Journey towards self-efficacy

Think of every element of your life.

Ponder your family, your relationships (both friendly and sexual), your belongings, your profession, your daily routine, your motives, your negative traits, your positive traits, your longing for happiness, the car you drive, the knowledge you have cultivated. Take these things and examine them one by one, as if you were given an opportunity to start your natural life from scratch. So, what would you change?

That seems to be the predicament I am in — trying to properly evaluate my good and bad qualities and using my good ones to help drown out the bad. It seems like I have been doing this for years but have never really taken it as seriously as I do now. Maybe it is because I’m another year older and realize that time is as fragile as a china set from IKEA. Or perhaps it has to do with me getting my act together simply because I have to. No more time for funny business; the moment has arrived for me to take my life by its weathered straps and ride it into the sunset. I think every person reaches that point one way or another, at different ages and different stages. Those who continue down their treacherous paths never seem to make it out alive — or at least don’t enjoy the sense of fulfillment as many others. It’s a choice, not a calling, and each person lives life in a different manner.

I always wonder why that is. Is it the way people are born, the environment in which they grow up, or maybe it’s just because each person really is born as a unique, “special” individual. Who can really say?

It seems like I am always curious about how others got to where they are now. For example, how did Oprah become the Oprah as every living being currently knows her? How did Rick Reilly go from Colorado to being paid over a million bucks to write witty prose? I almost think I’m too enamored with how I attempt to break down the lives of others, to a point where I seem to downplay my own life and let it fade into the background. Saying that out loud makes me realize how ridiculous that really does sound, and it is something I have to change in some regards.

But people have always interested me in different aspects and helped shape the way I behave and live from day to day. I take things from different people and try to incorporate certain qualities into my routine, like certain writing styles and mixing them up and using them to help me become a better journalist. It’s the little things that kill, and it’s the little things which keep people around to play the next note. It’s important to learn from other people’s strengths and weaknesses, mistakes and transgressions, as such characteristics help make others better people — or at least they should, in theory.

You know the people who say they love learning new things? It’s respectable but it should also be expected. People must always be doing their best to connect with others and explore every rich detail in life, from investigating what certain music lyrics really identify or to create their own version of the “American Dream.” It’s riveting to hear about how a mid-life crisis comes to fruition; not because that is in itself a thing to enjoy, but because you would think most people would have their act together with that many years of experience. Life is too unpredictable for people of all ages to relax and expect the same thing twice. You won’t win the Mega Millions twice. And you know that GREAT night you had a couple weekends ago? It will never go down the same way again, no matter how hard you try to recreate that moment that stood out in your mind.

The musical group Our Lady Peace released an album years ago called “Happiness … is not a fish that you can catch.” It is a simple yet bold phrase, and if you reread it several times or say it out loud it sounds like something Plato should have written centuries ago. Being happy and experiencing moments of happiness are two different things, and I still have a hard time believing that certain people are happy all the time. Some people are just wonderful actors, and some may just be blinded by their own ambition. I like to live my life as if it’s a seesaw: not too high, not too low — just level it out. I think many human beings share that philosophy; it keeps them grounded and doesn’t raise expectations to monstrous proportions.

I may currently be on the downward end of a seesaw, but hey, I’ll be the one soaring into the sky sooner or later. The hard part will be staying on the elevated side longer than I anticipate. I guess that’s just part of the journey.

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