I’m currently sitting at our desk, drinking a glass of wine to gear up for the week ahead. I won’t lie to you – I often find myself drinking my share of wine/beer/bourbon/vodka/champs on Sunday to counteract my Sunday Sads. Mondays are hard on us all, right? They’re even harder when you’re struggling in the workplace.
I think some of us are destined to work for others, and that’s okay. There are those of us with insurmountable bills and families to provide for and obligations and we need insurance and the promise of retirement and paid vacation days. And, again, that is okay. But what’s not okay is being completely miserable. We spend the majority of our time at work. Those are hours away from family and friends, in dark offices with blasting air conditioners and obnoxious co-workers and endless meetings. I’ve always loved the saying that at the end of our lives, none of us wish we’d spent more time in the office. We wish we’d spent more time with our parents and siblings and partners and babies and friends and dogs. We wish we’d spent more time on vacation. More time sleeping in and lazily hanging around the pool. More time watching our niece’s dance recital and son’s baseball game or long lunches with a friend.
I took off work early on Thursday to go to the allergist, and afterwards J and I had lunch outside at one of our favorite restaurants. We shopped at Trader Joe’s. We laughed and relaxed and enjoyed being together. And I didn’t think of the office once. At the end of my life, I will remember that moment, and the other moments like it. I (hope) I will not remember the snippy emails or 6-hour meetings or days that I struggled to stay at my desk.
Where’s all of this going? It occurred to me over the weekend that there are so many things we put off: changing careers, traveling, finding love, buying a home, leaving a shitty relationship, getting in shape, starting our own business, and calling our parents and grandparents because we think that we have tomorrow. And we don’t. We have no idea. We also believe that we’ll be happy when we get a new job. When we move. When we get married. When we have babies. When we get that much-deserved promotion. But what about now? Today. What are you doing today to be happy? How are you living your best life in this exact moment?
I read the most heartbreaking article about a photographer whose parents died of cancer within a year of one another. After her mother’s death, they found some notes she had written with the best advice: “Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s knowing that you are afraid and doing it anyway. Don’t spend your days avoiding risk, being fearful. Act. Live your life on your own terms. Life is precious; spend it without regrets in your own precious voice.” It hit me like a ton of bricks.
If you’re struggling in any area of your life, today is the day to take action. Leave your job. Start your own business. Put yourself out there in a relationship. Ask someone out. Buy a home. Find a publisher for your novel. Start writing your novel. Plan a vacation. Run away. Be vulnerable. Do something today that scares the absolute shit out of you, even if it’s something as simple as trying a new dish or wine or workout. Make it your goal to take at least one risk this week. I’ll be right there with you.
What risk are you going to take for a better life this week? Let’s help each other.