This Week in Intentional Living

Where are you?I mean that question in, well, lots of ways.  Where you are – right now – geographically, personally, professionally, any way you think about it, matters.

Where are you reading this?  At home on the sofa?  At your desk, during office hours?   That makes a difference. Maybe not a big one, but it’s an indication, for instance, of how sharp your focus is at your job if you’re reading my blog on the clock.

Not that I want you to stop reading the blog, no matter where you are.

I’m writing at home, in the evening, with the Sprightly Daughters safely and gently snoring and my Lovely Wife next to me working on her computer.  Does that say anything about me?  Yes.  For starters it tells me I’m one of those few people in the world with the leisure time to work on a writing hobby.  And that I’m fortunate beyond words in plenty of other ways.

Where would a GPS say you are right now?  I’m here in Gainesville, Florida, where I’ve been for forty-four years, give or take.  That says a lot about me.  It says maybe I’m not a big risk-taker, but it also says I probably know quite a lot about this place.  And while there’s more – much more – to learn, I think my depth of experience here is helpful to who I am and what I do.

I always have a hard time understanding people who don’t get a good look around where they are when they get somewhere. People who move somewhere and don’t get out of their neighborhood the whole time they live there.  I can’t do that.  If I travel for business, I spend any and all free time wandering around, just find out where I am.

Where is your career?  Are you where you thought you’d be ten years ago?  Better?  Worse?  Completely different?  Know that if you’re exactly where you expected to be a decade – or even a year – ago you’re in a very small minority.  The rest of us have experienced a turn or two on the path to where we are.

Maybe if you’re not where you want to be professionally it’s easier to ignore it.  To let yourself keep flowing down the river of work and just see where you end up.  But that’s a really bad idea.

You do know the chances of you moving to a better (more suitable, happier, better paid, etc.) job are pretty small if you don’t, you know, do something about it, right?   That said, it’s amazing how many of us (myself included through much of the 1990’s) don’t bother to take that first step of asking, “Where am I?”

What about your health?  I’m guessing that since you read this blog you’re at least a little concerned about the state of your health.  Understanding where I am from a health perspective is the reason I started writing this blog.  I realized early in 2011 that where I was, health-wise, was in the cardiologist’s – if not the undertaker’s –  waiting room (virtually speaking).  And I didn’t like where I was.

I still don’t like where I am in that regard, but I like where I’m headed.

Speaking of health, if you don’t honestly understand where you are right now, you’re not going to get to a better place by accident any more than you’re going to get the career you want by chance.

It’s easy for me to ask these questions.  I’ve thought about where I am, and as I’ve said many times, I’m blessed/lucky/fortunate/whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  Yes, there are areas of my life I want to improve, but they’re all, let’s say, improveable.  And I’m working on those improvements.

Not everyone is in my position.  Some of you are working with far greater obstacles than any that have come my way.  If that’s the case for you, you have my greatest empathy.

But let me ask you this:  Will it get better on its own?  Or will you have to create a road map to a better place?  A better job, a better relationship, a better body, a better mind?  I’m pretty sure that no matter how bad things are, they won’t get better until you figure out where the path out – and up – starts.

Remember road maps?  Those big paper things with all the lines you used to find the places you were going back before the GPS?  Were they ever any good if you didn’t know where you were starting from?  For that matter, what’s the first thing Google Maps wants to know?  Where you are.  It’s impossible to get directions without that data point.

And let me note this also.  I’m a person of faith, but as a pastor friend of mine says, “God don’t dig no ditches.”

Which is to say that you can have all the faith there is, and it can be well-founded.  God/the divine presence/the universe/whatever-you-want-to-call-it may have given you the perfect path, but you have to walk that path.  Youhave to dig the ditch, and then the water will flow just fine.Here’s the big secret … the road to what’s waiting starts where you are.  So you’d better figure out where that is.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ed McCormick on January 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Well said Harv! Great point(s)..My butt is not moving but my head is thinking..part of those first steps is realizing what needs to be done and for the right reasons! again, great post.


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