Among the endless metaphors for life, a road is perhaps one of the best. There's times for speed, times for caution and time for rest stops. You have intersections, turns and often have to navigate everything effectively.
My question to you today is: What road is your life on?
Everyone has a unique life purpose, so everyone is on a unique road. While no two roads will be exactly the same, many will have common roadblocks, important decisions and life-altering events. Understanding some of what's ahead will help prepare you for your unique journey.
Important Decisions and Common Roadblocks
The older you get, the more important decisions you face. As you're growing up, deciding how to spend your time and what interests to pursue is your most important decision. It's easy, too -- it comes naturally.
Later, you have to start thinking about how to make money and buy your first car. What kind of car will you buy? What about car insurance? Crap, now you need a job.
During and after high school, we all know the first truly important decision most people must face: what do I want to do with my life?
If this is where you're at on your road of life, know that almost everyone feels the weight you feel right now. Some people spend years figuring it out, and some never do. College is a popular option for those who are either already focused on a goal, or those who want to be exposed to new methods of thought.
Of course, there are other options that bring about important decisions:
Love and marriage!
Backpacking around a country or two or ninety!
Finding a job and start working.
And anything else you can imagine.
Many of these options can be made at any point as you go through life. You can go to college now, travel later and get married after that. If there's one thing I wish I fully understood when I was turning 18 it's how much time I really had to make each of these decisions. The difference between college at 18 and college at 28 isn't as much as you'd think.
Navigating through these options, and many options unique to your own road, will be a huge part of your life going forward.
Making these important decisions is usually a mix of emotional and analytical thinking. Evaluating the perceived benefits and drawbacks of any competing choices will help set the foundation for decision making. However, many important life decisions are made at the emotional level.
How are you, or your heart if you prefer, feeling about each decision? Like all the clichés say, let that feeling be your guide.
Expected and Unexpected Life Events
Of course, life isn't just about making decisions and exploring different opportunities. You're going to have some intense life events along the way. Some of them you'll see coming -- others you won't. Both types will change your life in different ways.
Expected life events to be aware of:
Getting married or divorced
Having children (can be unexpected...but hopefully not!)
Attending and graduating college
Continually advancing your career; getting fired/promoted
The problem with unexpected life events is that you can't really predict them. Any infinite number of events can change your life in any number of ways. A deer jumps in front of your car, a storm knocks a tree onto your house or a natural disaster hits your town. It's not all bad, however. Falling in love, traveling and exploring new interests will bring about happier unexpected life events.
Being aware of where you're at along your road of life will help you navigate it. Compare the challenges and roadblocks you're facing to the decisions listed above. You should always be aware that plans, decisions and roadblocks are just a guide -- you'll certainly be having life altering events along the journey.
But most importantly try and learn from it all. The good and the bad.