combat loneliness with e.a.s.e.
why i need other people to change myself

how to write a life worth living

 

write a positive life 

So I am writing my own ending;
I’ll let my pen bleed black or blue.
And I will color in the meaning;
It will be gold and green and true.
And I’ll learn to love
My new discovered proof.
I’ll be grateful for this day.
I will be grateful for each day to come.

Bright Eyes
"I Will Be Grateful For This Day"



Yesterday, driving home from work with the sun in my eyes, this Bright Eyes song came out from my iPod. I was only half-listening, thinking about what I was going to make (ok, microwave) for dinner, when these lyrics jumped out at me, my thoughts fading to a dull background noise. I began to listen. I mean really listen. What was he really saying? I began to wonder... How much of my own story am I writing? What if I could write my own ending? What would it be?

The idea that our lives are our stories is not a new one, nor is the idea that we can choose how we want our stories to progress. As many times as I've heard this idea before (and, as a writer, loved it), I'm not sure that I've given it the credit it deserves. What it comes down to, I believe, is the idea that we have the choice to own our lives. We can live, going day to day, and let things happen to us or we can choose to live by making things happen to us. Sadly, I've spent a lot of time just letting life happen, accepting what comes my way and assuming that what is is what should be.

It does not have to be this way. I have -- we all have -- a choice to make choices. Every day I choose to wake up, to get dressed, to go to work. That is my daily story. I write it day in and day out and, for the most part, don't think about revisions or edits or plot twists. It gets too messy to think about the what ifs... What if I just quit my job? What if I found a way to survive by doing what it is that I love? What if I just packed my bags and moved back to California? Those what ifs are always swimming around in my mind, but, like I'm reading someone else's book, I keep things as they are. The daily tale remains the same.

I am not alone in this. I know that most of us are doing what I do. Going to our jobs, eating our dinners (or, in my case, pathetic Lean Cuisines), going to bed at a reasonable hour to make sure we get plenty of rest for the next day. In a word, we are this: responsible. We do what we do because we feel it's the right thing to do. We do it to keep our paychecks coming in, our bellies full, and our desires for material objects meant. If we're lucky, we love what we do. In my case, I enjoy it. I cannot truthfully say that it is love that I feel, but it is certainly not hate or annoyance. What I do I do well and doing something well is always rewarding (even if it isn't all that exciting).

This morning I was driving into work and I was getting really excited about some of the songs I just put onto my iPod ("1901" by Phoenix = AMAZING) and I was thinking to myself, "Why am I going to work right now? It's beautiful outside and warm and summer and this music is awesome, but, here I go, in my business suit to a office for meetings and emails and phone calls. Something is not right here." I want to be free -- who doesn't? -- but, more importantly, I want to be writing the story that speaks to me. If I were reading my life all bound and paperbacked, I'd be bored. I'd flip through the pages and think, "Hmmm, maybe I should forget this one..." (something I say only in rare cases when a book is truly boring and/or terribly written). To think about your life in book-form and to realize that you might not want to keep reading is not a good sign.

Of course, always looking for the positive these days, I got to thinking, "What if I could rewrite my life? What would I have done differently?" and, considering I'm still fairly young (ahhh, almost 26!), I asked myself, "What can I do now to make this the kind of story I want to read? How can I craft a life that will have an ending that leaves me with a happy sigh (you know, the one you have when you close a great book and realize that it was just the perfect ending)?" I want to be the writer of my own life.As much as I love the fictitious characters I create in my short stories, novels, and poems, what ultimately is most important to me is my own character and the plot of my own life. So, here's what I'm thinking: I need a plan. I need a plan to set in motion the idea of writing my own life. I want to, as Bright Eyes sings, "color in the meaning/it will be gold and green and true."

 

How To Write a Life Worth Living


Step One: Rewrite the Past


Rewrite the past?! You must be thinking I'm crazy for creating that step. No one should know better than I do that you can't go back, you can't undo what's already been done. True, yes. We cannot go back. We cannot take a time machine to that fateful day when we feel like things fell apart or we made a mistake or we hurt someone or were hurt. We cannot rewrite the moment itself, but we can rewrite how we view that time in our lives. We can -- yes, we can! -- change how we feel and think about the past. The actions, the truth of what happened, cannot be altered, but we can alter our perception of it, which can make a huge difference in our present lives.  

