Sometimes no matter how hard you try, work for it, pray about it or want it; things just don’t work out.
Everyone can tell you to just get over it, to just move on… they use “just” as if that makes it any easier. But as you stand there at the end of the road, looking ahead knowing that nothing more lies ahead, that even though you want to blaze a trail forward, it will be futile, there is a temptation to look back at where you have come from and wonder if you could have done some things differently. You may even be tempted to go back and try to make some changes, to try to produce a different outcome.
What am I talking about?
This applies to relationships, situations, professional decisions. Actually, it can apply to any area of our life.
Many of us find ourselves in positions where we have reached the end of the road and that isn’t where we imagined we would be. After all, conventional wisdom tells us these days that we can do anything. That God will grant us whatever we want as long as we believe and pray. That we will achieve any success as long as we work hard enough for it. But deep down we all know that isn’t true. Some goals, no matter how much we want them, pray for them and work toward them; will never be realized.
To me one of the cool things about reaching the end of the road is not looking forward into the abyss or turning back to retrace my steps (which inevitably gets me back to this place) but looking left and looking right knowing that I have other options.
Sometimes we get so focused on pushing forward or going backwards until we fail to realize that we have other options.
So things didn’t work out with this relationship, do you stick with it knowing you are at the end of the road or do you turn back and try to do things differently with the same person? What about the options on your left and your right? (Relationship note: you can’t travel on this road and explore your options, you need to make a choice.)
So this job situation isn’t going the way that you want. Do you focus on the darkness ahead? Do you constantly look back at what could have been? Or do you start roadmapping some options to your left and to your right? (Professional note: be wise and have your next trip planned before you announce you’re getting off this road.)
You may need to stand and look ahead for a few minutes to grasp the finality of your current situation. Why not take a few seconds to look back to see how far you have journeyed to get to this place? You may even need to stand there as you decide whether to travel left or right but the important lessons are…
- Acknowledge where you are. Stop trying to pretend that your situation is something that it isn’t.
- Look back just long enough to figure out how you got where you are so that you don’t make those same mistakes again. But don’t get stuck in reverse. You cannot relive your past, however if you don’t take the time to learn the lessons from your past mistakes then the probability is high that you will make them again.
- Forget about trying to change the past and focus on changing your future. Everything that you have been through has created the person that you are and you should not want to change that. However, don’t feel like you have to be defined by that person. Every day that we are alive is a chance for a fresh start. So often we allow others to define us by where we have been instead of us defining ourselves by where we are going.
- Know that life is full of options. Sometimes we feel stuck and think that we don’t have any other options because all that we see ahead is the end of the road but that isn’t true. We fail to acknowledge those options because most of the time they require us to change, to start doing something different. Turning left or right means changing direction, not continuing down the same road we are used to traveling.
Lately, I have reached the end of the road with a lot of situations. No matter how hard I tried to salvage them, there was nothing more that I could do. That’s a hard pill to swallow because it is often masked as failure. We think that by giving up on something that we want so badly that we are failing. We are not meant to always reach the destination that we envision, sometimes we are just meant to make the journey and learn some lessons along the way.