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What to Do When Life Hasn’t Panned Out

“Enjoy it kid, your 4 years in high school are the best years of your life.”

I mean I liked high school, maybe even more than your average pimply, hormonally-chaotic, kissing-beautiful-girls-in-the-Caribou-parkinglot teenager. That was probably because my suburban, white-boy swagger (back then it was just called awesomeness) was off the charts as I rolled through the parking lot in my rusted out 1997 Plymouth Breeze that we lovingly referred to as “The Batmobile.” . Can you say B-A-L-L-E-R?


Swagger Exhibit A

Yeah okay, so maybe I wasn’t “cool” or “popular”, but I had the best friends in the world, I sang in a life-changing choir and I got good-enough grades to get some pretty decent scholarships. WIN.

Despite these great moments, I can distinctly remember thinking, “seriously? THESE are supposed to be the best years of my life?”

Fast forward to college, which I also loved. Those three and a half years were a time when my finger tips quivered with the excitement of having my entire future in front of me. Still, more random old fogies dished out similar advice, “Don’t take this for granted. Soon you’ll want these years back.”

Our culture runs screaming from the very thought of growing older.

We take fat from our butts and put it in our cheeks so we can live in some twisted Peter Pan fantasy world where we are always young, wild, and free.

My guess is if you miss the good ol’ days, maybe life just hasn’t panned out like you expected. Maybe 17 year old you was filled with hope and optimism but the painful years of struggle have stripped you of that once blinding light. I’ve been there. Here’s what I’ve learned:

What To Do When Life Isn't Panning Out

1. Stop Pining for Yesteryear

Yes bro, it was awesome. Take your old buddies out for a beer once in awhile and reminisce. Then wake up the next day and freakin’ move on. Retire the beer pong jersey and focus on living your life in the here and now.

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be” -Marcel Pagnol

2. Stop Putting Off Your “Some day I Will’s”

What haven’t you crossed off the bucket list? Intentionally choose to go after something crazy and make today your next amazing memory. Run a marathon, go to Africa, go skydiving…

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

3. Slow the Lasagna Down and Learn to Say No!

Wake up early. Sit outside in the peace and quiet with a cup of tea and breathe. Stop rushing around like a lunatic and make time to live your life. Invest in the beautiful people God has put around you and leave space in your schedule for them by saying no to things that don’t really matter.

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”— Morrie Schwartz

4. Take time to thank God for the good that can be found in every day

No, not every day is perfect. Not everyday is like that high school homecoming dance or those college afternoons tubing down the river. Yet every day has something good if you just take a moment to notice and be thankful.

“So then, just as you receive Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and OVERFLOWING with thankfulness.” – Col 2:7

Today I am working on overflowing with being thankful for the precious time I have been given. If you’re struggling, I challenge you to dream up something that most people won’t believe you can do and GO FOR IT.

LIVE like your life depends on it.

And when someone tries to tell you that these are the best years of your life,  smile and say, “thank you,” because with a little work, no matter what age you are, they can be. It’s all in what you choose to do and how you choose to see the world, and the choice is yours my friend.

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Don’t let the beauty of this life, pass you by.



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Found in the Music Playlist, “Recklessly Alive.”

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