What do I mean by this? And how can it really change the story of our lives? After all, it's already happened so what does thinking about it differently really do? Well, it does a lot in my opinion. I'll give you an example. I can think back on some times in my life when I was really down -- and I mean really down -- and I can remember them as terrible, dark times when the world was against me and no hope was in sight. OR I can look back at them and look for the good that came from them. After all, had I not had some pretty nasty experiences, I never would have sought out therapy and I never would have started getting better and I never would have started this blog and I never would be the happier, more sane person that I am today. Do I know for sure that these things wouldn't have happened without all of the bad stuff? No, I don't. But I can choose to see the bad things -- those things that caused me so much pain and distress -- as catalysts for me becoming the girl I am today.

I can't go back and undo things I've done or things that have been done to me (but, boy, would I like to!), but I can rewrite how I think of them. I can look at the other things that were going on -- for example, during a lot of these rough times I was studying and learning in college and graduate school, which was amazing for a love-learning type like me. I can look at how strong I became from dealing with a lot of situations that other people are never faced with. I can find the good in the bad and that makes the present a much happier, livable place. We can't go back, no, but we can rewrite our current thoughts and feelings. The past is gone. The time is now. And we can choose, right now, to look back at the past any way we want to. Trust me, it does no good to harp on the negative. Look for the good back there in those days that seemed harder and you will find that you are who you are because of what happened then. Good or bad, be grateful for your past and you will be able to focus more on your present.

 

Step Two: Edit the Present


This is where it gets fun. While we can't change the past or predict the future, we can edit the present life we are living. We have the choice, every single day, to do what we're doing. I would love to sit here and tell you that I'm writing from home because I was so inspired this morning that I quit my job to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer. I would love to say that I'm going to edit all of the negativity out of my life once and for all and live happily ever after every single day of my life. Of course, it's not all that easy. There are real life issues when it comes to editing the present like health insurance and mouths to feed and responsibilities and obligations. If we could all just do what we wanted to do every day, it would be nice, but that's not realistic.

This brings us to the big question: What can you edit out of your present to make your life more of what you want it to be? Believe it or not, there are things you can change to make your world more of what you want it to be. Too often we settle for things as they are, assuming that is how they have to be. They don't. You have the ability to cut things out -- people, places, activities, things -- in order to perfect your story. Just as when you're editing the written word, it's not easy to cut things out.

When I was in high school, I interned at a well-known radio station. One of my jobs was cutting down the stories I recorded into tiny sound bites and writing stories for the air that had to be told in 30 seconds. This was a lot harder than I thought. If you haven't noticed, I'm not the best at keeping it brief. I love long, lengthy paragraphs with lots and lots of words -- not tiny sound bites. Obviously this was a challenging task for me, but it was an important one because it taught me that a lot of words could be cut out while leaving the message intact. This skill helped out a lot when I was in college and, as an English major, I received essay assignments containing the 3 most dreaded words for someone like me: "no longer than..." When I was assigned a paper that could be no longer than ten pages, for example, I used my editing skills from the radio station to cut out details and words and sentences until the text squeezed into that last line on that last page.

This is what we need to do in real life -- edit. When you're writing your life, you can't have everything in the story or it gets cluttered and chaotic. What's important to you? What do you want the plot to be? What do you want the characters to be like? You can't control what others do, but you can control your own actions and you can control the characters you surround yourself with. The past may be gone and the future might be uncertain, but we have the power to choose our now. We can edit out what we don't need in our lives and we can start doing that right now.

 

Step Three: Outline the Future


The future, as we all know by now, is unknown. No matter how much we plan and prepare and do what we can to control it, we never know what kinds of surprises life is going to hand us. From perfectly wrapped moments to ticking time bombs (and everything in between), life gives us some pretty interesting gifts. We have to do the best we can with what we're given. But that doesn't mean we can't think about the future. Sure, I think living in the now is one of the most important things we can do to make our lives happy, but I'm not all about leaving everything in the future up to chance.

For most things (things that are worthwhile), work is required. Thinking ahead is a good idea. We can't make predictions, but we can make plans. To do this we really need to think. Really, truly think. What do you want your life to be like in 5 years? 10? 20? What do you want to be doing? Who do you want by your side? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have? You can create an outline for your life. You can set goals for yourself and then work towards them. It might not work out perfectly, but it's pretty darn hard to get anywhere near perfection if you don't even try. If you sit back, let life take its course, you'll just float along, maybe happily, maybe not. If you take charge of your life, set goals and make choices and (sometimes) make sacrifices now so that you'll be happy in the future, you're a lot more likely to look back at your story and say, "Yeah, that was a really good read."

