The same soggy cereal again tomorrow; the same Starbucks dark roast; the same job you dread; the same ‘fine’ life you feel sorry for yourself about living. The F word is probably the most detrimental four letter word in your vocabulary, and I’m not talking about the word you think, I’m talking about the four letter word F-I-N-E.
When I came home from traveling, I promised myself I wouldn’t saunter back into the normalcy of routine life. I wanted so desperately to hold onto the vagabond life I had put on hold, but pushing the present away was no way to deal with it. So, I fell into the ‘fine routine.’ It was so easy – the same thing day in and day out. It’s like that girlfriend who has been in a relationship for 4 years and describes it as ‘this will do for now …’
But living a life of ‘it will do for now’ doesn’t really bode well for happiness. According to Forbes over half of the American population is dissatisfied at work. That means over 150 million people like you and I are just fine. Nothing has moved you, or made your palms sweat, or made your soul sizzle. You need a change, but what, how, when? For me, I realized I had to start happening to things in my life, they won’t just happen to me anymore.
If you’re stuck in a rut, or just want to come alive again. Try these 7 suggestions to start:
(5 am with coffee is acceptable, lots of coffee…) Maybe 5 am is too early for you, but feeling what it is like to wake up earlier than normal is one of the best ways to spark change. One morning I decided I was done being fine, and that getting up at 5 am everyday was going to be my catalyst for change. 5 am wasn’t fine, it was fucking early and for the first five minutes it sucked and I would have done anything to be warm, and FINE, and in bed. But, then I was up and ready to attack the day (or my cup of coffee).
Be the pineapple in a field of grass… be the one who sings at the top of her lungs, screams when he feels like it, or dances naked singing Mariah Carey Christmas carols. Learn to be free. Live fully, don’t be sorry for drinking too much wine, too much tequila, or too much at the company Christmas party. Get up – repeat, erase, or move on, just do it with all the weirdness inside of you.
Scare yourself. Say hi to the stranger in front of you, suggest a new project at work, jump out of an airplane, try a new workout class, try anything that stirs a nerve inside of you and makes you uneasy. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you.‘
Things do happen to you everyday, such as getting rear-ended, getting yelled at, losing a job, etc. These external factors and problems can be a source of pain, anger, depression, or negativity in your life. But, you can’t let what happens to you determine who you are. You are in control, no matter what shitty situation you think you’re in, you have the ability to wake up tomorrow and change it – never forget this.
Be honest. If you like something, say it. If you don’t like the food, leave the restaurant. If you want to hug a complete stranger, do it (don’t blame me for potential weird stares and astonishment). If you want new experience, grab it. Communication is such a crucial element to your happiness because it is a projection of yourself and how you want to be portrayed in the world. Stand up for yourself, come alive, don’t sit back just wishing you would.
Smile like you did when you saw this cute kitty kat. Smile hard and long in front of the people you love, and the people you do not. Smile on the inside, and don’t sell yourself short because all of your ex-boyfriends, girlfriends, employers, or colleagues say you don’t ‘cut it’. You do, you’re just cut to a different shape, and you’re meant to fit into a different mold. Embrace your uniqueness and run like the wind with it. When you start giving yourself some time, some love, and some inner smile – it will radiate onto everyone around you.
Jump in, force yourself off the cliff and be willing to free fall. Everything great always flows after the disruption of the norm: the confidence boost, the light in your eyes, a raise, a new love, and new anything is always disruptive and terrifying at first. Growth and happiness do require hard work outside of your ‘fine’ zone, but what else is there to live for?