I get it.
The way you look and feel, the way you are today is your outcome. If you want to change your outcome, you need to change your actions.
To change your actions, you must change your decisions and to do this you must change the way you think.
I know its time to change how I think, but how do you know it’s time for you?
If you feel its time to start taking control of your life. This next chapter might help.
Life as one journey around the clock face.
We are all born at 12 o’clock midnight, and the first half of our life, between 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock is where we are led and influenced by everything and everyone else around us; our friends, family and teachers. We don’t necessarily make decisions about what we want to do, we go with the flow, we are reactionary especially when an opportunity presents itself.
We can genuinely claim immunity to responsibility for many of our actions during this first half of our life journey, so that’s good news for a start.
At the time, while we are on the journey of the first half of our clock, we believe we are in control. This happens without the burden or gift of experience. We are doing things for the first time. We are not so aware. Things just simply happen. Do you remember being 17 and thinking you know better than anyone else? I can remember wondering how on earth my parents had survived this long knowing so little!! (Sorry Mum and Dad!)
Our teenage years, 20s and early 30s are all spent in the experimental first half. We have our first relationships, figure out our sexuality, our likes and dislikes, ambitions and dreams.
We all make loads of mistakes during the first half of our journey but that’s good. We are not in control at this stage, life is in control of us. That’s what gives us hindsight as we go into the second half.
The second half of your journey, starts at around 6 o’clock. You’ll know you are here when you wake up to the possibility that your life is a result of your decisions and actions and not merely what happens to crop up next.
You know you are at 6 o clock when you can look back and recognise the mistakes you made, but accept them. You mustn’t feel guilty for past mistakes, because there really is no point. You are ready for the second part of your clock journey when you accept that you can control your life moving forwards. Your life is now in your hands, and although you still can’t control what happens around you or to you, you absolutely have the power to control how you react to it.
I am 53 years old while I write this article and I consider myself to be sitting at around 7.20, so just past halfway on my journey around the clock face and this is where life gets really interesting. This is where I choose to take control.
It’s worth mentioning here that I don’t see the two halves of the clock as equal time distances. Just because it took me around 50 years to get to 6 o’clock, that doesn’t mean it’ll take me another 50 years to get to my checkout time at 12pm midnight…as we all know, during the second half of life, the hands tick quicker.
Currently I am sitting at 7.20 and I’m loving being in the second half of my clock journey. Instead of just being reactionary and falling from one opportunity to another or rather, one disaster to another, I now choose which route I take. It’s more than empowering.
When I was younger, if a job opportunity came to me, I would grab it with both hands, leaving behind a trail of unfulfilled paths, just because I believed it was surely meant to be. I didn’t like planning, I preferred to go with the flow. Now at my 7:20 I make my choices before the opportunities are presented to me. I am able to pre-empt them because I manufacture them. I used to think I was a really lucky person, I know understand that I make my own luck.
I am responsible for me.
You are responsible for you.
I feel ashamed to say this, but when I was younger, I often felt sorry for people aged 40 and over, you know, ‘old people’. I felt sorry for them because I figured they must be bored stupid, not going out to parties and having exciting plans for the future. How sad that they wanted peace and quiet and sometimes to be alone. I was never going to become old like that! I would always want to party and plan and keep moving.
Umm, if I had the opportunity to visit my younger self, would I tell her what I know now? No way! I see that same thought about ‘old people’ flash through my daughters eyes now. At 17 she is enjoying her first half clock journey and thinks anyone who has passed 6 o’clock is well over the hill and clueless. I’m not going to say or do anything to alter her beliefs, because I know one day, when she hits 7 o’clock, she will understand. In the meantime, she can carry on blissfully unaware of what lies ahead. I hope she doesn’t hit 7 o’clock until she’s at least 65 years old!
So now I’ve come to realise that I’m a bit of a magician and I can make things happen, I no longer need to go with the flow, I am the flow!
This is liberating!
This is liberating and a bit frightening if I’m honest. Because it’s at around this stage you realise that you know what life is about, you know that your life is in your hands, no-one elses, but you also become horribly aware that time is potentially running out. So it’s even more important than ever to make every second count. What a cliché, but oh my goodness, so true!
When I was younger, in my first half of the clock, I thought life was about waiting for the big moment, then I would be happy. I’d meet the man of my dreams, then I’d be happy. I’d lose 10lbs, then I’d be happy. I’d make lots of money, then I’d be happy. I was always waiting, planning, hoping, searching. People (clearly in the second half of their clock journey) would say,
“But Sally, its not about the destination, it’s all about the journey”
I would nod in thanks, but would secretly feel sorry for them, thinking,
“OK Oldie, thanks for the advice but you clearly don’t have a clue, I mean you are over 40 afterall!!…”
How little I knew.
At 53 years; At 7.20 I get it.
Some people reach their 7.20 earlier than others. That often happens when they go through illness or trauma earlier on in life. You all of a sudden get it.
It’s powerful to know that a good life is about happy moments, minutes, nano-seconds even. When you are going through hell, reflection on a past moment of happiness can help you take the next breath and survive a minute longer.
I wonder what I can expect when my clock reaches 7.30?