It's not easy to make plans sometimes. Even harder is following through with plans that aren't absolutely necessary. For example, for weeks I've been talking about writing an e-book. I've been writing here and there and working on some design layouts, but, because there is no true deadline and no absolute incentive (such as, say, putting food on the table to feed a family), I let myself get lax with this task. I watch TV instead. I dive into a new book when I know I could be working on my own. It's easy to get off track when we set abstract goals for ourselves, which is why an outline is so important. When you write an outline for the future -- when you put it in writing -- you're a lot more likely to see your story unfold. You're more likely to stick to the plan and, therefore, end up with the goals you want to complete completed. It's not easy to do this, but I plan to give it a shot because the last thing I want is to look back on my life and say, "Man, that was pretty badly written," or "Wow, that plot really sucked." I don't want to look back and think, as I sometimes do when reading, "I could have done a much better job writing that."

 


Lately I've been discussing the topic of control a great deal with my therapist. I want to control situations, myself, and people. When I look back on what I've written here, it might seem like I want to control my life -- rewriting and editing and outlining -- but that's not entirely true. I want to have some control over what happens, but I know that life sometimes has different plans and the unexpected almost always seems to happen. It's like we're given some characters, some vague ideas for plots, a setting and told, "Go! Create something fabulous!" I want to look back and know that I wrote the best story I could with what was given to me. I want to know that I took those plot twists and character flaws in stride, doing the best I could with the material I was given. Don't you want to do the same?

What advice do you have for
writing the story of a life worth living?

How do you use what you're given to make your story
the one you want to look back on and smile at?

Comments

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Wow I am so glad I caught this on Twitter! I love it!

You have asked here of yourself and us, something which WE all should be asking ourselves. Why do we continue to settle for mediocre lives? Why not go big? Why do we always fall back on some illusory safety nets?

Allow me to share my story with you (condensed version). I was working and really happy what I was doing, but like you I started asking, I started looking and seeing the big picture. So this year (over 1 week ago) I quit my job and career of 7 years. Today I am free to go smell the flowers and take in that sun of a new day. And while people may find every excuse in why this would not work for them, I could have too, but I chose to see otherwise. There will be no more "jobs" there will be the pursuing of life dreams and passions now, for in the end what can make a life story more exciting. Like you I am young, and I didn't want to wake up being 40, 60 or 80 and asking myself where did it all go?

I love your analysis of the past, present and future. And you know what else, it need not be about "control" in a negative sense of the word, but about personal accountability. Take accountability of your actions and find your own happiness, bliss and thus write your own story :)

I am very excited for you, that as you do more soul searching you reach that place where you won't be able to put the book of "your life story down".

Amazing post and chock full of great info and observation! I love the way you break down the past, present and future. Top notch stuff. And by the way, that Phoenix song is great as well (I'm an avid indie rock nerd too besides a blogger). :) Thanks again for the in-depth post!

Dayne

Evita - I'm so glad you caught it too because it gave you an opportunity to leave a really great comment. Thank you! :) Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I think it's great that you're choosing to follow your dreams rather than plug away at an unfulfilling career. Your story is inspiring! I hope to someday be at the point where, as you said, I cannot put down the book of my life because it's just that exciting!

Dayne - Thank you! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the post -- AND that you enjoy Phoenix. I love, love, love "1901"! :)

Awesome post Dani. I actually have gone through the exercise of writing and rewriting quite a few times the story of my life. I think your point about rewriting the past is a really great one. Very few of the courses on rewriting the story put any emphasis on that, but what's great is you can work that into your visualization practice.

I took my story, put 10 affirmations on side of the paper, and then my story in present tense on the other side, and I laminated it. Now there's some sense of commitment to it because it's laminated. Reminds me of that scene in friends when Ross has has list of celebrities he could hook up with and the one that shows up is not in his card and she says "it's laminated." Kind of random :). Love this post.

Thank you for sharing the thought of view on rewriting the past. I agree that it'll create a different perspective and you might learn more from it. I know I will for sure.

Love this post! My husband and I agree that a "normal" life is a boring life. We don't want to look back at lives that floated along with the stream. We choose to fight against the current and live how we want to live not how we are "supposed" to live. I read a book once that said to right your eulogy as if you had died right now. Don't like it? Write your eulogy the way you want it to be with all the goals you had achieved and lives you had touched. Then, live it.

I have done a lot of work on the past and how I view it. It may hurt, but in the end it made me who I am today.

And I'm constantly editing!

That said, I recently transitioned into the role of President of a 300 member networking organization in my area. Until I gave my remarks the day I assumed the role, I didn't think it was a big deal. Then I spoke in front of more than 100 business owners and I left thinking - wow I wish my family was here, this IS a big deal. I realized, through good and bad, they helped mold me. I wouldn't have the strength to be the President without all the challenges. And I can't take that back. I plan to thank them individually this week. That's one way I've chosen to see my past.

