The other day I tweeted about how I watched The Notebook and so CLEARLY I was living my best life. And then I started thinking about how much I love that phrase, because it's a good reminder, isn't it? Am I really living my best life? What does that even mean?
Sometimes you fall into things. You fall into people, fall into places, fall into patterns, fall into deep dark obsessions with red velvet cake. Ahem. (As someone who is patently Team Cheese, this is mutiny.)
I hate falling into things. I hate when you accidentally wake up one day and don't know yourself, anymore. It's weird how often that happens, even when you're deliberate about your choices. Even when you spend twenty four hours a day INSIDE YOUR OWN BRAIN thinking that you know yourself pretty well, and then one day you look in the mirror and discover you're actually a thirty-four-year-old zookeeper in Memphis. Like, what? How did that happen?
So much of life is a sneaky little slow burn. If you're not watching, inertia takes over and sends you spiraling down this path that just sort of happens. One day you're getting a college degree in business management; the next day you're the manager of a Blockbuster in Alaska. Which is actually still a thing. Next to the Tractor Supply Store. Where you've got store credit. And they know you by your new name, Rising Earth.
So it's a useful question to ask yourself, over and over again—even if the answer is a little painful. Are you living your best life? Or is this just a substitute to get you by? A filler. A holding period. A way to push pause on the pressure and the pursuit that comes with constantly trying? Sometimes it is nice to push pause on ambition; to just be a regular human with regular aspirations and a regular life. To not have to figure it out today, or face the hard conversation, or do the hard thing. But unfortunately respite can quickly turn into reality. A lonnnnnng reality full of shitstorms and resentment and lukewarm showers.
We need to place checks and balances on ourselves; to be wise enough to question our own judgment, our own choices, and everything we've done since. Unfortunately there is not a little man named Bob running around with a tiny clipboard, monitoring the quality of your life. Oooh, happiness spiking! Yes, make sure she keeps doing that. Uh oh, happiness falling. Get her out of there now, go, go, go! You gotta be willing to call yourself on your own bullshit. And to not only realize when you aren't living your best life—but be willing to fix it. (I've heard that watching The Notebook is always a great place to start.)
We're human. We're fallible. We fall on hard times and we fall behind and we fall on our face and we fall into traps. We fall short, we fall hard, we fall down, and we fall out. We fall from grace, we fall prey, we fall flat, and we fall out of touch.
But we mustn't fall in line.
Not when there is so much more out there waiting for you.