I was listening to an interview with Matthew McConaughey the other day, and Matthew was promoting his new book Greenlights. In his book, he discusses the events in his life that shaped him. He discusses the idea of free will and sees himself as the author of his own story. I have heard other people say this before, but for some reason, when I heard Matthew McConaughey say it at this point in my life, it resonated with me.
We all have one life to live. We get to choose how to live it. You can be a feather in the wind, blowing in one direction and then the next with no ability to steer yourself. Or you can decide to be the author of your own story. It is not possible to control the people around you, the situations that present themselves to you, or what is happening in the world, but you can choose how you will respond to each of these things. You can choose the lens through which you will view these extraneous circumstances. You can also choose to focus on the things you value so that you are not wasting time on things that do not align with your goals or personal beliefs.
Since listening to the podcast, I have become reacquainted with my journal. I take 5 minutes in the morning over coffee to talk with myself. I decide how I want my day to go. My conversations have gone like this:
- Do not complain. Lately I have felt very dissatisfied, and I complain a lot. I have started to ask myself: do I complain because I am dissatisfied, or am I dissatisfied because I complain? I do not know the answer to the questions, although I suspect there is truth to both. As the author of my own story, I am choosing not to complain. That does not mean I will not feel frustration or anger, but I want to find ways to feel those emotions and then let them go. Complaining is a way of reliving negative events over and over each time you complain to a different person.
- Stay away from sugar. The more I listen and the more I read, the more aware I am of the toxicity of sugar. There is no place in our diet for straight-up table sugar or sucrose. Over the holidays, I slipped into a bad habit of indulging in something sweet almost every day. The more sugar I consumed, the more I wanted, and the easier it was to give into temptation. So, I have decided, as the author of my own story, that I will allow myself to have sugar in my coffee, but no other obvious sugar like cookies, ice cream, fudge, etc. during the day. On those days when I journaled, it was much easier to walk past the sugary treats in the kitchen simply by telling myself that I did not want them in my story. It is empowering to choose what elements I allow or do not allow in the story of my life.
- Take your supplements. I have several vitamins and supplements that I take throughout the day. I do not take them all at once, but I probably could. However, something tells me that I may absorb them better in small doses. So, I take 4 in the morning and 3 in the evening. Some days I remember the morning supplements, and some days I remember the evening supplements, but rarely do I take them all in one day. By committing to take the supplements in my journal each day, I am reminded that my health is a priority. I could have written about anything, but I chose to write about my supplements. It was important enough to mention in the morning; it needs to be important enough to complete by the end of the day.
Being the author of your own story is about being genuine and intentional. Every day you wake up, and your life is a blank page. You can wait until the end of the day and write about what happened to you, or you can choose your story and determine the plot.
Journaling is a literal way of writing your story each day. It is a way to examine what is important to you and maintain your focus on those priorities. But you can live intentionally without sitting down to write each day. You may choose to identify 1-5 things that are important to you and write them on Post-It Notes. Put these notes up on the bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator where you will see them every day. Consciously reading your notes each day will keep you on track and remind you of the direction you want your story to take.
Your life is going to happen one way or another. You will wake up each morning to a new opportunity. Choose to make your life your own. Be the author of your story.
Author: Laurie Lee