Srinivas - That's a great idea about the affirmations and the present tense of the story. I love it! And there's definitely a difference when something is laminated (as Ross on Friends clearly understood! haha) so I think that's actually really important. Thanks for sharing your ideas here. They're great!

John - I definitely think a new perspective can be a great way for us to grow. Glad you think you can learn something from it! :)

Marci - That's a really great point about the eulogy! If it were to be written right now, what would it say? And if you don't like what it would say, change it! Thanks for commenting. That eulogy thing is a great idea.

Nice post. Thanks! Found you via @happyliving on Twitter!

Stacey - Thanks for sharing your experience! I completely agree that we get where we are in part because of the difficult things we've been through and from the support of those around us. It sounds like a great idea to thank your family individually. I'm sure they'll really appreciate that.

Whitney - Thank you! I'm so glad you found the site via Twitter. :)

Dani,

Your book analogy is deep and touching. It's also scary. Maybe it's that fear will drive some of us to rewrite our stories (nothing wrong with that!) and like you said maybe some of us will go back to watching TV, the next tweet, or get lost in thought somewhere (nothing wrong with that either!).

I believe in the cliche that "life is what happens when you're planning for it." Sometimes losing yourself to the current moment, being in it fully, letting go is how you live.

Our future plans come from beliefs we have about ourselves. I'm an artist, producer, business executive, teacher, musician, etc. When we plan, especially when we're trying to write a new beginning, we can't do it from our current context. It's too diluted.

In order to recognize our "potential" or passion or craving to do something, we have to let ourselves be...ourselves. What are you naturally? Are you a TV watcher, consumer, workaholic, lazy bum, overachiever, drinker, partier, and so on? Why do you do these things? Is it because you like to or did you fall into them? What do you really feel like doing?

Is TV a break or a routine? Is work your calling or your chore? Does your calling have to be work or can work be play and vice versa? How would you know what you want to do (in the future) if your past has gotten you to where you are now?

I love what you say about the past, in that it's led you to this moment of change and doesn't need to be rewritten. I say forget about the future planning though! Be in the present and dissect your needs, wants, cravings!! If you make your hobby your work, you may not like it anymore. Maybe you're too inconsistent? Does focus matter or do people love you random?

I'm just throwing ideas out there (and writing a post while I'm at it), but this post definitely touched a nerve (a good one!) since I believe the past-present-future model needs to look more like present-present-present.

Besides all of the above, one of the key questions to ask yourself is what makes you angry? Not happy, not fulfilled, not content. Angry. Go from there and the last three will come along.

It's amazing how much time and a little wisdom can benefit our perception of our past, present, and future. Things that once seemed like horrific mistakes, now seem like perfect instances of fate/universe/divine-order. It is 100% easier to accept my mistakes when in context of the larger picture.

Anyway, you go girl; grab some fabulous!

Now that's the attitude! I think the hardest part is the first step, to rewrite the past, but after that's done I think it all gets a little easier. I'm trying everyday to work towards my goals and to do what I think is right, so I totally agree with what you've written here. I wish you the best of luck in writing a life worth living. Btw, I already want to keep reading your story :)

Wow Dani,this is probably the best post you've written, I really really like it:)

Every experience,good or bad, is part of life.
The past has happened so it is best to see it in a positive manner.

As for the present...to those of us fortunate enough to be in the situation to write our own destiny, the only thing that is holding us back is the fear of the unknown. For me at least it's like that.

"what if...the new choice turns out to be a bad decision"

You have to take the plunge. Just like you I want to wake up and do what I love, and at the same time have enough income not to worry about bills or food or rent. That is the goal I am striving towards.

Really loved this post :)
Keep well!
Diggy

Hi Dani .. I too think that was a really good post. Your cutting room floor example is really good .. we could apply that to all areas of our life & that would give us more time to get on with things .. I know I take too long doing some things - perhaps because I'm permanent tired, through the situation I'm in, but you've inspired me to take the scissors to some of that dallying around, feeling slow and tired, so that I can work smarter .. I'm working towards that ongoing goal.

Thanks - great post!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Beautifully said.

I like to think of it as, "what do you want your life to be about?" It's such a cutting question, right to the point.

Shifting tenses is a powerful tool and so is being the director or writer of your life and it's all about what you point your camera at.

Today I was toying with the idea of making a quick slide deck of my life. I didn't, but I flipped through some quick images to see what sort of story is unfolding.

Lately, I like to think of life as a scene at a time.

Wonderful post Dani!

