While talking with a friend recently, our high school years came up. There was a point in the conversation when he shook his head as you could see him reminiscing and said that those were the best four years of his life. What??? Did he just say that high school was the BEST four years of his life? I was stunned! Actually, more than stunned, I was saddened.
I believe the moment we feel or believe that the best is behind us… we are doomed. And I believe a key to happiness, fulfillment, and true success is believing that the best is yet to come.
I look at life like a book that tells a story. Books are broken down into chapters. Your life can be broken down into chapters. The reality is that some chapters are full of excitement and adventure… some are pretty mundane and boring, and unfortunately, some are tragic. This is how stories go. The way I see it, my goal needs to be to try to make every next chapter better than the one before it.
It is very common for a parent to put all of their attention and even identity into raising their kids. This makes sense. It is what we are there for. The problem arises when the kids are ready to leave the nest and head off to college or out on their own. Parents are often devastated, left in a state of loss or even depression. Their whole identity and existence is wrapped around taking care of those kids. They may feel abandoned, lost, and as if their lives have just lost all meaning.
Looking at life like a book, that’s just a chapter. As the last child heads off, it’s like turning over that last page of that chapter. The story isn’t over, only the chapter is. As that page flips over, there is a blank page staring them in the face. What they write next is up to them. It’s their story, and where is goes is up to them.
When you flip the page into a new chapter of your life, that next page is blank. This means what you write is up to you. You get to decide… what’s next? Doom and gloom? Misery? Resentment? The world isn’t fair? Why me? Or… excitement, growth, exploration, and adventure?
As I said earlier, the key is to believe that the next chapter will be better than the last. No matter how bad the last chapter was, this is a new chapter. You get to write it. And no matter how good the last chapter was, or how good the one that you remember as the best ever, you have to strive to keep writing better chapters.
The events of 9/11 were devastating. We were scared. Many suffered great loss. And many thought we were doomed. It was terrible. But looking back now, it was a chapter in our lives. It was a rough chapter. But we moved on. We didn’t forget that chapter. We can’t erase that chapter. It’s painful to think about that chapter. But it is part of our story. We flipped the page, ended that chapter, and started writing a new chapter.
Remember, the best stories are loaded with interesting chapters. The most interesting stories aren’t the ones without adversity and drama. And the most epic stories are where the character gets knocked down hard, but comes back again.
What you write next is up to you. Where the story goes is up to you. You are the author! Write something noteworthy. Make your story an epic one. What keeps a character getting up again and again, after being crushed over and over, is believing that the best is yet to come. If times are tough, it’s part of your story. Make the next chapter better. If you believe the best is behind you, know that the best is yet to come.