"It is not your passing thoughts or brilliant ideas so much as your plain everyday habits that control your life. Live simply. Don’t get caught in the machine of the world— it is too exacting. By the time you get what you are seeking, your nerves are gone, the heart is damaged, and the bones are aching. Resolve to develop your spiritual powers more earnestly from now on. Learn the art of right living. If you have joy you have everything, so learn to be glad and contented."
― Paramahansa Yogananda
My twenties continue to be a time of growth and learning this very thing: that plain, everyday habits are the makeup of life. They are the makeup of now and the foundations for later; they are what we become.
The future, and making plans for what we want it to look like, becomes much less daunting- and much more exciting- when we live from the awareness that whatever we are doing now, in the day-to-day, will bring us automatically to where we'll go. (And provided we gain wisdom and learn those big, important virtues like patience, trust, perseverance, and faith to take us there, 'where we'll go' will be favorable).
Everyday's choices, however difficult or oppositional to convenience (the good ones often are) they may be, are all that determines our life.
There's a beautiful thing about dreaming, about having big dreams and knowing what we hold in our heart, what we would like to be in this world, that emboldens us to live with a sense of purpose: like we know what we were created to do.
I haven't finished it yet, but I have a feeling that this decade of being twenty-something is one I'll look back on as a time of teaching me what it means to have the insight to discern 'can't-live-without-it' from 'good enough;' to develop the wisdom of what it means to live a big, bold, loving, creative existence as my soul knows it wants- when there are so many opportunities to listen to the voices of others, and settle for what seems good, rather than what I can feel truly, deeply is.
And maybe I mean to aim this at the artists- the creatives, the explorers, the inspired and inspirational; the curious ones; the ones who see something else; the big-picture seers and seekers, the ones who play in the creation game; the ones who sense something- I think this kind of life is worth it. I think standing in the way of beauty if you want to believe life is beautiful, is a very brave thing to do.
It's brave to let yourself be inspired by everything, everyone; it's authentic to live close to yourself in a world where people are trying to mimic just that. Maybe this is what being twenty-something is supposed to be about. Pitched to us in the form of everything from wild nights to buying houses, rebellious relationships to marriage and babies, free-spirited traveling the world to financial independence and careerism, maybe it's not so much about any of this imagery and more about what most of us never finished as teenagers: learning, then loving, then being who we are.
I imagine myself learning now what it means to stand firm and know who I am with humility more, even, than confidence- confidence results from humility. I imagine the joy that comes from seeking self-knowledge and finding the interplay between what life needs to look like and what I'd like it to look like. I imagine all that now so that slowly it becomes who I am.
It's devastatingly easy to follow the tempo of whatever arena we put ourselves- or find ourselves in- but maybe these years are for honing the skill of tuning into ourselves, figuring out the tempo with which we are designed to beat- and having the courage to redirect if where we find ourselves doesn't match.