There comes a day when turning the page is the best feeling in the world because you realize there’s so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.
Do you remember the days in the 70s when you would have an album playing? The track is building to your favorite part and you are waiting with delight to do your ultimate air guitar solo and the needle would get stuck? It was an excruciating part of being an audiophile. Right when it gets to the good part, the needle sticks and the last eight bars of music repeat and repeat and repeat until you get up and move the needle by hand.
As time went on, we started making audio cassettes of our favorite albums. But as soon as we incurred a stuck needle, we would be waiting during the taping and we would gently move the needle and then your audio cassette would keep that glitch in it so you eventually learn the song with the glitch permanently emblazoned in your mind.
For me, the song that I remember the most for having a stuck needle is Powderfinger by Neil Young. Right when he gets to the lyrics where he says, “numbers add up to nothin,” it would repeat numbers add up to nothin until I would get up and fix the needle. Eventually I just bought another album because I got tired of it, but I remember how funny it was that that that was the lyric that was repeating.
There are segments of your life that mirror this metaphor. Moments that cycle endlessly until you find the motivation to get up and change it.
In my opinion, the difference between life and this metaphor is that a stuck needle on the turntable is more readily annoying and more obviously solvable, so we are more prone to fix that before we fix a chapter of our life that has been untenable.
Solving a chapter of your life that has become impossible starts with an internal resolution that you are just no longer willing to accept living under those circumstances. That internal resolution is the galvanizing force that catapults us into the next chapter. The means by which we are able to embrace this resolution and act upon it are the fine details that must be worked out. Even if they seem nearly impossible, perhaps they are less impossible than continuing status quo.
The recognition of the difference between your willingness to continue what is untenable, versus tackling the core issue that will enable you to turn the page is the catalytic spark that facilitates everything. When you see your exit as the lesser of the two evils, suddenly you find strength in places heretofore imagined.
After you have seized the day and made such a move in your life, the natural first reaction is almost inevitably fear. You have taken a pattern in your life that has become familiar, regardless of how painful, irritating, dysfunctional or devastating it might be, and you have put it in your rearview mirror. In that moment you are accelerating away from those patterns, conditions, circumstances, or relationships that have chained you down and prevented your ability to blossom.
As your prior circumstances get ever smaller in the rearview mirror, the fear dissipates and your courage grows with each enthusiastic reinforcement of you having made the right decision at the right time in your life.
This is when we make a change in our life that is exponential. You cannot be constrained in a life that does not bring you what you are seeking. That creates misery. Far greater to discover the courage and find the new pathway to modify all of your future prospects to your greatest personal advantage.
There are always growing pains when we break out of a cocoon and stretch our wings. There are scary moments that make you want to run back in to an old security. There are assurances from others that will give us hope for something better and between the growing pains and the assurances, I think we all ultimately discover the path to a new horizon. Emerson said, “the health of the eye seems to demand a horizon, we are never tired so long as we can see far enough.“
Self-determination is an incredibly potent force in life. It galvanizes human beings to accomplish the unthinkable. It drives each of us in paths that we might never have imagined. I saw a post on Facebook that said “you run into yourself at 18 years old and you have three words of advice, what are they?”
I saw so many responses that were negative, foreboding, and admonishing. I thought that was a very curious collection of statements. My response: “gonna be amazing!”
I think part of the reason I see the world through that filter is because I am an overt optimist. I see the world as a massive opportunity and in that vision, I have lived my life believing that nothing was impossible.
All of that optimism and boyish enthusiasm has delivered me into numerous circumstances where my needle has gotten stuck on the record. I have become better at getting up quicker and moving the needle because, “numbers add up to nothing.“ And I don’t wanna keep hearing that. I want to always control my destiny and take assertive responsible behavior to ensure that I come through for everybody to whom I have given my word. Starting with myself.