People reflect upon their lives at the start of a new year. Singles who don’t really want to be single usually bemoan their substandard reality. That can be true of anyone, single or married, whose life hasn’t turned out according to plan.
I planned on being married by my late 20s at the latest. But after almost two decades since my mission, I’m just as single as I was when I stepped off the plane that brought me home. So, yeah, I can relate to plans not exactly working out.
Many surrender to discouragement and even disillusionment when their reality consistently falls below expectations. They tell themselves that someone else is to blame for their plan not working out.
I got three words if this describes you in any way. Own your life.
You make your reality
When you focus on what lies outside your power to control, you give away your control to those people and areas outside of yourself. As I point out in my upcoming book, your focus becomes your reality. So when you focus on what you don’t have, you will always feel lacking. When you focus on how other people never choose in your favor, you will always feel down on your luck. Stuck in that focus long enough, you will eventually feel cheated.
Don’t like your reality? Change your focus. That starts by owning your life. That means looking inside yourself and taking responsibility for how your life has turned out. That means accepting the truth about why you are single. That means feeling awkward and even emotionally repulsed by what you find. That means hard work.
But the alternative is harder. Living a lie will keep you fixated on some place “out there” when the problem is really “in there” inside of you. The disgust you feel with yourself and your life will only grow the longer you ignore the real problem.
Don’t surrender the power God has given you to enjoy your life. Accept the responsibility for however your life has turned out and begin again. Own your life.
Don't focus on your past
Many singles focus on their past so much that their reality is one of despair from which there appears to be no escape. That’s like driving a car by looking in the rear view mirror all the time. You won’t get very far unless you start looking forward and then move forward. Accept that whatever happened to you has happened and then move on from wherever you are. Own your life.
This isn’t coming from someone who’s never been there. I’ve been nowhere but there. Most recently I was laid off from my job, then my position was eliminated, then I ended up moving back in with my folks (which isn’t entirely bad but doesn’t exactly help when you’re trying to attract the ladies), then my cat died, and then I keep getting reject notices for every job I apply for. Do I have some sort of target on my chest? Because it sure feels like it. Kind of reminds me of an old Far Side cartoon.
But I’m still owning my life. I’m grateful I have a place to sleep and food to eat. Since I won’t be homeless any time soon, so what that all my job applications ended in rejection? I'm free to learn and to grow from pursuing other options. Sure, losing my cat suddenly was hard. I haven’t had a good night's sleep in the past three months. But my will isn’t following my cat to the grave. I’m writing a book about my cat and the legacy she left behind. And I’m using that draft as a platform to interact with other writers in my community. The potential for adding to my circle of friends and exerting a positive influence on others is immense.
Don't stay down
In short, I refuse to stay defeated. I’m choosing to change what I can. I’m reaching for the life I want. I’m owning my life.
We’ve all heard that when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. I say scratch that. Make lemon chicken instead. After all, lemonade is so cliché and with all that sugar probably not that good for you either.
Or choose something else if you don’t like lemon chicken. But don’t just follow the herd and throw another pity party or concede that your life will never be enjoyable. Start the new year with a new you on the inside. Become a better person in 2014. Own your life.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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