We have all had experiences at one time or another that may have shaken us, made us feel like we took a wrong turn, or like we have “fallen off the wagon”… Trust me, we’ve ALL been there. So, want to hear some comforting news? It’s part of life, it really truly is. And sometimes, falling off the wagon, is the step or push we need to get back on…
Whatever falling off the wagon means to you- whether you went through a bad breakup, or had a falling out with one of your best friends, or if you woke up one day to realize that your job actually isn’t helping you move forward in the right direction, or if your clothes are fitting tighter because yes you actually did gain some weight…. Sound familiar? How about, really any time something did not go the way you expected it, and you found yourself a bit lost? And when you hit one of these realizations, sometimes it can feel like your world is crashing down around you. And you start to ask yourself- how did I let this happen? Or why did this happen? Alas, “Falling off the wagon.” Yeah, yeah… been there… done that 😉
Let’s be honest, there are times in life where we simply veer off course. Many times, we don’t even realize the extent to which this has happened, until a while after when we’ve had much time processing and the feelings have surfaced. And then it hits us. We fell off, we’re dirty, and covered in dust and mud. So now, how do we get cleaned up, and more so, how do we get back on? And taking it a step further, how do we make sure we’re going in the right direction?
Something I figured out in the past few years is – brace yourself – the fact that life doesn’t get any easier. In fact, it gets more complicated. But we develop the strength and experience to determine what things require more or less energy from us, and are therefore able to better prioritize. So that while life gets crazier, we can just focus on the things, people and experiences that mean the most to us. I also believe that many times when we have “fallen off” the wagon, maybe we were subconsciously putting those thoughts out into the universe, and when it happens, it may be what we wanted to happen all along, maybe even a blessing in disguise. Though an initial shock at first, maybe falling off the wagon was for the better? Maybe we needed to regroup and figure things out…
So, to address the first real question: How do we clean up? Cleaning up requires a good hard look at yourself. It is asking yourself the tough questions, such as- why do you think this happened? How can you make it better? And sometimes we can’t fully answer these, but we can try to make small changes to try to improve our present experience and future outcomes. Cleaning up means just doing it. Organizing yourself and your life. Brushing the dust off your shoulders and taking the small steps to lead you back onto the wagon. For example, if your relationship ended, clean up. Put good energy into your home and thoughts, get rid of things that trigger bad memories, take care of yourself, give yourself time to grieve, and then clean up. If you’ve made a wrong decision, clean up and make it right. If you’ve gained the weight, clean up and fill your home and thoughts will healthy and positive thinking. If you’ve suffered a loss, grieve and let yourself feel all the things, then start again… with the lessons you’ve learned, a newfound strength by your side and spirit on your back.
The second/BIG part: How do we get back on? This is where it’s ok to lean on the help of others. Good friends and family will help you get through the hard times. We are human. And we need each other. Look to inspirational people in your life to support you. Not to carry you, but to be there if you need a hand. Also realize that if something wasn’t working for you before, try something new. Whats that saying by Albert Einstein? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” So don’t make yourself crazy! If it didn’t work before, try something else to help you get back on the wagon. And if all else fails, just have faith, and take a leap.
And lastly: How do we make sure we are going in the right direction? In life, there is no way to truly know that we made the right choices, we don’t know how things will end. There can always be multiple outcomes (ever see Sliding Doors? BEST MOVIE!!). But we sure as hell know that some choices make us happier, so let’s start with those. After all, we only get this one life, and why not live it as happy as we possibly can? If we start with choices that make us happy, these can’t lead us in the wrong direction. It is also always important to both take in the present, and live, but to also look forward in the direction of the future that you want. I like to compare it to snowboarding- it sounds kind of silly, but you know if you snowboard, that the key to moving in the direction that you want to go in, is to look that way, and then your whole body automatically turns and follows… interesting right?
We all have fallen off the wagon, it is part of living life. Don’t be hard on yourself, but do what you can to take the right steps and actions to remedy the situation. The key is finding out how to clean up, get yourself back on, and move forward. Positive thoughts and good people are essential to the process. Oh, and believing in yourself is key too 🙂 The best you can do, is take what you’ve learned, and turn it into new opportunities, new possibilities, and a new look at life. There is no saying that it won’t happen again. You are bound to fall off again somewhere along the way, but at least now you will know, that you can take the steps to dust yourself off, find some good people to lean on, and summon that inner strength and get back on.