As my regular readers know, a little over a year ago, I was living in an unheated apartment, concluding my second, insanely frigid winter there. For “employment”, I was languorously managing a couple unpaid enterprises, subsisting on the last bit of dough from a once-plentiful savings account.
My life wasn’t bad in my Brooklyn igloo. I had friends, an amazing girlfriend, enviable relationships with my family, great health. But there were things that seemed like they would never change, and I had the premonition that those things would eventually thwart the natural progression of the other stuff–that not making money and flushing my toilet with collected rainwater would–to a prospective wife, for example–soon transition from quirky to pathetic.
A little over a year later, I have a wife, steady, rewarding employment, a replenished savings account, heat and–check this out–a child on the way! Right?
Here’s the bitch of it all: I was responsible for these changes. Of course, I had amazing collaborators. I may even have had divine intervention. But it’s my experience that divinity needs permission to work its magic. I gave it.
I say none of this to boast. I actually don’t want to take responsibility for any of it. As long as life is more accident than creation–something that happens to me–I’m off the hook. I can stay inert and afraid of the new things that seem like they’ll never change.
Personal responsibility is the greatest gift and burden one can possess. It shows us that we can transcend any situation. It also shows us that all our prisons–however real they seem–are self-made.
- What if you were responsible for your life? You don’t have to believe it. Just consider.
- What story would you have to give up if this were true? That your parents, a shit economy, past relationships, poor health, etc. are preventing you from changing.
- What would be possible if you were responsible for your life? What unchanging things might you be able to change?
- Take one of those unchanging things and take an action to change it (preferably right now).