I went out to finish my Christmas shopping last Sunday.
I like to think I am an intelligent person, and then I do something like that.
It was pouring, pelting, teaming rain and … IT WAS THE SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
I work at home. I live a few blocks from downtown. I can go shopping any day of the week. I can walk to go shopping. Instead I chose one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and decided to drive because it was pouring rain.
I circled downtown about 10 times having no luck getting a parking spot that was any closer than my home. Then I came up with another smart idea—drive to the shopping plaza because there might be something I want to pick up at Marshals. There’s always parking at a plaza.
NOT ON THE SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
I finally found a spot at the very edge of the lot and hiked it over to the store—thankfully the rain took a break from pouring and pelting. I got inside and realized I didn’t have a plan for this store. I only came to the plaza because I couldn’t find a parking spot downtown, where the things I wanted to buy were. But since I was already there I decided to walk around and see if something caught my eye.
As I began to wander aimlessly through the store I first noted how crowded it was with people seemingly desperate to get their shopping done. Then I noticed that many of the shoppers looked exactly like how I felt–blank stares and pushing a cart around with nothing in it.
What the hell am I doing in here—I don’t even know what I want! Almost dizzy from sensory overload, I hightailed it back to the mess of a parking lot.
I was shopping, but I didn’t know what I was shopping for. Then it occurred to me—if I am not clear about what I want, then the actions I take aren’t likely to produce any pleasing results. They’ll take up time and energy, like wandering through a crowed store filled with things that I could possibly want, but likely I’ll end up with nothing in my cart.
I find that with everything in my life these days. If I am not clear on my end result (like going to Marshals with nothing in mind to buy), or if I’m not sure the end result is what I want (I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to please other people, or doing what I think others think I should be doing), then I inevitably spin my wheels, take action that I don’t enjoy, and find myself anxious over my completely uncertain future.
OK, we all know that our futures are uncertain.
But if you have a clear destination, a place that you want to go, you can begin to travel toward it in a joyful way.
So where do you want to go in this new year? I’m not talking about making new year’s resolutions. As I feel compelled to share every year, I think new year’s resolutions are bullshit! To me, new year’s resolutions are a list of things you think you should be doing. I invite you, as 2016 comes to a close, to think about what you want your life to look like in the year to come, get clear about it, and then take meaningful action from there.