I like what you write about re-thinking the past - obsessing and punishing ourselves over the past really is such a waste of time and energy. I think the key for me is not only learning to think about the past positively but also on forgiveness and letting go, which I'm working on!

While I too would love to be working from home as a full time writer, at the moment it's not possible - but there is certainly the possibility of it if I edit my present carefully enough! I think what I got most out of this post is the fact that we are in the drivers seat when it comes to our own lives. It's all within our control - we can choose to focus on the negative or the positive. We can choose to push our lives in the direction of what excites us and moves us. The buck stops with us. I like that.

While also writing your life story, I think you should write a real book as well :D

Thank you as always for your inspiring words xx

"...OR I can look back at them and look for the good that came from them."

I think the greatest thing I'm learning right now is to be open and loving to my present AND my past. That's not always easy! Sometimes I look back on the girl I used to be and cringe. "Oh my God, Megan, you did THAT?!" (sigh)

The greatest thing about our stories, like you said, is that we can continue to keep writing them, and always go back and "edit" the past in how we perceive it.

Great post! (And I laughed at the idea of you microwaving dinner... for the most part, that's my idea of cooking, too!)

Akshay - Thanks so much for your comment. You raised so many great questions and got me thinking A LOT. Thank you! I really like what you wrote about thinking about what makes you angry. I've never thought about doing that -- looking at life from that perspective -- before and it's so interesting. Thanks for sharing you're insights. They are much appreciated!!

Hayden - Absolutely! When we see things in the bigger picture and take them in context it's easy to see that they happened for a reason (even if the only reason was to make us smarter or stronger). I'm definitely grabbing for the fabulous and I know you are too! ;)

Rosa - You made me smile with that last line! Thank you! :) I wish you the best of luck with your goals too. It's not always easy to stay on track, but it'll be great if we can look back and say that we lived the lives we wanted to live.

Diggy - Thank you! :) It was really enjoyable for me to write so I'm so happy to see that it's been well received. It's not always easy to find ways to do what we love while still living a responsible, comfortable life, but I know it's possible! We can do it!

Hilary - Thanks for the comment! If we really sit down and think about it there are usually quite a few things we can edit from our lives that hold us back or drag us down. Sounds like you should edit out some of the things that are keeping you awake so you can get more sleep! :)

JD - Wonderful question: "What do you want your life to be about?" (see, that's a great example of a sound bite -- pretty much sums up everything I used a million words to say, haha.) What an interesting idea to make a slide show of your life! I think I might try that, if only to show myself how far I've come recently.

Green Ink - I agree that forgiving and letting go are two of the most important things to consider when rewriting the past. They aren't always easy, but they're important. When we are able to forgive and let go we are able to live our present life differently, without so much bitterness and regret. My goal is definitely to write a book -- it's been my life-long dream -- and I hope to do it sooner rather than later! :)

Megan - It's so important to love both who you were and who you are (though sometimes both are difficult!). I definitely cringe when I think of the past me, but I'm working on forgiving myself for my mistakes and taking away wisdom and strength from the things that have happened to me. I'm glad you found the microwave part of the post entertaining. It's a little pathetic, but that's how I do it these days! :)

Hi Dani,

Fabulous post! When I look back, I look for the lesson. What was I being taught? What did I learn? One of my poems, "Reunion," was a look back on war and how it affected my life. It turned out to be the most cathartic piece I've ever written...and the chips and grudges I was harboring in my heart towards my ex-husband evaporated.

Writing my past is better than any therapy theory in the known Universe. I've tackled adultry, divorce, breast cancer, online dating, true love...

Writing my present...when I'm smack dab in the middle of a big pile of goo...I find the humor, I work through the process of whatever hair crossed my butt and nearly almost always (like 99.9999999999% of the time) realize that whatever is going on is between my own two ears.

Writing my future - I do that often, nearly every day in fact. The best way to predict the future is to create it...so I write what I want, what I'm looking for, as if I already have it. Energy flows where thought goes.

As far as writing the story - I love the 50 word mini-saga exercise...and my new favorite is the six word auto-biography.

Six words...here's mine: Integrity. Committment to Excellence. Stubbornly Optimistic.

xxoo
Peggy

Your experience of driving to work in a business suit while the sun was out and knowing something was not right is EXACTLY where I was last summer. I was wearing business clothes, heels, working in an office with no windows, it was torture on my soul! I told myself I would not be there the following summer, and I followed through...I quit that job to become a life coach and writer and work from home. Sometimes I'm still scared and it's not all perfect, but my soul is much happier and I think it's a more interesting book of my life!

