The cool breeze felt good on my face as I looked out at the lake. We were set back from the lake a bit in that little single-wide trailer, but the view was still stunning that June morning. The air was brisk, but after the previous night of drowning my anxieties, it felt good.
Everyone else was still sleeping. An early riser by nature, I got up and started a pot of strong life-giving coffee. Once I had that cup in hand, I walked out to the deck with my journal and started taking inventory of my life.
My life wasn’t bad. In fact, I had a pretty good life. I had just finished an internship in order to graduate college and had a job lined up already. I had good friends, one of which road tripped with me back from my internship. My family was supportive and encouraging. It seemed like everything was coming together.
And yet, something didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t satisfied.
Having it All and Having Nothing
While it seemed like I had it all, I felt as though I was missing something. All of these things the world said were right and where I should be felt empty to me. I didn’t know how to reconcile this with myself.
It honestly felt as though I had nothing. Whatever was missing was so huge I felt miserable. And I knew it wasn’t the after-effects of the previous night. The deck of that little trailer felt so big. And the lake felt so calm. But my world felt so small and full of turmoil.
Was this all there would be to live?
The Inventory: Desired Life vs. Current Life
My inventory consisted of everything I had achieved and confirming my current position in life. I named off a few of those things already. However, it also listed things I was missing. Things like a girlfriend. A family in the future. Doing what I loved. Being inspired every day. Having a strong and vibrant faith.
As I went through the two lists I started seeing for the first time that my achievements list was driven by the outside world. Sure, I had some dreams I had achieved, but predominantly my life was being defined by other people’s priorities for me.
I also started to see I was missing out on important priorities for me. To fulfill the priorities of the world and other people, I had sacrificed things I really wanted. Those missing elements of my life were chalked up to excuses like time, or lack of knowledge, or self-doubt.
And finally, it was time to make a decision.
The Best Decision of My Life
At that little table, on the giant deck of a little trailer, I came to a fork in the road. My head was clear due to coffee and cool air and I was seeing the world differently for the first time in a long time. My inventory gave me the clarity I needed to understand my discontentment.
I was living a life not of my own intention and priority, but of the priorities of others.
Right then and there, I decided to change. Committing to living life more intentionally, I began to envision the future. I wrote out what I wanted out of life. I prayed and meditated on the future I was writing out. Most of all, I decided and committed to seeing it through.
My Best Life Now
It has been ten years since that morning on the deck. There have been a lot of ups and downs. There have been great victories and disappointments. However, this year’s inventory of my life was so important for me. I look back at the one I did in 2008 and can tell you honestly I have nearly accomplished everything from my first inventory.
Looking back, it has been an amazing journey. In the midst of it, there was plenty of difficulties and year-to-year, month-to-month, it didn’t seem like much was happening. However, those little steps and the handwork I was putting in, began to add up.
Not only have I accomplished so much, but I have more to accomplish. My decision to chase after my priorities has to lead me to understand my purpose in life. It has created great memories. And most of all, it is pointing me to even more in the future.
Start Your Best Life Now
This is the key to living our best life: We need to live intentionally, chasing after our priorities. I believe we can have purpose, direction, and take action toward living the life we desire.
While we all want a step-by-step guide to achieving our dreams and seeing the future now, it doesn’t work that way. The future is the future. And the future doesn’t have to be our best life we hope to achieve. Our best life is chasing after the future we desire.
And it starts right now.