Growing up is what our bodies do, maturing is what our souls do. When life comes at us rapidly and we don’t know how to handle what we are experiencing, it’s just life’s way of letting us know we aren’t as mature as we could be or need to be! We need to do more to prepare ourselves to deal and cope with the future challenges ahead.
Don’t cheat yourself out of the necessary experiences which propel you to maturity by evading them or escaping from your share of responsibility for them! All of that in life which you might experience which is really difficult, painful, or frightening, cannot destroy you unless you let it. In the face of everything which feels uncomfortable and at times disturbing, you must hunker down, find your strength, persevere through, and eventually overcome!
That is our challenge throughout life, to resolve our own dilemmas, to face our fears, to cope with our emotions, and to learn through experience the wisdom necessary to move onward even through the most difficult, life-altering, or perplexing matters. At the end of our road, with such purposeful focus, we’re sure to be as noticeably mature within as we are visibly grown on the outside!
I mostly wrote this five years ago this very day, but it seems to ring even more true for the world we are living in this day! The greatest challenge and endeavor in life is to learn the vital lesson of discovering your joy within! With that comes the importance of holding onto that joy peacefully and consistently, no matter the circumstances you are currently experiencing, all while reflecting that contentment as a light back into the world. None of us is immune to hardships, traumas, and problems in life or the catastrophic events beyond our control, but we have shared enough similar woes and life experiences to know that our inner joy is truly not a reflection of what has or will happen to us as much as it is a reflection of our choice as to how and what we feel, think, and believe about these matters! We choose how to summarily view our lives based on how we feel about what has happened to us. If we always cede our joy to feelings of despair, worry, anxiety, sadness, constantly mourning what we’ve lost over time, we erode the sense of joy we are meant to experience just by living! It’s as if we forget that our lives were filled with both happy and sad, ups and downs, laughter and tears. Anchoring our joy within ensures us that we won’t look back upon our lives in misery and despair!
We’re so well-equipped to love, to empathize, to be the face of compassionate caring for others once we have assured all of that for and within ourselves, by recognizing our own ability to keep our peace, joy, and contentment alive within our own soul and spirit! It’s so easy to harden from within with each trauma and every downturn. Soon enough, we have lost our ability to enjoy our own life or to help others enjoy theirs! By instilling in ourselves an indefatigable and rebounding joy within, we make ourselves almost immune to that habit of dwelling in perpetual despair! We may for a time mourn, ache, or hurt, but it need not take our life’s joy for all time! Perhaps we need only shift our focus more to the bright moments, the great times, and the things which we consider blessings, rather than focusing more often on what has grieved us or made us sad. And in just a time, that becomes the new habit!
Find and hold onto your joy from within by habitually deciding to do just that! And then be a purposeful light for others, assuring them as to what joy, peace, and contentment can be for many who possibly need your leadership in that regard! It takes faith to live as a light, but the Lord sets a great example for us as to why we should! Shine your light for all the world to see, especially during this season of Christmas! You never know who might be inspired and led by your example in turn. There is enough darkness and despair in this world, enough sadness and suffering, reflect for others the way which leads them to their joy and light! And have a joyous season celebrating Christmas!
Sometimes we sugar coat things, thinking we’re sparing others upsets or upheavals. But, if we choose to deny anyone the truth by withholding from them the reality of a situation, we don’t really do them any service at all! Speak the truth, give the facts as you see them, relay honest appraisals whenever possible. Trust and deliver the difficult truths with kindness, compassion, and an earnest heart determined to help others.
Our challenge shouldn’t be how we can hide facts and the truth, for now, to protect someone we love from possibly being hurt, but rather our consideration should be how we can best deliver or present to others what they may need to know to make the most optimal choices for them, to face their dilemmas head-on as they are presented in life, while standing up to what they must! Some of the purposeful omitting or concealing we do may seem to soften a blow to others, but truthfully, it might also be that we don’t want to be responsible for having to give bad news or to burden another when they’re under significant duress! It might also be that in white-lying, omitting, or actually distorting reality, we are making assumptions about others which suggest that we believe them weak or incapable of facing reality. And that projection upon them might be a serious disservice to them!
