What does live your life at your own pace mean? It means living on your terms. It’s a life that will make sense only to you because you are doing life in your way.
When you find joy in all the things you do, you have a joyous and fulfilled life. Sometimes, it is not easy to achieve it. With anxiety and stress taking over our lives, stealing our sanity, it’s easy to lose ourselves. Yet, we have to focus on what matters the most. Ourselves!
To learn how to live, we need to realize that life is not a race against anyone else but ourselves. This realization is the first step to achieving our life goals. First, remember we are in control of our lives, nobody else, but for us alone. Then, the attitude we take towards any situation will determine the outcome.
Good (Decisions + Attitude) = Outcome
It is that attitude that challenges the need within us and helps improve our lives. But, it is our responsibility, and ours alone, to be in charge of the decisions that will impact your life. We cannot blame those on anyone.
I’m sure you have heard to embrace failure, which’s the only way to learn in life. When you decide, aware of what you are doing, and no matter the outcome, you have given your best.
I’m going to explain what I’m trying to say with two examples in the form of analogies.
A Running Example
Running For Their Life
Have you ever been in a race, 5k, or a marathon? There you see runners that are all at different levels. These runners are there because they share the same passion for running. There’s the pro-runner that will finish the race in an extraordinary time. Then there are the ones that are serious about running but is not their primary focus; they finish in good time. Then there are the beginners that like running but are new to it. Finally, the last group summarizes what the other three are about, the passion for running. This last group includes people that have limitations. They are handicapped by their age, health issues, disability, or others.
However, it is this last group who puts their mind and souls into their passion, running. They run at their own pace. They are not trying to beat the pro runner or match-up against the beginner. They’re there to do something for themselves.
They acknowledge their limitations and work around them. They set themselves free to live a life without restrictions. This last group does not pay attention to what the other three groups are doing. They focus on their path, allowing them to achieve what might seem impossible.
We all have challenges. As these groups of runners, each of them faces problems, but they deal with them. Those problems are not used as excuses to stop them from pursuing their desire. They run for them; they run because of their love for running; in other words, they run because it is their life.
We live in different stages, and our pace is dependant on which phase of life we are in. Recognizing our desires and potential makes it easier to focus on our race, aka life. The race is not against our peers; instead, it is a race against ourselves. At the same time, when we focus our energy, we will stop worrying about the place we’re going to finish in the race because our long-run objective is to finish.
Continuing with the running example, the pro-runners, of course, they are running to win the race, but they are also running to beat their own time, even if it’s one second less. Most of them even train together and even have the same coach and sponsors. They help each other as a team. But, their goal is to better their own time.
So, it doesn’t matter what stage we are on. By stage, I mean finding our passion or working on it, or we are already living our passion. The “pro-runner” of today was yesterday’s beginner. We may encounter many problems along the way, but our determination and attitude keep us headed to the finish line.
Sprinkles of Salsa
I love salsa. Both salsas! As a Latina, I love my fresh salsa, aka pico de gallo. Isn’t it the best? But also, as a Latina, I like a good salsa dance/song. I love to dance, albeit I dance funny. How are salsa and “live your life at your own pace” related? Let’s explore it.
Fresh salsa is a mix of tomatoes, onions, green peppers; you can also add jalapeños. Salt, pepper, and lemon juice make magic. How to not forget cilantro, hmmm, it will add that je ne sais quoi. Cut an avocado in half, put some fresh salsa in the middle, and you can taste Heaven!
Why I’m talking about salsa? Because we are like fresh salsa: tomatoes, onions, green peppers. Or, in other words, mind, body, and soul. What we add to that mix may result in magic creations or not so magic ones.
You see, what we add to our life will help us reach our goals. And to be clear, a goal does not translate to only the professional aspect of our life. It is our general goal: What do we want out of life?
So, let’s continue. Think about this for a minute; do you workout? If you do, your body can measure up to resistance. Suppose you don’t, then you’ll be dying. Likewise happens with the mind. Do you practice any spirituality? Then you experience empathy and kindness better than someone who doesn’t.
The way we nourish our mind, body, and soul is a reflection of ourselves.
Now, let’s talk about the add-ons like salt, pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, avocado, pineapple, hot sauce, and the list goes on. That is our family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, everyone with whom we interact. I bet you have heard the phrase by Jim Rohn, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Well, it’s true. Depending on those add-ons, our mix will be a success.
However, this does not mean you have to leave your friends and family who do not share your views. It works both ways. Like you have a vision for yourself, they have one for them too. I bet they have something that you can add to your “add-ons” to make you a spicy-salsa! Embrace your differences with empathy and enjoy friendship.
