Some of these may seem overwhelming and carry repercussions that can have impacts for years to come. You may obsess and worry over them and struggle mightily to come up with the “correct” choice. But ultimately, there is no incorrect choice, as everything you experience becomes part of your story and gives you insights into your journey and your path. Something positive comes from every decision you make—you just have to be open to it and allow it to become part of your experience. Regrets can also be part of a decision, but they are also part of the experience and can result in positive outcomes.
I’ve always loved the symbolism of wings. To me, there are many attributes of spreading wings that have analogies in our lives. Starting with making the transition from dependent children to independent people. As children grow up, they spread their wings a little more each time they have a new experience. Unlike birds, however, we humans don’t leave the nest in one dramatic leap of faith, but in many little ones throughout our lives.
Still, wings and flight have always held a special place for many people. Our desire to fly, literally and figuratively, is ingrained in the human experience and highlights our adventurous spirit. Our adventures can be literal forays into the unexplored, or they can be adventures within ourselves as we spread our wings internally and take flight to explore our personal landscapes. But we all need to understand how and when to spread our wings and fly toward the lives we are meant to live.
As we move through our lives, most of us are working to make our lives better: happier, healthier, and more meaningful. We may work on these elements consistently, or we may follow fads and have multiple false starts along the way. In the midst of our busy lives, it can be quite challenging to pay attention to what is needed to achieve our most basic goals in life. But without accomplishing these goals, we are considerably less likely to achieve our more lofty ones. How many of us pay attention to the foundation needed to work on those basic goals—the elemental pieces of a happier, healthier, more meaningful life? It’s not complicated—eat right and exercise, get plenty of sleep, keep your stress level down—but it is onerous. It takes discipline, proactivity, an open mind, and consistency. We have to be intentional about our foundations or they will not happen. Although everyone’s foundation may be slightly different, we all have basic requirements that include sleep, nutrition, exercise, and mental/emotional health. Many would also add spirituality to this list. But whatever our foundation consists of, it’s important to be specific and intentional and follow through on our goals for each of these elements.
I’ve been one my whole life. It hasn’t gotten me into trouble or hurt anyone, but I feel like it has hurt me. I probably don’t lie any more than most, but I’m uncomfortable with the amount of lying I do. Some of my lying is “good lying,” and some is bad. Some of my lying is adiaphorous (or so I tell myself), but I don’t think any lying sits squarely on the fence. Even if it isn’t harmful to others, it makes me more comfortable with lying. I mainly lie for convenience; it’s rarely malevolent. That doesn’t mean it’s not bad; it just means it’s not significantly harmful—or so I tell myself. Lots of my lies are lies of omission, and most of those lies are good lies; they spare someone’s feelings or make a process move along more quickly. They are instances when telling the truth would serve no useful purpose or would do harm. But some instances involve keeping secrets related to an inconvenient or embarrassing truth. Most of these secrets are harmless—or so I tell myself.
It’s possible to go through life without really putting your own stamp on what you do. You can go through the motions, do what is asked of you, check all the right boxes, but still not find an outlet that allows you to express yourself. It’s also true that you can live what appears to be an ordinary life, and through your personality and interaction, or your vision for the path forward, you can make it part of you, and in doing so, make your life a little less ordinary. This isn’t complicated, but it always involves a leap of faith—you have to take a chance and make yourself vulnerable. The risks that you take—the risk of failure, of opening yourself up to criticism or ridicule, of opening your heart and soul to the world—are all worth it, as the rewards are substantial. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that could not have come as a result of less personal achievements. We are all here to share who we are—don’t lose out on putting your own stamp on the world.