Such an amazing post, with insightful comments to boot! I agree with having an outline for your future, but I also agree with letting it go, too. You have to take certain things in stride. To go to Miss Ashkay's comment, specifically 'If you make your hobby your work, you may not like it anymore' I think in that situation it's quite easy to switch jobs and put the hobby back as a hobby. I don't think that fear or question alone should stop you from at least trying to make your hobby your career. A lot of Miss Ahskay's questions are things that I ponder, but if you never try, how will you know? And if you do wish to try, then you do need a plan of action. When a person writes a story, or at least when I start to, I always come up with a semi-vague outline first. After that I fill it in as I go along, and I think that's how life needs to be handled as well.

Loud applause - can you hear it? What a perfectly wonderful post, Dani! I've said this before, you are wise beyond your years, girl! When I read your blog I am constantly reminding myself that you are NOT a wise old crone but a young woman with an entire lifetime ahead of you yet.

Your rewriting the past is brilliant. I would have simply said to develop a grateful attitude for all of it, learn from your "mistakes" and move on. I agree totally that the tendency to bash ourselves over bad choices is a total waste and simply ruins our capacity to disengage ourselves emotionally from the past to write a good present moment - let alone outline a future!

I'm 62 so I certainly have a lot of past! I do see people living lives of mediocrity, settling for what they have because they cannot motivate themselves to embrace change, being "comfortable" in their routines and thinking/saying "Someday........" Someday I'll write the book, someday I'll take up painting, someday I'll........... Your advice to actually write down an outline of your future (to make your "story" interesting and not some whining yawn of a book) is fantastic.

Maybe it's my age or just my quirky nature but I use the solstices and equinoxes as my New Years Resolutions - I get four a year instead of only one - to set goals for myself. It's easier to "swallow" making changes and going for a new habit if you are only looking at a 3-month increment of time instead of a whole year - I believe we have trouble with that vision of a whole year plus it fraught with opportunity for failure, disinterest or apathy.

I share your panic at word count - haha - suffice to say KUDOS on a great post! Has anyone ever told you that you have an old soul?
suZen

Peggy - Thanks for your great comment. I love the points you made about writing the past, present, and future. I've been meaning to get back into poetry and this is another reminder of why I should. Writing poetry can be extremely cathartic. I also LOVE what you wrote about the six word autobiography. I really need to think about what mine would be...Thanks for that bit of inspiration! :)

Jen - What an inspiring comment! It's great to know that someone else has been where I am and has actually made a choice to leave an office job to do something more fulfilling. It's people like you that give people like me hope so thank you!

Ia - You made some great points in your comment, one of them being: "If you never try, how will you ever know?" It's so very true. If we don't try things and experiment we'll always be wondering about what might have been. It's important to have a plan, an outline, but, as you noted, it's also important to be able to let go and just let things be. It's finding a balance between these two things that can sometimes be difficult...

Suzen - Thank you! :) I can hear the applause now! I have, in fact, been told quite a few times that I have an old soul and I guess that shines through in my posts. I love what you said in your comments, especially the idea of having resolutions for three-month periods. I think that's a great way to break larger goals down and make our dreams and desires easier to manage. I'm going to take your advice on this one and create an outline for myself that divides the year into four parts in order to make my goals more manageable. Thanks for sharing your wisdom in your comment. It's much appreciated! :)

Hi Dani,
This is an amazing article.
It reminds me of a line in a movie,"You should be the leading lady of your own life".
The way you have written this article impresses me so much.
Keep up the fantastic work!

Bunny - I believe the movie you're talking about is "The Holiday" and it's such a great one and that's a great quote. Thanks for reminding me of it! :)

What a brilliant post. I am starting to realise now that good luck doesn't fall in to your lap in life- if something's worth having you have to go looking for it and work hard. If it's worth having it's also worth the risks you have to take in order to get it.
I love your blog by the way.
Ava-May

I truly enjoyed reading your article today - your images and concepts and as I work to live in the present, less in the past and not hurrying the future into being, very apropos.

I also thought about the hardest part of living for me, was when the children were very little and they needed all the routines of tying shoes and good cooked food and the "right" things to do just softened the brain to mush and then the exhaustion of it all...so constant, I think I learned so much during those times but only by being able to look back. That hindsight gives me a more relaxed daily view and opens possibilities for the future - I wished I had had blogging then.

At 60 I am looking forward to the peak of creativity (about age 65-75 for women) because I know I will need all of the life lessons and all of the freedoms I have learned to pull it off with style and planning - to achieve it I must first let go.