The truth is truly what each of us deserves to know, process, and ruminate, even when that truth seems like a bitter pill to swallow or a hard left to our already-battered head! Some of the storms we face in this life actually provide great lessons and the impetus for significant and positive change, but if we’re always hiding in a shelter of our own making or in one provided too readily by others, we run the risk of missing those important life lessons! Not all storms can and should be evaded. They serve as necessary opportunities for individual growth and personal development! We have to give that chance to ourselves by facing each obstacle and trial in life head-on, but also others deserve that same opportunity! Honesty, reality, and truth are the power of knowing what to do, where to go, and how to proceed. The light of truth reflected in life is always preferable to the darkness of uncertainty and ill-preparedness.
So many people these days are insecure, riddled with self-doubt, and unable to positively identify themselves by decisive means. They are lost, meandering through their lives looking for validation and for acceptance! It’s really sad to watch seemingly successful, established, attractive people flailing about looking for the approval or esteem from outside that should be naturally flourishing from within!
You probably have seen these people around you every day. They may have jobs, careers, families, friends, and present themselves as well-adjusted and successful at reaching their goals in life. But, in fact, they are struggling with insecurity. This insecurity stifles their creativity, befuddles their pursuit of goals, and hinders the real progress they could make in relationships as well as personal development.
Insecurity is visible! It shows up as narcissism, jealousy, anger, envy, intolerance, excessive criticism, and in those who are always easily offended by others. Insecurity is when we don’t quite believe we’re worthy, or that we’re attractive, talented, capable, our opinions or beliefs are valid, or that we’re loveable. It is any sense of our lacking when we’re estimating the value of others in comparison! Are we as popular, pretty, slender, wealthy, successful, talented, smart, (or whatever measurement we’re using to compare and contrast our life with the lives of those around us)?!
We’re meant to get our value and worth from the knowledge and assurance that we’re beloved children of God! He’s our Creator, so He made us as we are with inherent human value and worth to achieve the purposes He has designed just for us! But many of us don’t believe in God’s dominion over our lives, and so we don’t know that our value is derived from knowing who we are through Him! We instead get our value from other places then, from other people, from the things we’ve collected and boasted of routinely, from the position we hold, from the level of our personal or professional achievements, from how attractive others think we are, from our ability to do certain things, or to hold particular positions. Without having that relationship with God, as Father, we are always going to live our life comparing and contrasting, competing and defeating, dwelling and then repelling all the subjectivity of flawed and irrational human thinking, our own and that of others! We spend a lot of energy and time dealing with insecurity as a result, which takes us from our life pursuits, the purposes God has in mind for us. And when we’re insecure, we spend a lot of time finding fault with others in an effort to raise our own self-perception!
When we know that we matter, we’re loved, we’re loveable, and that we were created as we were meant to be by the Lord, we don’t need to feel insecure about our appearance, our thoughts, our beliefs, our talents, our bodies, or our level of achievement in any area of living! We can go into anything certain that He goes with us, He has prepared us or will for whatever we face, and that we needn’t doubt our ability or any other facet of our being. He leads us, He goes with us, He is our strength, and He is our guide. Now, it’s true that those who don’t believe won’t grasp this difference! That is obvious. But they also don’t see the nature of issues with insecurity rising in this nation as we push God further from our personal lives! Such rampant insecurity is a clear indication of lives lived without the sense of God’s value known for certainty within them! Even believers struggle at times with thoughts that can erode our confidence and our assurances! When you know you matter as you are though, then someone else’s wealth, acclaim, position, race, sexual identity, possessions, and beliefs won’t seem threatening at all! And our own struggles to achieve the success we think we should attain won’t become such an overwhelming weight upon our souls! Knowing God is our designer sets us free from the embattled sense of entitlement, jealousy, envy, narcissism, greed, self-doubt, self-obsession, constant self-promotion, and any other eroding measure! Struggling is part of life, but to wrangle with insecurity, lacking confidence in ourselves as God’s invaluable creation, is to struggle needlessly even more so!
Have you ever told yourself that what you were considering was impossible before you even began? I’ve done it more in recent years than ever before because I’ve grown accustomed to thinking that with middle age, I am naturally more limited! But that, I would suggest, is a lie. And with aging, there aren’t any rules! I am no less able now than I was twenty or thirty years ago. The actual difference in my fitness or abilities is only evident in that I may have a few more aches or pains when I do something, I may have to warm up a few minutes longer, and I may have to go a bit easier at first when attempting things, but the only real limits to training and physical fitness is in my imagination!
