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When your life doesn’t look the way you pictured it

As humans, we have an overarching desire or expectation—consciously or unconsciously—about how our life is supposed to be. For some this is age-related. They might think: ‘By the time I’m twenty-seven I need to be in a serious relationship and have an investment property.’ For others, it is more general: ‘My children need to be happy, healthy and doing well at school, and my work needs to be fulfilling but not too taxing on my time or energy.’ 

This is what I refer to as your ‘blueprint’. We can (unknowingly) create these blueprints from quite a young age when we imagine what our adult life is going to be like, and we don’t always realise they’re there.

When you feel down or anxious or stressed out, it can be because you perceive that how life is right now is not matching up with how you think it is supposed to be. You’re comparing your blueprint to your current conditions and feeling that something is lacking. 

So, any friction between these known or unknown preconceived ideas about how life will look by a certain age (our blueprint), and/or how it is every day (our life conditions) can be a source of stress. We have a tendency to clump all the departments of life together and feel glum or joyous about their overall vibe. Yet, if you pause to reflect on each area of your life, sure there may be a couple that aren’t so flash (temporarily or long term), but the rest might be quite okay, or even rather wonderful. 

So, if we recognise that our life conditions versus our blueprint is a major factor (or even just a contributing factor) in our stress or sadness or downtrodden lethargy or anxious feelings, what can we do about it? You can alter one or the other.

There are times when we can change our life conditions and times when we can’t. You might want to quit your job, for example, but doing so immediately would bring more stress with the ripple effect it would create… at the moment. 

Or perhaps you may decide to start your own business and just need more time for that to become more financially prosperous before quitting your day job. In time, you may be presented with another opportunity in a field you are more passionate about or maybe your financial situation changes and you’re able to focus on growing your business. So, one option is to change your life conditions.

The other, changing your blueprint, can be just as effective—although some find this harder. Here’s an example. 

Let’s say your blueprint tells you that to be ‘successful’ you need to own a four-bedroom house in a nice neighbourhood in a major city. Let’s say this house will cost you $2 million. Yet, if you change your blueprint and relish relocating to a smaller city or town, you might obtain those same criteria for $750,000. This is often prompted by pondering the question: what does being debt free offer you? Instead of living on credit card debt, working two jobs, always tired, and rarely seeing your loved ones, changing your blueprint about what life is supposed to look like could lead you to create a completely different way of life. 

In other words, by contemplating whether the blueprint your younger self imagined is actually what your adult self wants can open you up to live in ways you had not previously considered. And then the possibilities truly are endless.  So, if you feel that there is an internal struggle resulting from what your life looks like right now and how you imagined it, ask yourself: How do I want to live? Then reflect on whether you need to update your blueprint or adjust some of your current life conditions to match up with that life. 

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