Are you leading a practice life or a real life? Do you remember the old Emergency Broadcast System test, the one preceded by the horrible beeping sound that tells you “had this been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed where to go and…”
A few years ago, there was something similar making the rounds on the Internet. It went something like this. “This life is a test. It is only a test. Had this been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do…”
It would be nice if life came with instructions on where to go and what to do. But it doesn’t.
And yet, so many people go through life as if they’re waiting for instructions, or for their “real” life to begin. You’ll hear people say things like “When I lose 20 pounds, I’m going to…” or, “When I’ve got enough money, then I’m going to…” It’s as if they’ve put their life on hold, waiting for everything to be perfect, before they start actually living it!
But this life isn’t a test, or a rehearsal, or a game. You don’t get a “do over” when it’s finished. This is it. You are not living a test life or practice life. This is your actual life and you shouldn’t waste another minute. Instead of waiting until things are perfect, or for “some day” to arrive, start enjoying yourself now!
Not sure what to do?
Make a “What I want to do Before I die” list. When you’re starting your list, it doesn’t matter how wild and crazy your dreams are! So if you’ve always wanted to take up scuba diving, or you want to make a million dollars or even sing in front 10,000 people — write it down. Think about everything that you really want — the things that would make you feel special or loved, or important. The things you’ve been meaning to get around to doing, but for one reason or another, just haven’t done. The secret dreams that have been hiding in a tiny corner of your heart.
The important thing here is figure out exactly what it is you WANT. Writing the things down, gives them form and shape and power.
Look at your “practice life” and decide what you would like to change. Is it your living arrangement, your love life, your career, your hairstyle? Dream about your “real life” and what you would like it to be. Then write it all down!
After you’ve written down your goals and dreams, prioritize the list. What things are on that list that are the most important to you? If you found out that you were going to die next year, or next week, or tomorrow, what would you want to do before it happens?
Don’t be surprised if your list is very long. You’ve probably been denying yourself for a while now, because “life” got in the way of “living.” If you’re like most people, you’ll find there are some things on your list that are very simple, and easy to do. Maybe you like feeling spoiled by having your first cup of coffee in bed every morning. Or maybe you only use grandma’s “company” dishes during special occasions, but you love them. Or maybe your list includes things like telling the people you love that they matter to you.
That list is your new instruction manual for your life.
Whatever is on your list, whatever dreams and desires are in your heart, what are you waiting for? Set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, and enjoy your coffee in bed. If you want to learn to salsa dance, but you’re waiting until you lose fifteen pounds — remember that salsa dancing is a great form of exercise — and just do it!
When you give yourself permission to start living your life, amazing things start to happen! You may find yourself going through a “lucky” streak. Opportunity starts knocking at your door on a regular basis. And you may even find that the stress and strain you were under has lifted. Things look brighter, and you feel happier.
Don’t throw your list away — in fact, keep it handy and add to it as you think of new dreams, new goals. Because as you begin to live the life you were meant to live — a life that’s worth living — you may just find that you need a new sheet of paper! Best of all, maybe you’ll find that you become so accustomed to following your dreams that you don’t need that “instruction manual” any longer.
Remember, this is NOT a test life. This is your actual life and you should live it up to the full potential.
Deanna Mascle shares more inspirational and motivational articles at her blog Advice For Life at http://AdviceForLife.net
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