A friend of mine recently shared a quote with me that had resonated with them.
“Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”
When I first heard this quote, to be honest, I didn’t really identify with it the way she did. I thought to myself, “but life is, in fact, happening TO us?” It wasn’t until later that I realized the meaning of what they were saying.
While life is, in fact, happening “to us” every single day, life is happening FOR US. It is here, asking to be taken advantage of, enjoyed and lived to the fullest. It’s arrogant to think that life is simply going to be waiting around for us every single day as if there’s not a clock that will eventually run out.
Life has its arms wide open, and it’s our duty and responsibility to fulfill the endless opportunities it gives us to DO SOMETHING. This notion hit me right between the eyes as I realized that lately, I have been living in the complete opposite way.
It caused me to turn inwards and ask myself an important question.
Am I playing an active role in my own life? Or am I simply being a bystander, going through the motions, stringing along a bunch of Tuesdays together?
I’ve realized just how easy yet detrimental it is to simply not act and be passive in our own lives due to boredom, laziness or comfort. We begin to lose steam in our passions and aspirations when we’re constantly just going through the day to day motions with bills to pay and work to do.
While we all know that life has ups and downs, peaks and valleys, there is another period that occurs that can be just as challenging. It can happen quietly without anyone noticing and is rarely spotlighted.
It’s the time when our lives seem to reach a plateau and go in a flat line.
There is no activity, just a repetitive motion of “going through the motions.” I have recognized the signs in my own life at this very moment. There has been a lull that as much as I have tried to fight, resist or ignore persists.
I have fallen victim to a state of mind of waiting for something brilliant to happen to take me out of the current state I’m unfulfilled in. While the notion that things may not be perfect right now but they’ll get better is true, things don't get better by chance, they get better by change.
Despite having the best intentions and goals, if I am not actively pursuing them or working towards them, they just become words on a paper, recycled for next year. They will not come to fruition without action.
Being passive in our lives can happen in the most simple ways whether we’re aware of it or not. Wanting a new job, yet waiting for it to arrive and remaining stagnant in your search.
Wanting to be closer and connected to God, yet never praying. Wanting to eat healthier, yet cheating yourself and ingesting junk food because it’s cheaper and faster. Wanting to put money aside, yet spending it on fruitless purchases. Wanting to work through your issues and improve your mental health, yet constantly making excuses for why you’re too busy to follow through.
Wanting to improve your marriage, but refusing to go to couples counseling. Wanting to grow and be challenged, yet staying in your comfort zone because it's easier. Wanting to read a new book, yet choosing your phone every night instead.
You can become a bystander in your own life and not even realize it.
It’s not enough to think about something and to have good intentions behind them, action has to be the driving force. Dreams don't work unless I do. Goals require more than just the act of being written down.
There are no success stories that began with, “well I spent all my time on social media, glued to my phone and did nothing, and BAM! I achieved all my goals!!” Wrong. Every success story, no matter who it is, have the same theme in common: they worked hard, sacrificed and preserved.
Nothing happens by waiting and staying stagnant. No one is going to fight for what you want. No one is going to advocate for you. No one is going to give you the help you need unless you ask for it. No one is going to give you the life you want. No one is going to make things happen except YOU.
Even as I write these words about not being passive, I had to actually live by them in writing this article. I have to live by them every day, even in the smallest moments. Making time to go to a yoga class despite being busy or feeling tired.
Using my Headspace meditation app and finding five minutes out of the day to unwind and breathe. Prioritizing writing an article despite being busy with work or social obligations. It’s the little victories we have to celebrate and thank ourselves for because it's those little actions we take that propel us towards the bigger things.
I encourage anyone who is reading this to ask yourself: Is life happening to you or for you? Are you playing an active role in your own life or simply being a bystander?