Excited for Tomorrow

There are times in life where you lose the light. Where you lose your direction. Complacency, apathy, call it what you will. “Taking your eyes off the prize”, allowing yourself to be distracted, letting your mind wander, all these things can and will happen. When they do, you rob yourself of something special.

You rob yourself of a viscerally exciting and enriching experience of the present, of the opportunities directly in front of you. Capitalizing on the opportunities today to make things better is rewarding enough. But perhaps even more tantalizing is the prospect of those opportunities being there tomorrow. Throw in some anticipation, and you have real intrigue. Desire. Seduction. When you find yourself reflexively saying, without any particular reason or justification, “I’m excited about tomorrow”, you’re tasting that emotion, the thrill of being seduced by an unknown thus incredibly enticing prospect.

It’s only an idea for now but soon you’ll be there experiencing it. As long, that is, as your mind doesn’t wander and you aren’t distracted. Focus on that moment and capitalize on it, and the tomorrow after that will yield only more and greater enticements.

PHOTO: SUNRISE IN CHICAGO
CREDIT: CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Take Control

There’s a well known saying that goes “Take control of your life before something or somebody else does.” Your future is filled with random events, things which cannot be predicted or controlled. But some things can, and we are well-advised to attain control of such things. How does this work?

One of two easy examples is exercise. Forty-five minutes a day of working out is in fact a forty-five minute incremental increase of control of your own future. Don’t do it, and your future is certain: progressively less health, energy, agility. You cede control to nature through bad habits. Smoking is the other nearly universally accessible example. You can only hope to reduce your future position by continuing to smoke – less health, less social appeal, less money. Feeble, unsexy, and broke. Sounds like a great future.

I personally need to learn to appreciate the feeling of taking this control back. Take opportunities to have more decision in how my life progresses, and learn to love those opportunities. They build greater confidence, strength, and enjoyment of the moments of my life as they pass by.

It would be easy for me to feel bummed out, standing in the shower at age thirty-four; rented condo, no wife, no kids, all alone. The reality is, though, that I’m in an amazing situation. Rather than finding myself here in the emotional, economic, and societal aftermath of a 10-year failed marriage I have spent the last decade enjoying life to its top.

The danger here is the idea that this can be continued indefinitely. A failed relationship of my own very recently has made me aware of being in the unique and liberating position of having total freedom to take the power back over my life; to do the needful things before the desirable things; to build myself into something much stronger than I am today, by making things a little better today than they were yesterday.

The only question is, as Angela Duckworth might ask: will this new-found passion be met equally with perseverance?

“Make it a little better each day.” -John Robert Wooden, pictured