Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Fulfilling Your Dreams

Rules For Life – Knowing Where

by Ken La Salle

Look to your left. Now, look to your right. Now, consider this. Most of the problems we face in life originate from an inadequate understanding of where we are in life and knowing this, taking the time out to understand this, could change much of our lives for the better.

Welcome back to my continuing series of Rules For Life.journey in art

This month, October of 2015, I’ll be turning 50 years old. As a part of that, I made a present to myself of this article, to state whatever single rule of life I feel most deeply about as I round this bend or hairpin turn on my way through my life. Stated as simply as possible, the rule would be this: Know where you are in life.

Does this rule apply to geography? Absolutely, it applies to geography. Because you’re not going to be happy in life if you love a tempestuously attired, cool, sandy beach and find out you’re living on a hot, desert plain. Life’s going to be a whole lot less fun if you love the tropics and live in Alaska.

Know where you are in life. Admit it to yourself. And if you don’t like where you are, go where that place is.

Does this rule apply to chronology? Absolutely, it applies to chronology. Because you’re not going to be happy at 60 years of age if you’re trying to be 25. Your ego may not want to let go of youth but your body let it go quite a few years back. There’s nothing wrong with feeling young but there is a problem if you’re pretending, trying to be something that you’re not. Conversely, if you’re 20, you should enjoy being 20 and not allow others to put your focus on your retirement years if you’re not ready.

Know where you are in life. Own your age like you would own your youth. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not if it’s making life less enjoyable for you.

Does this rule apply to career? Absolutely, it does. And I have some experience here. I spent decades trying to be something I wasn’t in my marketing career but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be an artist, and once I found a way in my life to make that happen, I never looked back. If you don’t love what you do, you should find a way to do what you love. Why suffer needlessly if there’s an avenue open to happiness?

Know where you are in life and where you want to be. Doing what you want may not be easy but it may not be impossible, either. Wealth and fame may not be within reach but doing what you love certainly could be, and that’s what you should be doing.

The bottom line here is that this rule can apply to many parts of your life and you won’t even know every part it can affect until you start being honest with yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “This is who I am and this is who I want to be. This is where I find myself in life.” If that’s not where you want to be, it’s up to you to find a way to be there.

Is this easy? No. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But it is the first step you have to take. Maybe it doesn’t happen right away but no journey will ever be completed without taking that first step.

Imagine for a moment that you are on a mountaintop and that mountaintop is your whole life. From there, you can see the road that got you there climbing up one side of the mountain and the road that stretches off into the future descending down the other. This is where you chart your course. This is where you point into the distance, out to where you want to be, and say, “There. There lies my destination.”

The only way you’ll know how to get there is by knowing exactly where you are.

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

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