Consider Creating A Map To Guide Your Life

By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service.

It seems like summer has barely gotten started, and the kids are already back to school and it's time to winterize the house for the coming seasons. As I look around the community, I see lots going on, and I ask myself, "Have I taken advantage of even 10 percent of what's going on around me?"

We need to get up and out and see what's going on in the world. Whether we like it or not, it does allow us to see where we fit and where we don't, which is good knowledge to have. I want to hang out with my friends, and I want get stuff done at the house on the weekends, but how do you blend those?

I've invited over a couple of buddies, and we are doing some things here, and then going for a boat ride and maybe watching a game. Well, that takes care of today, but how do you create a life in which you feel fulfilled and know that the next day will be the same? Answer: You don't and you can't, so you have to take it one day at a time.

It's an old adage but one that makes sense. You can plan your days as much as you like and things will get in the way, but you can't let that stop you.

Unfortunately most of us get stopped too easily by outside distractions and inner conflicts.

Make peace with your day, and you can do that by being gentle with yourself. If you can't get it done today, tomorrow is right around the corner. If your loved ones aren't available to help at the house, call a friend, and if you can't find anyone, then change projects. Sometimes you may find that doing what you can, when you can, is easier than trying to plan ahead and is more fulfilling than doing nothing. That is part of living in the moment.

Finding fulfillment is really the treasure map we should all be following. The only thing is it may be different for every person on the planet. Wouldn't it be great if when we got together with someone, we could place our maps side by side and compare our goals, paths, and how we are planning on getting there? This would answer a lot of those questions that we never get around to asking when we start dating someone. Just a thought...

For this moment in time, it might be valuable for you to create a map of your own, just to get more clarity on where you want to be in a few years. Yes, things will change, but having a direction, even with multiple detours, is much better than just going where the wind takes you. Your path can keep you focused and give you direction when you need it most. Even if you never look at the map afterward, having it in your head gives you some extra strength to help you make it through this crazy world. ___ (Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.")

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