Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

School of Thought September 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:45 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, I took my 16-year-old son for a preliminary look at a couple of nearby college campuses. He wasn’t really very enthused about the trip. In fact he simply didn’t want to go – and was very unhappy that I was disturbing his Sunday plans to do his chores and his homework and then go “hang-out” with his friends. “I know”, I said “but this is what we are going to do – so let’s make the best of it”. It was a long and grueling struggle and honestly by the time we got to our first destination, I was feeling pretty frustrated and defeated by the emotional wrangling to get there. But at that moment, something shifted, I am not quite sure what, and reaching a compromise that involved driving through, rather than walking around campuses we began a process that felt better for both of us.

The point of the trip – was not for him to choose one of the schools we were seeing (necessarily) but rather to get the sense of what different kinds of campuses “feel” like and to begin to get a perspective on the differences between big and small, public and private, suburban and urban campuses, and to begin to have a sense of which environments felt best to him, cause right now he has no idea of what he wants to study or where he wants to be or even how to begin the process of making such a choice. Additionally, I was hoping that it might give him a bit of inspiration; something to start getting excited about, something to fuel his resolve to work hard this year so that he can have choices about where he will eventually end up attending school. Ultimately, I think it was a successful experience, though earlier in the day I wasn’t so sure.

What I didn’t elaborate on is that in fact we have choices all along life’s path. That midway through his college career he could change majors and schools, that years from now, he may decide to go back to school for a degree in a totally different area, or that he may find himself working in a field that has nothing to do with what he “thought” he wanted to do, and loving it. That can all come later. The reality is all we really ever have to work with is what we bring to the table in the present moment. Sure, a good education from a well-respected school doesn’t hurt when opening up opportunities for future choices, but life can always surprise you with a curveball or two – some good, some not so good.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t dismiss us from becoming active participants in the process. We all need to have goals, to have dreams and aspirations for the life we want to lead. The choices are ongoing and constant, we can give ourselves the opportunity to do what makes us feel like we are at our best or we can choose to settle. But the responsibility is ours alone. Your life is what you make it, and there will be plenty of times when you have no clue as to what direction you want to head in but the possibility always awaits for us to find it out there. The trick is being open to the whispers of inspiration that surround us every day and the fortitude to follow our dreams. To make mistakes and to try again, to be disappointed and to persevere, and to be the person we know we were meant to be – that’s the ticket.

 

Are you there yet? May 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:49 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Are you there yet?  

Most of us can recall the experience of sitting in the back seat, being a passive passenger on what seemed like an interminable car ride, anxious to get out and stretch our legs, waiting to get to our destination and unable to resist asking the driver of our vehicle once, twice or twenty times the question burning in our little heads – Are we there yet? In fact, those of us who are parents can recall several occasions when that very same question was asked of us. Getting to the destination after a long trip often seems like it is an eternity away when the question rolls through our heads over and over, no matter who is doing the asking. It is a question that my co-workers would jokingly ask one another after one of those long and grueling days at work which seemed to go on and on with no signs of ever ending. In life it seems, we are always waiting in one way or another to get THERE.

The funny thing is – unlike those long trips we may have taken as a child – the destination is often less tangible. Getting there, wherever there may be is often not so black and white. Many times the “there” is more elusive; morphing and changing so that just when you think you are at the doorstep, you realize that the roadmap has changed and the destination has now been moved down the block, around the corner or out-of-state without us realizing it. It’s like the old vaudeville routine when the unwitting character reaches down to grasp the dollar only to have it yanked a little further away by an invisible string. “Oh, I almost had it that time!”

So what do you do when your dreams and goals take on the same evasive dimension? Well, you can adjust how you see it. For one, rather than focusing on the final destination – you can allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy the ride. When I was little, I would often go on “Sunday drives” with my two aunts, and while there was always a final destination we were seeking (usually a place to stop for lunch), the joy was in the rides themselves. We would play car games as we rode along that involved taking turns “choosing” things that we liked outside the car windows. The journey itself WAS the destination and our lunch stop was just a part of the process. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the trip made for a complete experience and kept their young passenger engaged and happy over the hours long meandering through the Connecticut countryside.

Having a destination and a goal in mind helps to get us out in the car in the first place, but taking the best from each moment along the journey allows you to notice and savor all the little things along the way. Enjoy your goals, celebrate them when you arrive and then set a new goal for your next part of the journey. And most importantly, don’t forget to look out the windows and enjoy the ride, why should the enjoyment be reserved only for the final destination? Every little piece enhances and enriches the whole. Have a good trip – no matter where you are going.