What an unbelievable site! I found it through Someday Syndrome - this post is absolutely amazing - how we can truly use the lessons of writing and apply it to our life. Love it. Just signed up for your email updates and looking forward to future posts. Very inspirational content!

As a writing instructor, I'm always telling my students how important rewriting and editing is. I love the idea of rewriting and editing our lives. Why not? Who has the editorial rights to do it if not us?

Hi Dani .. I'm working in that direction .. just not easy at the moment with my Mum - but that's fine!

The cutting room floor will have a few extra frames on it soon & I can get on a bit faster .. working smarter ..

Thanks - have a good day
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Dani,
If anyone could create a life writing, blogging and making money I think it could be you!

I've edit my life and now need to create the future. 15 years from now I want to live on a farm with at least an acre or two for a garden of vegtable and flower garden! Love this post.

Patricia - I'm so glad you really enjoyed it. Letting go first is key, but it sounds like you know where you are in your life and what you've had to deal with. Being at the peak of creativity sounds wonderful and I'm sure you will make the best use of your creative strengths by combining what you've learned in the past with the present and your future.

Ava-May - Thank you! :) I agree with what you've written in your comment. If you want something -- like good things, happiness, etc. -- you have to work at it. Good things take hard work and that hard work makes them even better.

Laura - I'm so glad you found my site! And that you like it! Yay! :) Thank you so much for signing up for updates. I look forward to providing you with lots of new posts.

Lori - You've made a great point in your comment. Who has the right to edit our lives if not us? We have the right and we should use it. Sure, we can't undo what's been done but we can learn from it and change the way with think about it.

Hilary - There are defintiely times when it's easier than others, but it sounds like you're making progress and that's a good thing! :)

Tess - Thank you! :) Your comment made me so happy as it is my dream to write and have a career as a writer. It sounds like you have an idea of what you want for your future. Now you need to create an outline to get there! :) I know you can do it!

You've entered my sub-conscious, Dani...

Had a dream about you the other night - your book was coming out and you had a huge release party. The book was awesome; bright, excellent photography, fun, snippets from all your readers, etc. I wish I could accurately describe it, but it doesn't translate well from brain to text!

Anywho, thought you'd find that amusing!

Veronica

Veronica - WOW! That's so cool. Are you a psychic? That would be so great if that happened. If (when!!) I finally publish a book I'll definitely be inviting you to the launch party as my psychic sidekick. ;)

This post goes hand in hand with the one written about resumes by The Naked Soul. I like to think that I live fully, day to day, and appreciate the time I have and the choices that I make and have made. Each experience makes me who I am - and I like that person. I have been talking to my daughter a lot about actively living her life and actively making choices - making those choices from her heart and with love as the motivation over fear and ego. Sometimes this is so much more difficult than it sounds! I want her to actively live and write her life!! (to the extent possible)

I want to do this myself too... and do for the most part. The difficulty comes when it involves character choice and the roles of others as we are then dealing with their stories and paths and desires and egos... and fears. There is a thin line, perhaps, between the choosing of the story and life we live and the controling of that life. It is one thing to choose, make choices, and be ever aware of the opportunities... and another to try and make things happen or control outcomes.

perhaps the way I want to write my life is to write a life that chooses from integrity and love? having an open mind and heart...

I do so love this idea of writing our lives... and I love your posts.

The Exception - That's such a good point! I loved that post by The Naked Soul and thought the idea of creating a resume for our lives was such a great one. It reminds us that we have control over what we do and don't do -- and, more importantly, we have the power to make changes for our future.

There is too much good here to comment on but I love this.

"The past may be gone and the future might be uncertain, but we have the power to choose our now. We can edit out what we don't need in our lives and we can start doing that right now."

Nice. Thanks!

Stephen - I'm so glad you like it! :) I did cram a lot of info into this one. Haha.

Not writing it but living it, and leave a trail for others to write about? :) I don't know

Possibly I would write about how I made such improvements to my Blogspot that everybody goes to have a look at it, and about how everybody loves my blogposts, want to comment on them, want to bookmark my blogspot, tell their friend about it (by clicking on my Tell a Friend Button) How they like to buy the little ebook I wrote and buy the affilliate products I (pre) sell.

And that everybody that wants to find great resources about writing, and like to read more about how they can create writing success can have a look at my Writing Blogspot. The Blogspot where for example you can find a great Interview Video with Harry Potter Bestseller Writer J.K. Rowling.

All the Best,
To your Happy - Writing - Inspiration,
HP

HP - Thanks for commenting on this post. It sounds like your site is quite popular. As someone who is always trying to strengthen her writing skills, I'm very interested in reading more about writing tips. I'll have to check out your site!

