Today’s my birthday. It’s not a milestone birthday like sweet 16, 21, or the hill surpassing 50. It’s just a regular, somewhere-in-the-middle birthday. In fact, it seems fairly insignificant as far as birthday’s go, but to tell the truth, I’m a little sad to see the additional candle on the cake.
I’m not worried about getting older. I’m old enough to know that aging is a natural part of life, and much preferred to the alternative, as the Curious Case of Benjamin Button so strongly convinced me. I just thought I would be a little further along when I got here. I thought I’d be a little more grown-up for this “somewhere-in-the-middle” grown-up age.
Have you ever gotten somewhere only to find your destination did not meet your expectations? Maybe the endless opportunities you expected to greet you after college aren’t quite so infinite. Maybe you thought you’d have a different job, a different title, or an entirely different career. Maybe this year, instead of retiring off your 401(k), you’re faced with rebuilding it. Maybe you’ve discovered that being your own boss is more overwhelming than freeing.
Life is rarely everything we expect it to be. It’s unpredictable and changing. It has turns, twists, and forks in the most unexpected places. While we can’t foresee the outcome of our future, or even the outcome of tomorrow, we can take steps and choose paths that shape and change our lives.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” So, if today you’ve found yourself somewhere unexpected, or a little off course, take it in stride, and start changing your life one day at a time. Don’t wait for the beginning of a new year, or a milestone birthday, start today.
Start small. If you’re looking for a job, send out one more résumé today than you did yesterday, write one more thank-you note to a potential employer, or call one more contact for a possible job opportunity. If you’re rebuilding your savings or 401(k), begin by forgoing your daily Starbucks stop or canceling your cable. If you’re an overwhelmed entrepreneur, use temporary staffing to help lighten your workload, simplify a process, or take a well-deserved day to just clear your head.
Today’s a new day. Every passing moment your present meets your future. So, make each day count, and it will make all the difference. You may not be able to predict your future, but you can certainly shape it.