At this moment, I have a very important – perhaps life-changing – decision to make. It is one I have been avoiding for years, mostly because I am afraid of failing. But, what I have come to realize about life and all it’s challenges is that you can keep avoiding whatever is gnawing at you, but eventually, you will have to face it.
The crossroads I am at in my life is of a professional nature, but maybe you are facing a more personal Major Decision that you have to make, such as ending an old relationship, beginning a new one, or changing the terms of one you have now. Whether it is with a family member, a romantic relationship, or one with your children, it is never easy to change things, but sometimes (OK, almost all the time) if it keeps resurfacing and demanding your attention, it is absolutely necessary to take action.
This morning, I decided to take my dogs for a run. I used to run three or four times a week, but my busy life took over, and I haven’t been running in several months. Today, as my five-year-old white lab, Maya, ran in front of me and my 10-year-old Belgian Shepherd, Friedrich, lagged behind, I thought about this important decision I have to make in my life. Maya, was my future – she was running ahead of me with enthusiasm and energy, her white fur bright in the morning sunlight. Friedrich, my old dog who really doesn’t have the energy to run anymore, was behind me as far as his leash would allow.
Maya ran full force without fear, down the street, leading the way. My arm was outstretched in front of me as she pulled at her leash, making me run faster. Friedrich was clearly struggling. His tongue was hanging out as he trotted along, panting and resisting my constant tugs at his leash. So there I was, jogging down the road in my neighborhood with an energetic white dog out in front of me, and an old, tired brownish-red dog pulling my arm behind me.
I couldn’t help but think: This is my life right now. Maya is the bright future I can have if I just commit to making this important decision and Friedrich is my tired, old past that is resisting the change and pulling me backward; preventing me from fully moving forward to catch up with Maya.
It’s hard to let go of the past or anything that you are comfortable doing – including relationships. Even when things aren’t working as well as you had hoped, isn’t it much easier to hang on to what you know instead of plunging into unknown territory?
As we continued to run through the neighborhood, Friedrich had a final burst of energy. Perhaps it was because we were in the home stretch and he knew we would be back at the house in a few minutes where he could lie down on the cold, tile floor to catch his breath. Or, maybe he just decided that running wasn’t so bad after all – something he had missed doing. Just as we headed down the street toward our house, Friedrich caught up to me. My arm was no longer stretched out behind me. Instead, he looked up at me, tongue still hanging out, and jogged along beside me allowing me to catch up with Maya. Suddenly, instead of being pulled in two directions by one eager, energetic dog and one tired, old dog, I was running at a steady pace, both dogs beside me. I had caught up to my elusive future instead of letting my past pull me backwards.
This holiday season, on the verge of a whole new year – a great opportunity for a fresh start – ask yourself what important decisions you have been avoiding in your life. Then ask yourself this question: Will you let the habits/comforts/relationships/ease/difficulties of the soon-to-be old year hold you back? Or, will you enter into new decisions/relationships/career choices/challenges with eagerness and enthusiasm?
Are you a Friedrich or a Maya?
Only you know the answer to that. Listen to your heart. And remember, even if you avoid that important decision now, it will find its way to the surface until you face it head on.
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