Wow this is an amazing amazing post. I am really glad I found your site Dani ! Definitely gonna read some more.

" we can edit the present life we are living. "

definitely my favorite line !

Rocky - Thank you so much for your comment! :) I'm so happy you found the site as well. :)

I recently stumbled across your site, and "paused".. what lovely writings you have, and I can't wait to follow your blogs, and look back over some of your others! ;)

I enjoyed the first half of this blog the most because it energized my spirit entirely! I am taking bold steps forward lately and this was so encouraging to me, to come up behind me and remind me of why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's not easy doing the 'creating' for the new story but well worth it! Thanks for the encouragement as I continue to progress with baby loving steps forward! ;) This is my life, and I love that the cage door is open now, I'm free. and 'I'm owning it!' ;)

have a lovely weekend, my dear! So thankful to 'be here!'
much luv,
Sharmila

Sharmila - I'm so happy to know that you paused when you stumbled on Positively Present! I've been getting a lot of stumbled traffic lately and I always wonder whether or not people keep reading...Thanks for letting me know that you did and that you enjoy reading my posts! :) I agree that it's definitely not easy to create a new story -- in fact, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done! -- but it can be so worth it if you end up leading the life you want to live. We all have the potential to live the lives we want! Keep owning it! :)

Hey, I just came across your blog today because I was looking for posts about Alice in Wonderland. And I read this, along with your Alice in Wonderland posts, and wow... you said everything I was thinking but articulated yourself so well. I can truly relate to everything. Especially this blog: a life worth living.
It seems like you've already found your own inner peace, but I'm 18 and still struggling to find it. I'm in first year at university, and I have to declare a major in a couple of weeks. Last semester, I planned to major in English, but I seem to be doing better in classes like Communication Studies and Political Science. BUtttt, I'm not interested in those classes... they bore me to near death. I love English.... This year I haven't been living up to my full potential because I was too busy getting used to uni life. So I'm hoping next year I'll finally be able to work harder (maybe since I'll be moving back home), and do better in English. Knowing me, I probably won't care and just declare English my major; whether or not its providing me with great grades. Anyways, I babbled on for so long about that...sorry!!
Well I decided to comment because I really know what you're talking about... and I'm struggling to change. I recognized by faults about two months ago but I can't seem to get rid of them. For example, after last summer, I've become so analytical, it's like I'm constantly looking for the bad in people (which could be a result of being hurt and lied to one too many times). AND I DON'T want to be like that anymore! It's scary and I feel weird...like a pervert or something... I want to let others be, so I can just BE. But I don't know how to move forward. I don't know how to start trusting again, or how to be more confident (I never participate in my tutorials, so I'm losing major marks).
I also have hardly any power in my own life. Which is totally weird for me since throughout high school I was like boss.... It's like I don't care to talk to anyone. All my friends in university are people I never or hardly talked to in high school. I feel like it's unnecessary to make new friends. But I know that's not true. Making friends was so much fun and meeting new people was great. My self-esteem has also taken a turn for the worse. And I don't know what brought this all on... but I do know that it's really affecting me.
I'm sorry I made this comment so long.
But I just need to help escape my past and move forward with a fresh attitude. Way easier said than done.
If you ever read this, please give me back some feedback.

PS Your posts are awesome. All the best. You should totally write a book about your own life!

Thanks for creating this blog,
E

E - Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it! It can be very difficult to deal with change and to gain power over your own life, but you have the ability to choose your attitude and make the most of what you are given. It's, of course, easier said than done, but if I can learn to embrace a positive attitude and stop living in the past, ANYONE can! Someday I hope to write a book and it's comments like yours that really make me believe I can do it. Thank you!

I found your page through Chania Girl and just wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. I really do believe what we consider to be our pasts is more a story we tell ourselves about what happened. I love how you spoke about re-framing those experiences. Looking forward to reading more here. :)

CC - Thank you so much for the comment. I'm so happy you found Positively Present and that you enjoyed this post. It's really important for us to recognize that we can, in many ways, re-frame our past experiences by changing how we think about them. Looking forward to sharing more with you via Positively Present!

I love, LOVE the concept of viewing your life as a story! It's actually been one of my goals lately and I was so excited to see this post when I stumbled onto your blog! Have you ever read "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life" by Donald Miller? It's the book that got me started on viewing my life as a story and it's excellent! Thanks for sharing and for being willing to be publicly honest and genuine! You've got me hooked now!

Breanna - Me too! As a writer, it just makes so much sense to see my life that way. I've never read that book, but I'm going to add it to my GoodReads list of books to read. Thanks for the suggestion!

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