Do you like to dance? Have you ever attempt to dance salsa? It’s not easy, but it’s tons of fun.
I compare life to learning to dance.
All you need is the willingness to do it. Happiness in life is like having fun while dancing. Only you can decide that.
You may not have to know how to dance, but dancing every day and learning from others will make you better. It is the same in life. You may not have all the tools and education to succeed in life, but what you need are your drive and your persistence.
Working on your goal every day is how you make it happen—no way around it.
The other day, I came across the following:
Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandages off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood
Dance when you’re perfectly free.Rumi
It sums up what life is or, to be more exact, how to live it. No matter the obstacles, dance. And, when you get there, dance more!
Here’s a piece of a salsa song by the late Cuban artist Celia Cruz, “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” (Life is a Carnival). The first verse says:
“Todo aquel que piense que la vida es desigual, tiene que saber que no es así, que la vida es una hermosura, hay que vivirla.”
“Anyone who thinks life is unfair needs to know that’s not the case, that life is beautiful, you must live it.”
My friends, life is what you make of it; make the best of it. Sprinkle some Salsa here and there, and dance like no one is watching.
Live Your Life at Your Own Pace
We all hope to live our life at our own pace. So, how come some do not accomplish that? No, it is not luck. It is the balance we put in our life.
Yes, we need to have focus, but not at the expense of other aspects of life.
This balance we try to achieve includes happiness and feel good all-around, physically and mentally. If we need to start somewhere, it has to be a change of mind. When we adopt a new mindset and apply it to our benefit, the possibilities are endless.
Being happy is a requisite for well-being. Happiness from within is the key to our satisfaction. Yet, it is not so simple to discover it. We have to be aware of it and accept our limitations. In other words, our imperfections. Yes, those imperfections we hate so much and make us feel ashamed.
The task is paramount but not impossible. Accepting ourselves is easier said than done. It takes time and discipline. In the end, to make that kind of change is itself gratifying, so do not be afraid to do it.
First, we need to be aware of ourselves. Of the good and the bad. The things we like and dislike about ourselves. What is it that I would like to change? You will need to study yourself. Take in mind that you do not have to be hard on yourself. You are the way you are because of the belief you learn through your upbringing.
Remember, this is not a blaming game. It is of acceptance and also of recognition. Acceptance because of what you have lived, you are at this stage of awareness. Think about how the “bad” can work to your advantage.
And recognition because you recognized that you could make changes and you can improve. Also, please do not compare yourself to anyone; it will kill your momentum. And remember, you are allowed to celebrate yourself.
Once you are aware of where you are standing, it is easy to know where you need to make changes. Improvements that will make your life better. Write it down in a list or as a journal entry. Allow yourself to express your needs; do not overthink them. For this exercise to be a “natural experience,” give yourself space. Alone in your room without interruptions or go out to a quiet place where you can concentrate.
Keep in mind that the changes you will be making are to improve your well-being, not stress you out. It is ok if you feel intimidated by them. You are about to embark on a new journey.
These changes take time. Check your list and divide them into short-term and long-term changes. We will make some changes faster than others.
Change is intimidating by nature but also rewarding once you accomplish it.
Now that you have determined the changes you want to see, it is time to take action. This how are you going to make them happen. To make changes in life takes time. It is a process, even for the smallest one.
It will help if you strengthen your mind. Reading about those aspects you need to change will help you stay on your path. How have people done it, what resources have they use, or how long had it taken them. All this information will help you “figure it out,” but you have to make it your own. After all, this is about you and your happiness.
For some, it is easier to make changes and to adapt. Don’t get discouraged if it not the same for you. You do you. One day at a time. One step at a time. Since these are life goals, I wouldn’t use a timetable. You may if you want to. But the idea here is for these actions to become so natural that you don’t think about them when you do them.
- Surround yourself with supporters: they will help you and cheer for you. Also, it will help your accountability.
- Dismiss any negativity from your life: that is the least you need. It will drain your energy.
Enjoy Your Life!
All this effort should be enjoyable. It should make you feel better. The process should not be painful or complicated; it should bring you joy. It is an ongoing, never-ending process that becomes natural to you. That is how you live your life at your own pace.
I am not a professional on this topic. But, this is roughly what I have done and what has worked for me. Being happy and having joy in your life, not the absence of problems. Through the difficulties, we chose to find happiness; see the good even in the bad.
We need to work hard to be positive, be mindful, and be grateful. Furthermore, to have empathy and stay in the present. But mostly to keep negativity at bay. There’s always space for improvement, ways to make ourselves better.
Every day is an opportunity. Finding “you,” the real you, is in the end how you will find happiness – to live your life at your own pace!