When I was younger, I had amazing endurance. It always took me a long time to get winded when working out, or when doing something physical. As an avid hiker, I was often chided by my friends as being part mountain goat, because the uphill effort wasn’t as taxing for me given my endurance. I’m not a fast runner or a speed demon in any pursuit, but I have that endurance consistently. Well, even with age, that hasn’t changed much. I’m still able to “go the distance” when it comes to physical activities and sporting endeavors. I can still hike and do hike, I can move up a flight of stairs without getting winded, and I can train for a considerable time before I start to get winded or fatigued. But the minute I try to sprint, run, or race through any sport, I can’t maintain the effort for very long. So really, not much has changed for me at this stage of life! With stretching, I’m just as flexible, with effort, I’m just as conditioned. The only thing I’ve really noticed with aging is a need to build and keep more muscle, as that seems to be less easy to do and more a challenge of our body’s aging process.
So the lesson I’ve learned the last few years is to not limit myself by what I might perceive as the natural result of aging! Why start to tell myself that aging will impact me this way or that if in fact, it’s not true! Why limit myself and possibly become more sedentary? Why would I keep putting limitations upon my abilities, my possibilities, my efforts, and my goals just because a calendar flips another page? I shouldn’t! I’m realizing that all the changes I perceived about aging are more about giving into self-limitations and false expectations associated with certain periods of life. And that notion of the possible limitations of aging leads a lot of people into prematurely sedentary lives, actually accelerating the aging process, mentally and physically! Loads of people tell themselves that they can’t, so they never make it to can! I don’t want to be one of those people, as life ceases being as meaningful when we give it less space for growth and when we give ourselves less capacity for fullness and fulfillment! I enjoy being active and challenging myself.
Last year, I set a goal during the Summer of swimming two miles without stopping. I have a pool in the backyard, so it was easy to imagine that such a goal would be possible in our long Summer swimming season here in the hot desert Southwest. I worked hard, built up my time each swim, and then swam with the purposeful fine-tuning of my stroke by paying attention to instructions I had once received in swim lessons. I bought equipment which made the effort easier, such as goggles, a cap, and a one-piece swimming suit. I swam several times a week, achieving my goal of two miles non-stop by early July of last year. Even though I had to quit swimming too early to have shoulder surgery (unrelated to my swimming), I felt great for pushing ahead with such a strong goal! This year in mid-May, I started on a new goal, swimming three miles non-stop! It’s a lot of laps in an in-ground residential pool, easily a couple hours of commitment per swim. But, I achieved that goal this year by early July and enjoyed a very productive and rewarding swimming season again! I’m not sure I will increase that goal for next Summer, as it requires a lot of time to swim even three miles at a time. I will keep that as a goal though, even though I’ll be another year older by then!
Since it finally got too cold in the pool for me to swim, now that it is Autumn, I have taken my physical pursuits and can-do attitude in fitness and put them into a new effort – running! I do struggle more with it as a goal, as it takes a lot more physical control and conditioning for me, with such an impactful exercise routine. The benefit of swimming is the low impact the water provides my body. But I’m determined to not let myself be limited by my own mind’s perception of my possible limitations! My body is amazing in that it accepts my efforts by acclimating to my conditioning efforts, so I am left to ponder what more I might accomplish?! Why would I say “never” until I at least try?! And my efforts, though slow and steady so far, have proven that I am already able to do more than if I had just told myself that I was incapable from the onset! My challenge is to build up to some major achievement with this, just as I did with swimming! Remember, with aging, there aren’t any rules.
Day in and day out, the grind towards what we want to achieve and the end point until our goals are reached is often tiresome! It can drive us to the point of fatigue and even abandoning what it is we are pursuing! But in our makeup, our very biology, we have tenacity and persistence inherent within us. Life seems to persist through God’s design, for His purposes, and by His grace, in spite of what we do or attempt to do. Life and all living matter persist, beyond our own efforts to destroy things, beyond our knowledge, or in our careless abandonment, we can see it all around us. So, in our pursuit of life’s goals and our dreams, we shouldn’t let a few moments or periods of fatigue, brain fog, or disappointment take from us our inspiration, our intention, or our indefatigable drive! We’re made of tougher stuff than that!
