Disarray. Lacking order. Not really sure if everything fits together. Working day in and day out, towards what you want. At least what you want right now. But that will probably change. A lot. It changes for me, it changes for you, and it changes for everyone else. Constantly.
Maybe you feel differently. You feel like you’ve got your shit together. You know what you want and you’re working towards it. You take action every single day to bring whatever it is you want closer within your reach. You’ve set a plan, you’ve focused all your actions up until this point in your life towards executing that plan. But things change. And you have no idea when, how, why, or to what degree. Maybe your life will play out exactly the way you envisioned. But chances are great that it will not. And that’s OK.
I moved to New York at the age of 25. My plan was to take a job in investment banking, get some solid finance experience, move back to Philadelphia after 2-3 years, and begin my adult life where I spent my first 25 years. Get married, have kids, and grow old in the suburbs. And now – I’m approaching my twelfth anniversary in Manhattan. Single, no kids.
After a while, I didn’t want the finance career either. I wanted something completely different. I wanted to start my own business. I wanted to use what I considered to be my biggest strengths to help others achieve their health & wellness goals, so I started a fitness studio with a friend. Again, not what I would tell my 25-year old self I’d be doing at 37. Not even close. And that’s OK.
I’m beginning to view life as a giant jigsaw puzzle, but with one catch: You have no idea what the picture on the front of the box looks like. You’re given 1,000 pieces and your job is to figure it out. All you know is that you are given all the pieces. If you are one of the lucky ones, you are given the main pieces you need – your health, your mind, a solid family base, and a great group of friends. The rest is all up to you to figure out.
We begin to put the pieces together. We have to. It’s our only option. If we do nothing, nothing happens. But if we continue attempting to put the pieces together, things slowly start to come into focus. We start to find the corner pieces, the borders, and we’re able to piece together giant chunks of it, but have no idea how they will fit in with everything else. Or if they’ll even fit at all. We don’t know what the end result will be, but we have to keep trying.
Some of us will complete our puzzle and find our purpose sooner. Some of us will take a little longer. But all of us will complete ours. It doesn’t matter when. Maybe you got married at 22 and will reach your 60th wedding anniversary. Maybe you will spend the next 50 years of your life starting business after business, not finding your mark until the tenth try.
I just read a book called Stay Interesting by Jonathan Goldsmith. That name may not mean anything to you, but if you saw his picture, you’d instantly recognize him as The Most Interesting Man in the World from the viral Dos Equis campaign. You know when he caught that big break, after years of minimal Hollywood success? 68 years old.
Just keep going. We have to keep trying new things. Meeting new people. Pursuing new interests. Continuing to plug away. Even when we may not want to. Even when we don’t know what the result will be. It’s the only way to complete our puzzles.