Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

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Fulfilling Your Dreams

Rules For Life – Life is a One-Way Trip

by Ken La Salle

Welcome back to my continuing series of Rules For Life.The-Worth-of-Dreams-The-Value-of-Dreamers

Recently, I’ve been working on a new book about growing up in the 1970s. It’s been a lot of fun remembering the good and the bad, as well as the ugly, and placing it all inside the narrative confines of a story. I realize that I’m missing a lot. I can’t remember everything. And I can’t help engaging in a game of “what if” every now and then as I write about my own, personal history.

I know this can be a temptation sometimes, to ponder how our lives would turn out differently if we had only done this or that just a bit differently. And, as fun as it may be, I think there’s an important rule to keep in mind so we don’t get carried away.

Life moves in just one direction: forward. There’s no going back. There’s no going anywhere but that one direction life is always taking us: forward.

And, you know, this is not a bad thing.

When you look back on your life and consider what you might have done differently, chances are you might have acted differently because you didn’t take an opportunity that was presented to you. When you look backwards, what you’re really doing is saying, “I wish I had done this or that.”

And we can learn from these lessons in our lives by taking those opportunities that might be before us right now. This is especially applicable as 2014 ends and we consider the coming year. What opportunities do we have right now that we might regret not taking later on in life?

In my own life, this often takes the form of waiting for permission. I’ve spent far too much time waiting for someone to grant me permission in life – permission to follow my dreams, permission to express my passion, permission just to be me. And this is absurd when I think about it. Why have I waited for someone else to tell me what I should do with my own life? What authority do they have? Why should anyone else have any say over my life, anyway? Isn’t it mine and mine alone?

This has led me to make a few decisions some of friends consider strange. For instance, I’ve decided to attempt a long-distance through-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017. Backpacking is something I’ve longed to do for years but I haven’t because I was waiting for someone to ask me to go with them. I was afraid to go alone and only recently realized that my fear wasn’t getting me any closer to fulfillment. My fear was holding me back and I needed to face it. And that is exactly what I am going to do.

So much of life is like this.

I recently reconnected with a girl I had a mad crush on in high school, only to find out that she felt the same way about me! But we were both so afraid of what the other might think that we didn’t speak up when we should have – and what a shame that is.

How many of us are waiting for someone else to make the first move?

How many of us are allowing fear to hold us back?

How many of us go through life oblivious to the knowledge that life isn’t going to give us a second chance. Life never goes in reverse. It is a one-way trip, and you only get one ticket. If you don’t take chances and make your move now, when are you going to do it? How many chances to you think you’ll get before the journey is over?

This is only a bad thing if we fail to recognize our opportunities when they present themselves. If we miss our opportunities, and ignore this important rule, we’ll end up with nothing but regret and anger and sadness over everything we missed out on along the way.

(Closing Note: The night I wrote this my wife accidentally deleted the contents of our DVR. The first thing I did was let her know I love her. After all, life is a one-way trip.)

About the Author

Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com. Ken La Salle is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency , LLC.

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
Inclusion in Recovering The Self is neither an endorsement nor a confirmation of claims presented within. Sole responsibility lies with individual contributors, not the editor, staff, or management of Recovering The Self Journal.