You thought they were the “one”.
But they broke their promise, let you down, and if they got far enough, they broke your heart.
Nothing tastes quite like the bitter disappointment of discovering you fell for a sham. They told you what you wanted to hear, and you fell hook, line and sinker. It’s a good game and you played right into their hands. And now, here you are.
The pain. The agony. The self-flagellation.
Your life is turned upside down, and you’re not sure if you can trust yourself again.
You are also at a crossroads.
Because the silver lining hiding under the turmoil is this: you’ve seen the light.
You’ve stumbled onto how these ideas work.
You survived, and learned, and this knowledge is a powerful weapon in your arsenal. From this day forward, you carry this insight like a bright light amidst life’s foggy grays, an insight that helps you see right through the sexy facade and the obvious charms, and turn these ideas on their head.
This was never to be a true romance, but what has always stood in the way of something deep, real, life-changing.
These ideas may not be wrong, but how they’re used, like throwing fake fairy dust in your face, then blaming you for not seeing the magic. They’re too sexy for their own good, and you shouldn’t have to fall for them (again).
Can you get me a heavier, more intoxicating word, one that doesn’t make you feel like your whole entire existence, all its meaning and purpose hang upon this one, all-or-nothing thread? I bet you can’t.
Don’t get me wrong; if you’ve got the fire in you, by all means, keep stoking it and let it fuel your soul.
But there’s no reason why you can’t disregard “following your passion” if one doesn’t immediately jump out at you early on in life. Instead, you follow your interests, learn skills and solve problems, put the time in and develop expertise, and find that as you build your path, you’re building your passion right along with it.
2. Overnight Success
The charms on this one should be declared illegal. I mean, who stands a chance when wrapped in the seductive fantasy of these two words next to each other? Together, they are pure magic. More accurately, the perfect illusion.
What you need to do is, while the magician is busy holding up his hands when asked to reveal his secret, you sneak away behind the curtain. I will guarantee that behind the shimmer and shine, you’ll find blood, sweat and tears, and years of hard work.
As you unwrap the gold of “success”, you’ll find courage in the face of mountains of rejection, persistence, resourcefulness and sheer force of determination.
Under the red silk of “overnight”, you’ll find about 10 solid years (or more) of unsexy effort.
3. 5 or 10-year plan
I’ll make this short and sweet, because no crystal ball worth its sparkle has proven itself right, and the mysteries of the future, by and large, remain unknown.
So by all means, have or find direction and make a plan, but know that it can and probably will change, so leave room for that. To avoid being lured in, focus instead on the process, on taking next steps, on moving forward.
It’s the anthem of our times, or so I’m constantly told. Sometimes we fall for something purely because it’s been said over and over, louder and louder.
I suggest before you jump all in, take a moment to breathe, then determine for yourself what you’re hustling for, who you’re hoping to impress and why, and above all, define the meaning and the scale. This one has a certain wild, bad-boy energy to it, so be sure to decide how fast and how far you want to go, lest you find yourself exhausted and adrift on the side of the road, and not sure how.
I saved the best for last, because it has the biggest, smokiest, most irresistible come-hither eyes. No one is immune, although a few have recovered and speak their piece to warn and instill hope. This sexy mofo has you, me, all of us wrapped around its finger, while we compete for more attention.
To be honest, most times I do love the feeling. Being busy gives such a sense of validation, which is easy to confuse with doing what is essential, important (not urgent) or something that has real impact. I flirt with busy often, but I’m learning to resist, and be more intentional about how I spend my days. I suggest you do the same, in your own way, or risk watching your life in fast-forward.
And now, here you are.
My wish for you is that if you must fall, that you
:: fall in deep with what lifts you up and carries you forward;
:: fall in with eyes, ears and heart open;
:: fall in a way that leaves room to pick yourself up when you fail;
:: fall not for some shiny, fleeting, hot-for-now mirage, but something that reflects your real, gorgeous-from-the-inside, hard-won love right back at you.