As a child, there was a saying framed in our home that said, “Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.”
It took many years for me to completely understand what this meant, but when I did, I realized the past is definitely behind us and we have the ability every moment of every day to decide how we want the rest of our life to be.
When I started taking 100% responsibility for my life, I realized I could not blame anyone or anything for my circumstances. This was a turning point, for I truly understood that I had so much more power than I ever realized, power to be what I wanted to be, to do what I wanted to do, and the power to choose how to use each moment.
Taking responsibility for our lives means we can no longer place blame for how things have turned out, or for the things we have or have not done. It requires that we connect with the authentic part of ourselves in order to live a purposeful life. We are 10% what actually happens to us and 90% how we respond or react to what happens. In every moment we have a choice; respond or react, be kind or unkind, tell the truth or tell a lie, be loving or hateful, appreciate or take for granted. These are all conscious choices.
Part of conscious choice and authenticity is also choosing to begin doing something you have always wanted to do, to live out a dream or pursue a calling. Everyone has something they long to experience and many of them develop and live by reasons for why it hasn’t happened yet. They may be waiting until they get married or divorced, until the kids are grown, until they change jobs, until there’s more money coming in, until they have more free time or whatever it is that keeps them from living their dream. Why put off until the next moment what you could start doing right now? Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so don’t allow yourself to put off doing something that can bring you tremendous joy right now. All it takes is one small step towards the direction of your dreams to start participating in your life in a new and empowered way. Choose to take responsibility for who you are and who you want to be, and you will begin to see immediate results. For example, if you have always wanted to work with animals, start by volunteering one hour a week at a local animal shelter. The idea is to choose a direction toward being true to yourself.
If you want to lead a more peaceful life with less conflict, when the moment comes that you are faced with conflict, make a peaceful response your course of action. Life is about deliberate choices. We can’t always control what happens to us or the external circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them, and who we are as we move through them. Life is all about choice as Rush says so wonderfully in their song Freewill, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life, so start living the life you want now.