We must persist in our efforts. We must learn by habit how to rely upon our muscles of patience, fortitude, and determination to see us through, rather than giving up somewhere along the way! At those key moments when all seems so overwhelming and the road ahead looms too long or taxing for any further effort, we need to hunker down into a stubborn gear on our inner gear shift, which takes us over the rough spots and the most challenging part of our goal ascent! Impossible you say?! I would argue that it’s harder to live with quitting, which forces upon us a lifetime of regret, wasted potential, and the repetitively spent energy of what if! One moment of fatigue can lead to a lifetime of why? Why did I quit? Why did I let my dream slip away? Why did I fail? Why didn’t I see it through? Why? Why? Why?!
If you want something bad enough, you have to develop the habit of the “hunker down”, using the muscles of determination, patience, and fortitude when other fleeting emotions or feelings are telling you otherwise! I’m not suggesting you keep running into brick walls of impossibility, but if there is even a thought of finishing what you began in some pursuit of a goal or dream, then don’t let the efforts required in doing so dissuade you! The efforts are part of the big reward! The efforts are what make the end goal so much more enticing! Without the sweat, dogged pursuit, planning, and execution, there is little in which to be proud, to feel rewarded, or to claim your prize. There are no participation trophies for all. Only those who put in the time, effort, and endure for whatever amount of time is required to reach their goal will win!
Reaching the goal is only a victory if you had to overcome some obstacle or find a way through some roadblocks. If it was easy, it wasn’t a very big goal! If it was something everyone could do or have, then it isn’t really much of a dream specific for you! I’m suggesting that you have within you limitless potential to overcome, to reach higher, to go further, and to attain some new level. But if you don’t persist in that disciplined challenge in a temporary moment when the pursuit seems too hard, difficult, pressing, taxing, overwhelming, or just too tiresome, then you will never know your full potential! Persist! If you want something, remember why when you hit the wall, and persist!
I miss the way things were earlier in my lifetime when I was younger and life seemed simpler. I suppose it’s a common phenomenon of growing older that change can leave a lot of our lives unrecognizable or just a wee bit uncomfortable. It’s inevitable, there are cycles in life, natural lifespans, and popularity, which impacts what we’re surrounded by each day we live. Everything and everybody which once surrounds us will ultimately fall victim to time’s passing, especially upon hitting mid-life. And the hardest part of growing old is watching all that is familiar give way to something new, different, or otherwise unfamiliar to us. Change is surely inevitable, but not always preferential! And accepting change is the most challenging but essential aspect of aging! Especially at a time like this when everything seems to change so much more rapidly than in years and generations prior. Perhaps we live in the time of the most significant change societies have ever had to absorb since the beginning of human existence in the world. I cannot say for sure, as I only live in this time.
Surely the earliest of human beings had to deal with a lot of perceptible development, just by becoming adults. There were significant and momentous developments visible through the ages, much like those evident during the industrial revolution or with the development of language in each culture over time. But these days, keeping up with things is literally imperative to know the ever-changing colloquial language, as well as all that which influences daily life. Imagine what would become of someone unfamiliar with even the most simple of technological developments these days? If someone didn’t know how to use a portable, instantaneous form of communicating such as a cell phone, they would probably feel very ignorant in this contemporary world! We’re able to instantly communicate, nearly everywhere in the world. We can speak, write, and even render our thoughts across the globe in seconds! Without an awareness of the internet, cell phones, computers, or other forms of technology, people would be clueless about much of the world’s modern functionality!
And in that reflection, there are people in the world alive today who had the earliest form of telephone service available. They first had landlines which required operators to connect a call or which had multiple party connections, which meant negotiating for phone usage, and took considerable time for connecting from one place only miles away to others. A phone call was a great luxury when the telephone first became a household staple and even having a phone was not guaranteed in every household as a cell phone is expected to be these days. Having a telephone was a privilege one had to be able to afford to actually have. It was not that long ago that many of us living today had hard-wired phones, hanging on our walls or sitting on our tables. We had to manually dial all the numbers on a large rotary dial and we couldn’t move beyond the distance the length of the curled connecting cord between the base and the handset allowed. We didn’t always get through instantaneously because it took more time to actually dial, especially long distance, and there were often either interruptions or perhaps the line would be busy already. I’m surely not an expert on the history of such technology, but I lived through several technological changes over my lifetime which developed into the instantaneous, wireless, global service we have today! If Maxwell Smart were alive and spying today, would he even bother with a shoe phone?
