Can I be vulnerable with you? Good! Because I am going to be anyway. Do you every feel nostalgic? Do you ever find yourself pulled into a moment in the past suddenly (and seemingly for no reason perhaps)? Does life ever feel like a blur, or you wonder how you got to where you are today? Or maybe it feels like time flies and not much has changed? Do you ever find yourself thinking how weird that part of our humanity is?
Last night I found myself in such a place mentally. It was only a few weeks ago I remember seeing all of the 10 year challenge pictures on social media. But it didn't spark anything within me - I never had a thought about the last decade of my life. So, why was I randomly thinking about the last 10 years now? I had been clearing out some old emails from an ancient account, and found some old conversation history of a person I didn't recognize. That person was me. It was a brief conversation about random everyday life I was having with my ex-wife at the time.
"What are you up to?"
"Do you want to paint the room this weekend?"
"Do you need me to stop by the store on the way home?"
Aside from thinking "who was that guy?", what caught my attention was a short section where she had asked me if I thought I was going to keep playing drums at the church we were at (I don't even remember which church it was). And my response clearly indicated my lack of desire, as well as my spiritual emptiness. That part I did remember well. And as if a fire hydrant had been burst open in my mind, I flew through these last 10 years in a nanosecond, yet I embodied it all. I felt a heaviness that I could not describe come over me. It wasn't happiness but it wasn't sadness either.
It was change.
In that moment I realized, I had experienced more in these last 10 years than the other 28 years prior combined. I had transitioned through a multitude of different experiences, situations, loss, growth, adventure, and the unexpected decisions. That got me thinking about the power of a single season of life. If I could live 10 lifetimes in 10 years and be where I am, what could happen if I lived with the intention of 10 lifetimes in the next 10 years, lived on my terms?
What do I mean?
What if I created the life and future I (now) know is possible, versus wandering through life not knowing where I'll end up in 2030? That got me thinking even more. What is it I've been after most in life? If I had to summarize this last decade in a way that captures the essence of all I've desired, and all I've wished to avoid - how do I describe that? The answer was already awaiting me:
More than anything else, I've craved fulfillment. And more than anything else, I've loathed purposelessness.
Until recently, I had always pursued happiness as so many of us do. But I came to understand that happiness and fulfillment are two very different things. Happiness is fleeting; it comes and goes (often within seconds of other emotions). Fulfillment rests in your soul. It is the embodiment of content-ness in one's being. It is the peace that surpasses understanding. It is the fuel that drives you forward no matter what life throws at you.
That got me pondering more; what has kept me from fulfillment more than anything else? I went through all of the "canned" answers - fear, ignorance, doubt, uncertainty, etc. But none of those were resonating within me as the truth; somehow I knew these were not the underlying answers (though they certainly contributed at times). Then it hit me - my unfulfillment was most associated with:
Comfort and convenience have been my life's enemy. The unconscious pursuit to maintain comfort and convenience at all cost was the thief of my fulfillment. As I replayed the many events of this last decade, over and over in my mind, I searched myself hard for the moments I felt most unfulfilled versus the moments I felt alive. Each time I recognized the pattern - unfulfillment was present in the moments I had grown most comfortable, and fulfillment was present when I was trying to move forward in life despite the discomfort of uncertainty.
"The amount of fulfillment we can experience is directly in proportion to the amount of uncertainty we are willing to tolerate" - Tony Robbins
I had heard this dozens of times. I knew it intellectually, but the full weight of the revelation never sank in because I wasn't ready to receive it. That got me wondering about what other "ah-ha" moments I was missing out on for similar reasons - but that is another story.
I fell asleep last night saying goodbye to a decade goneby. And in the silence of my mind I said my last goodbye to a time, era, and person (me) that was a faded memory. I woke up today inspired by what I finally believe is possible for me; after-all, I paid a great price to get here (without knowing that here was "this"). The price was never giving up. The price was holding to the longing of knowing I was put here for something bigger than myself. I'm not big into resolutions. I think they are a great way to BS ourselves. The greatest change(s) in my life were a result of desperation; because of my desire for comfort. But today I choose inspiration. I choose the water not the boat - for in the ocean of uncertainty is The One showing me I can walk on the waters of my dreams and hope too. Faith and fear are not so different; they both require us to believe in things we cannot see.
We all have choices to make. The most important of which will be done by either inspiration or desperation - love or fear - from which the totality of our fulfillment lies. You don't need fulfillment to be happy. But you do need fulfillment to feel alive.
While it is not quite New Years yet, I wanted to be a little pre-emptive. So, here is the new 10 year challenge - and you won't find it on social media feeds. You have to look inside; you have to pursue it in your heart.
My question to you is:
Are you truly living a fulfilled life? And 10 years from right now, what do you want your life to feel like? What do you want to look back at? What do you want to remember? How will you live your life - led by inspiration or desperation? Love or fear? Do you want comfort and convenience, or do you desire passion and fulfillment?
I am coming to the conclusion that the greatest lie we live, is that life is about the pursuit of comfort and ease, and not the pursuit of ultimate fulfillment. These past 10 years took me far beyond any that I could have imagined. I have come a long way, but I have a long way to go. I'm saying farewell to the history of a past and false-self. I'm facing the wind and diving in. I hope to catch you on the road to the journey of passion, purpose and fulfillment.
Don't let life pass you by. Let your fulfillment lead your legacy, as the world awaits the expression of all you (we) are unhindered. Cheers to 2030 and beyond!