The Courage to Choose

by Paul Sherman

This morning in my daily “reach in” (a practice in the What Matters?! Framework), I came across the following quotation from author, John Irving: “If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” Having been fortunate enough in the past year to find a way of life that I truly love, I felt compelled to share Irving's wisdom in hopes of encouraging people who may not be loving their lives to open themselves up to all possible lifestyle choices.  

If your life isn't working for you, you owe it to yourself to explore alternative ways of living. Only by taking action to try something new will you create the conditions to even have the possibility of being “lucky enough to find a way of life you love.” Be forewarned, the way of life that you discover may not be how you or others thought your personal narrative would play out (you, your family, your friends, and society bombard you with subtle and not so subtle messages about what your life should look like). That's where you need to summon the courage to overcome your own insecurities about what others think and choose to live a life that works for you.

My mother, Norma, had a wonderful saying: “You don't owe anyone any explanations.” It took me well into my 40's to internalize that message (better late than never!) That mantra has worked for me as I continue to create the next chapter of my life living in a small seaside community at the edge of the world. I invite you to find the life that works for you and choose it. “You don't owe anyone any explanations.” That goes for your own inner critic as well!    

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