When I think of all the changes which I’ve witnessed and absorbed in my lifetime, I’m often disturbed by the pace of things! It’s not necessarily all that comfortable to grow old with things always changing, as things don’t often change for the better! As we age, change seems to be more prolific and more impactful such as with more of our family and friends passing away. It’s a matter of time’s natural passing and lifespan. We merely have to learn to become more accepting of living without those with whom we were first closely surrounded. And we must learn to let go of a lot of regular aspects of our daily lives. All things and people have a natural lifespan, including the familiar businesses, places, and landmarks of our communities and our hometowns. Everything comes and goes, with some random time pattern, not always of our choosing! It’s just a part of life. We might really enjoy a restaurant, perhaps we’re even regulars there, we become our own version of “Norm!” from Cheers (a sitcom from the 1980’s) to some group we routinely encounter there. But then that place suffers from an economic downturn or the owners choose to retire, or some other random incident causes its closure. That happens repeatedly as we age, especially if we stay in the same place over a long period of time. We take notice of changes, of communities shifting and changing in demographics, in population, in prosperity, and economically. Landscapes with which we have great familiarity seem to morph into something unfamiliar and all-too-new. Change without our developing sense of acceptance is just unsettling.
I often wish I could keep more of the familiar people and places in my life, sans change! It isn’t always comfortable or easy to accept a lot of the change which comes with age and with time’s passing. But acceptance is a strange bedfellow because it enables us to make as much peace as possible with something which inherently at first feels uncomfortable or unpleasant. And getting better at accepting things is making my life easier, even with all the bombardment of change which now seems “normal” at this time period of my life. I can’t go back to a time when life seemed simpler or easier, and I cannot slow life down to make it seem more tolerable. This life is going at a pace which requires my constant endurance and daily acceptance! And I work each new day to keep those muscles flexing for the fevered pace of change we’re experiencing in 2017! Who knows what is coming next in the world, by way of technological developments, or in my own community? It’s all constantly changing and morphing into a new version of today, each new tomorrow!
Patience is the lesson learned through many of life’s complications, trivial and more serious! It’s the realization that you’ll have to tolerate what at the time and at the moment seems intolerable, even if only for a short time! Patience is a fruit of our Spirit, found within us naturally, but surely requiring lessons and purposeful attention to developing! Patience convinces us to remain calm, to stay peaceful within, to consider situations purposefully, and to not react without first thinking things through. Patience accepts flaws and tolerates the imperfections of human nature and life itself!
I try not to measure my patience or lack there of! As soon as I crow about my patience through something, it will invariably bring on a challenge or test which causes me to eat my words! I think God teaches us in the middle of our trials so that we know it’s not of our doing, but His! And if I am ever actually sufficient in patience, I will surely know that it is God’s handiwork in my life. It surely wouldn’t be all my doing! I still struggle, daily!
This past week, while finishing up the pruning and trimming of some trees in my yard, trying to clean up after Winter in preparation for Summer ahead, I was attacked by tiny black ants biting my feet! I was actually doing the last few things on my list early one morning when it occurred. The attack was annoying at the moment, but I brushed the pesky ants off and continued my work until I could get out of their reach. It wasn’t until later on, and especially in days to come, that I paid attention to the effects of their foray with my feet! The bites I received became highly sensitive to itching whenever they were touched or even brushed against. And if I actually forgot about the bites while half-asleep, scratching my feet mindlessly, I set off a terrible itch almost instantly! It was so annoying to suffer the side effect from that one brief moment in the yard for several days afterward. Even anti-itch creams took their sweet time to work on the seven or so inflamed spots on both my feet!
Finally, the itching passed, after a few tedious days. But the whole event felt like the gift that keeps on giving for that time! That is the hard thing about being patient, it requires strength and perseverance over a set of circumstances which usually are not all that pleasant or fun, much less something we’ve chosen! Much like the bites on my feet, the event itself was not much fun, and the continued itch was surely unpleasant! Patience was required if I didn’t want to drive myself insane!
