Your Other Life
Yes, we all carry around with us our other, unlived life. “If only I didn’t have these kids to raise/parents to take care of/debt to pay off/work to do, I could take up skydiving/art lessons/start my own business/go to India/volunteer more.” One delusion we are subject to is that where we are right now is permanent. It’s not. Our situation is changing even as I write this and you read it. Children grow every day. Sadly, our parents will die. The debt will get paid off eventually. Or not. There’s always work to do. Our pining for something else when we perceive we’re stuck is a sure ticket to dissatisfaction, resentment and general crankiness. So! Watch your fantasies for a few days. Begin writing down a list (yes, the writing down is important!) of those which really give you juice, energy. This is more than a Bucket List of one time things to do and check off. These ideas are actually possibilities for a new future. Now choose one or two and see if there is any way to incorporate something from that fantasy or idea into your life right now. Want to volunteer more but cannot fit anything in right now? At least identify the organizations you’d like to help and get on their mailing lists. Send a small donation regularly until you can actually help out yourself. This gives you a link to them, a sense of helping already. Do you have a dream trip in mind? India, Paris, Hawaii? Go ahead and plan it. Gather information about ways to travel to your fantasy destination – from 5 star accommodations to student budget travel. Let yourself give energy to the idea. These are ways to allow your unlived life to express itself! For more on this idea, read Robert Johnson’s Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life, Tarcher Penguin 2007.