick road. This was not a gentle breeze. Instead, it was the kind of wind that deposits fear in a sailor’s soul. Given a choice, I wouldn’t have selected this weather feature. But since I am not in control of anything, I embraced the wind and made the best of a blustery week.
There are many times in life where staking a claim or drawing a line in the sand makes perfect sense. I do not advocate an existence of rolling over and thanking the universe for every ugly or unplanned event that crosses my path. Fighting the weather is a battle not worthy of a single shot. Shooting bullets in a random manner at every target creates fatigue, ruins your gun, and depletes your ammo stash. Aspire to be the assassin.
My speaking activity is really picking up and I find myself in front of an audience about eight times per month. During my “live in the now” portion of the presentation, I ask the following question, “Is anyone in this room where they expected to be five years ago?” The current score is 0 to 4,000+. At the same time, everyone is sure to be skinnier, happier, healthier, and wealthier in five years.
Pick your battles wisely and spend the rest of your time on the gratitude portion of the ledger.