Now, not all tests of our patience are so trivial. Not all tests are so short-term or so inconsequential to our lives overall. We often have to endure lengthy ordeals which eat away at our ability to stay the course! Emotions are usually the reason for waning patience! We just hate to endure what we don’t want to. And any discomfort, any pain, anything through which we process negative emotions, are the attacks we wage on our own fledgling patience muscles! We fight a barrage of emotions and feelings which encourage us to abandon our budding patience in favor of having what we what now, rather than enduring what we find difficult or even impossible! Patience is always a test of our will, our emotions giving way against our determination to persist with maturity against our own emotions! To be able to control one’s own emotions is a sign of maturity, as then one has more dominion over self! The more emotionally immature we are, the more reactionary we tend to be and thus, unable to stand strong against whatever our emotions dictate. Comfort, ease, need, desire, fear, insecurity and many other internal drives play upon our emotions. We hate to be uncomfortable, to feel deprived, to have unmet needs, or to suffer for any length of time! And so, we settle for less, choose an alternative, or give up on what we’re pursuing rather than patiently forge ahead.
Patience it is said is a virtue. It can protect us from emotional contests, willful battles, and serious mistakes which take us off course. Patience leads to more civility amongst people and prospers respect for others. It is only through our patience that we learn to be humble, to tolerate others, and to wait for what is truly meant to be ours. Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit because it enables us to deal with one another with more loving kindness and better reason, as each of us is unique and independent, it gives us more measured concern. It is required in life to keep us from falling into bad habits, from making hasty erroneous judgments, and from reacting without forethought. And most of all, patience teaches us the art of self-control, self-discipline, and self-acceptance, as our flaws and failings are a natural part of the human experience. And the more patient we are with our own flaws, the more patient we are with those of others!
Sometimes in life, we’re waiting for the approval or acceptance of others just to proceed. We give others a lot of weight in our lives via that choice to garner another’s approval and acceptance before we act or speak! By waiting on that opinion of another, we often water down our own talent, point of view, or performance accordingly. We become addicted to the verification which another person’s positive feedback, approval, and acceptance of our actions, words, thoughts, or beliefs provide. We often need that before we do what we think we should, what we’re compelled to do! Instinctively, we often know what we should do. We have talents, skills, dreams and ambitions which motivate our actions. But when we filter those internal drives through the perspective, experience, intellect and understanding of others, we create a fissure of interference for our own success! We don’t need others to tell us we’re able, we’re good enough, we’re talented, or that we’re going to succeed at something! What we really need more than an opinion, a nod of approval or an avowed acceptance from another, is our own confident assurance in what we’re doing, saying, thinking, and believing! When we care too much what others think regarding our lives, we give away our own power to act and we become increasingly more insecure about ourselves!
Wanting approval or being tied to getting acceptance from others is alright if we aren’t relying upon it. If it’s the icing on our cake of already believing in ourselves and feeling secure in our thoughts, actions, speech and behavior, then it’s more than okay! Especially if it comes in the form of compliments and affirmations of our successes! But if getting approval is our usual way of knowing we can proceed or that we should do something, then it’s just a reflection of our insecurity. We need to know how to do, to say, to be, to think, and to feel independent of others injecting their opinions, beliefs, and dreams into the mix! We are unique individuals, which makes it impossible for others to successfully step into our shoes, to know what is best for us in any regard. It is up to us to make the choices, to step forward into the unknown, that each new day represents, with confidence and self-assurance. We must accept the reality that we’ll win some and we’ll lose some, that we’ll be successful and that we’ll fail, as well as that we’re responsible for the way our lives turn out! When we’re children, others step in to make the decisions which we cannot, but when we reach adulthood, it’s up to us to securely accept the role of the manager of our own lives.
Insecurity is the inner voice which screams, “I’m not ready!” or “Not yet!” or “Should I?”. Insecurity is what blocks us when we endeavor to pursue our dreams. It is the inner force which gives others more credibility when estimating our abilities or our success. It’s the inability to act unless or until others give us their permission or confirm our preparedness or state of readiness. What a terrible way to live, needing others to give us what we should be able to garner from within! If only we would believe in ourselves and give to ourselves the same level of credibility we seem to easily give to others!
Learning to rely upon our own instincts, to accept responsibility for our own successes and failures, as well as being eager about the personal growth we’ll experience when we do is key. It’s often seemingly easier to give others the burden of our choices in life, as perhaps it will take the onus of accountability from our own shoulders if we do! But in letting others lead us in our own lives, we also miss all the opportunities we have for character development and for reaping the personal rewards of creating success! Step in eagerly as manager of your own life, in doing so, you will have to accept many things which aren’t perfect, all the failings which result from your own choices, and the burden of regret when things don’t go as you hope. But you also get the successes! You’ll get the esteem-building, confidence-affirming realization that you met the challenge, reached new heights, took a daring step, achieved a dream, and grew more in the process!