By Lindy Earl
Are you a logical person? Do you plan things and enjoy having everything lined up? I don’t mean OCD tendencies. I think we all have those in one area or another.
There are many of us who just over plan everything, including our lives. For me it started in my youth. I became aware at a young age that I like a routine – what some people called a rut.
The obvious challenge is that life is not always logical and often refuses to follow the pattern that we have set. Drat.
I was taught, and taught others including my children, that life followed this pattern: school, college, career, marriage, babies. If you followed this path then you would live happily ever after.
Sadly, I didn’t include words like unemployment, poor communication, divorce, solitude, rejection, insecurities, and others to enter my picture, so when they all showed up, I was rather confused. This was not the life I had planned.
Like you, I tried to do everything right. I went to school and studied even when there were parties to attend. I got up early to get to work before others. I grew my servant’s heart and did my best to keep a good attitude all the time. All the time! It was exhausting.
Yes, I was warned by well-meaning and caring family and friends that I would be hurt. I thought how sad it was that they were so negative when life was to be lived and enjoyed. Oh, how naïve I was.
Today, I am very well aware of how selfish and rude and demanding people are – and I’m talking about strangers! Watch people in a store the next time you are running errands. How many of them are kind to the cashier or other employees, and how many treat the workers like servants? It’s astonishing!
Look around, inside or outside, public places, and see the trash on the ground and messes on the shelves. The employees are not the ones doing this. We have all seen the signs in the break room, asking us to clean up after ourselves, because our mama does not work there. In truth, we should be cleaning up for our moms, not asking them to continue to tend to us. We are adults yet act like infants, incapable of simple communication. Is it so hard to ask where the nearest trash can is? But why, when it’s so much easier to leave your trash on the floor. Yes, this is what you’ll see when you look. But I hadn’t figured this kind of behavior into my life plan.
Like many, I had made my plans with my head. Like many, I’m a smart person. I’m educated which adds knowledge to my intelligence. Intelligence and knowledge are not synonymous. Some people have both, others have neither, some have one or the other.
As time passed, and life beat me up a bit, I started to learn that I should plan with my head as well as my heart. A simple example: if you know it takes 20 minutes to get to your destination, leave 25 minutes early, so that you can be a safer and kinder driver. You won’t be rushed and might be willing to be more understanding of other drivers because you’re not stressed. This is both a head and heart decision. It is logical, but it also takes heart to be kind to strangers, especially strange drivers.
A friend of mine lives totally by his head. In his over 60 years of life he was married for 15. He is so used to being alone and doing everything that he wants to do, the way he wants, that he can’t get past it. When he dates women he considers things like their income and house, in addition to their looks and personality. He is just one example of this. I went out with a guy, once, who only dates professional women. He told me that he had a great evening with a woman once and when he learned that she was a hairstylist he dumped her. Wow.
Now, I understand that nobody wants to be a meal ticket for another, but this may be going overboard. To not date someone, or pursue a relationship, because of their career leaves out a lot of potential dates/mates.
Maybe, especially as we age and are in at least a second long-term relationship, we should finally start following our heart. Look, if you are happy with your life and the choices you’ve made, and you find someone who is happy with who they are, and you have commonalities and enjoy one another’s company, does it matter that one is more educated or has more money or is taller or shorter or richer or poorer or fatter or thinner or has more children or fewer children or lives too close or too far or wears funny clothes or has glasses that you find unattractive or has a funny laugh or never wears a coat or has mismatched dishes because that just isn’t important to them . . . you get the point here. Does any of this really MATTER?
As we age, we are finally learning that life is short and we only get one chance at it. So, start living with your heart. Take a chance and ask out the woman you have admired from afar. Take a chance and say hello to the guy you pass every day. Smile at a stranger then see what happens. Stop counting the tokens that you have set up in your life. Throw away the list of gotta-haves.
Makes decisions on wants not needs. If I wait until I feel that I can truly afford a vacation then I may never go. Spend some of your savings! What’s the point if you die with money in the bank? I’m not saying be irresponsible, but it’s okay to take care of yourself now.
Now is the time to follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. Yes, it’s time for you to hit your bucket list. Yes, it’s time for you to sleep in on Saturdays without feeling guilty. Yep, large and small dreams.
Do not give up logic completely, but let it take a back seat once in a while. Remember the person you were at 20. Friends and I used to do silly things with the comment, “It’s something to tell our grandchildren.” Well, grandchildren are here, but we can continue to write our own stories to share with them. And stories from the heart are the best kind.
I would love to hear from you. Please comment and share your thoughts. If you like this article please share with your network!
Lindy is a Consultant, Speaker, and Writer, currently living in Atlanta, GA. She is The Business Coach focusing on Relationships through Communication, Leadership, and Corporate Culture. You will be more successful with Lindy on your team. Please contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com.