For example, I had reconnected with a great friend of mine from grade school through the magic of Facebook after many years. In the beginning she would talk excitedly about her work, her family, her new house, her friends, her dates (she was single), etc – I got to hear all the great and positive stories. But as time went on, I watched her excitement turn to exhaustion and into depression. It was like she was a Formula One Race Car always speeding along never stopping and her fuel was running very low. It seemed her time was never her own now. She now worked very hard, long hours, long commute, taking care of her family, her house needed repair, she felt betrayed by some friends, and she started to think she would be single forever. She explained that she felt like she was on a runaway train heading off a cliff.
Over sushi one night, I asked her if she ever stopped to think if any of the decisions she has been making were working for her. She protested that she was happy with her work-family-friends-house-dating and she was doing the best she could. I said to her, “Well no doubt you are doing the best you can. But SOMETHING is not working for you because you are crying all over your sushi!"
Most people just let life happen TO them. They are so busy“living” life that they don’t stop to think if what they are actually doing/deciding is making them happy. We all want a happy life, so why is it that we make decisions that end up making us unhappy? This is what happens in a “Mid Life Crisis” (now that I’m Mid Life I know this now, hahaha). We spend the first half of our life trying to be a “success” by someone else’s definition - be it parents, society, peers, TV/Movies, whatever just so that we can ”fit in”.
Then somewhere around Mid Life we start to realize we are not happy by that definition and need a new definition. So we redefine what “success” means by what actually makes us happy and not what The Should Monster says will make us happy. Unfortunately this may mean other people will become unhappy. But you were not put on this Good Earth to only serve others! If you are not happy, how can you possibly make other people happy?
My advice…. FIX THE FENCE! You need to make time to take an inventory of everything that IS and IS NOT working for you in your life. You and your happiness are worth it! Keep the things that work, obviously, and then … the hard part…. have the courage to make the decision(s) to either remove what doesn’t work or change it in a way so that it will work. Life is way too short and who wants to chase chickens anyway?