How I Roll

Considering how I have no real game plan, never really knew exactly what I wanted to do, and have never worked tirelessly toward a singular big goal, I’m amazed at how content I am.  But the more I think about it, this may be exactly why I am so content.

When you know exactly what you want in life, there are two outcomes.  You either succeed, which may lead to incredible happiness, or disappointment that the outcome wasn’t as thrilling as you thought.  The other outcome is failure, which is pretty sure to result in disappointment and sadness.  Lots of chances for unhappiness here.

In my breezy bouncy world, I just  go with the flow.  I have ideas about what I might be happy doing, but I don’t have any expectations.  I kind of just go for the ride that life is taking me.  I often expect the worst but hope for the best, so I’m never unprepared for a spot of bad luck.  And I’m often pleasantly surprised by the unexpected joys!

No doubt, if you live life this way, you will probably never be like Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey.  They’re just too focused on what they want and go after it.  I admire people like this but I am on the opposite end of the spectrum.  I focus on what I DON’T want to happen, and then I do my best to avoid those outcomes.  I’m really pretty ambivalent about what I actually do want.

Spouse?  Wasn’t looking; had no game plan.  I never even knew if I wanted to get married.  Or not.  I just ended up caving in to a very persistent guy who really seemed to like me.  And I lucked out.  I got a good one.

Kids?  The best thing that ever happened to me.  Planned?  Not really.  I knew I didn’t want to have a child before I could properly care for one.  I took measures to make sure that didn’t happen.  But once we bought our first home, I guess we kind of relaxed.  Did we think we were ready?  No!  But I guess we were.

Lifestyle?  I have everything I need and most of what I want.  The only thing I really wanted was a home of my own.  Growing up in a crappy apartment, watching my parents pay for that place many times over yet never owning it did make me want a home of my own.  But I didn’t have any solid idea of what kind of home I wanted.  We only decided on the school district we wanted.  Our limited finances at the time and a motivated realtor determined the home that would be our first.  It was a perfect little brick ranch in a wonderful family neighborhood.  Much better probably than what I would have gone after if I ‘d had a preference of my own.

While it’s okay to let life carry you along, it’s important not to be careless.  You might not be looking for a spouse, but don’t surround yourself with losers.  You might not know what you want to spend your money on, but make sure you don’t spend every penny now and live beyond your means.  I had no idea what kind of career I wanted, but I knew I wanted to be able to support myself without having to go to graduate school, so I chose accounting without knowing anything about it.

If you like to be in control, if you know exactly what you want in life and have no desire to compromise on your dreams, this is not the way to live your life.  But for me, it works.  I like to see how my life unfolds.  I usually like the twists and turns in the road, and I usually don’t mind handling the challenges that I’m faced with.  And if something doesn’t work out, it’s not like it’s my fault.  I’m just hitching a ride.

15 Responses to “How I Roll”

  1. 1 lynette November 22, 2009 at 8:42 am

    wow, les, this is some post! i LOVE how you roll! what a wonderful loving description of your contented life!!

    although it may not seem like it at the current time, i think in a similar way a lot of the time. i have had some major goals that i DID accomplish — my degree and having kids — and many that i did not — moving back to europe, living in a city, marrying someone who cherishes me.

    but i have always been happy to go with the flow with what my kids needed and when they needed it — still do.

    i have no big life goals either, other than to crawl my way out into a lifestyle that is right for me. i am not sure what that is.

    i would also really like to have sex — that is a big goal since it has now been over ten years.

    i would like to cure my daughter’s medical problems.

    where is run into trouble is when bad outcomes that i want to avoid are unavoidable — acceptance of the bad things that happen is really hard….

  2. 2 Consuella Banana Hammock November 22, 2009 at 9:11 am

    hitching a ride. i love it. you remind me a lot of my husband. he is very laid back, takes things as they come etc. it is a good balance for me though i sometimes forget that! he is so content with the simple things. as long as his family is around, as long as he has good friends, as long as he has a job that keeps food on the table for his family, he is happy. me. well. i am the person that has a 10 year dream list. there is so much i am always reaching for and often stressing about. my take on life has its positives and negatives as well. the good thing about hanging with people like you is that i am reminded that there truly are only a few things in life that really matter. if i get to do more, great, but it would only be like the cherry on the sundae. this world needs people that “roll” the way you do!

    • 3 les@mamaneeds2rant November 22, 2009 at 10:28 am

      Thanks, Consuella and Lynette. I forgot to mention that my needs are very simple, maybe because I never had a whole lot growing up. If I were the type of person that had to have a manicure every week or have a better luxury car than my neighbors, I would be very miserable right now, or I’d be working my butt off to achieve those “goals.”

      Lynette, I’ve been very lucky also not to have a major problem like your child’s medical condition. That is just something that would be very hard to accept and my contentment level would not be anywhere near where it is right now.

      Consuella, hang on to that hubby. It sounds like you two make a great team!

  3. 4 Cyndi November 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

    This is fascinating Les. I’m glad it works for you.

    I lived the first 37 years of life this way and discovered it does not work for me. Making no choice is a choice in itself and I wasn’t happy with some of the ways in which life had “just happened” due to my inability or unwillingness to make conscious choices.

    There is a difference between going with the flow when faced with things that are completely out of our control and just letting all of life just happen to us.

    I’m no Donald or Oprah, never want to be. I also am learning not to fight that which I can’t control. But I’m tired of just letting my life happen to me. I’m learning to be an active participant.

    “I focus on what I DON’T want to happen, and then I do my best to avoid those outcomes.” – this sentence sums up how I used to live perfectly. It didn’t lead to happiness for me on any level, just more fear and pain.

    “And if something doesn’t work out, it’s not like it’s my fault. I’m just hitching a ride.” – and this sentence sums up how and why I thought living this way was a good idea, never wanting to be blamed for any “wrong” decisions.

    We are all different. There is no right or wrong way. I’m happy that this way makes you happy. That’s why I think this post is so fascinating to me…it perfectly demonstrates to me how two people who have similar views on many things, have lived their lives similarly but with completely different results.

    • 5 les@mamaneeds2rant November 22, 2009 at 11:01 am

      Hmm, Cyndi. I’m wondering why our approaches are so different. Certainly, if something bad came into my life and I could control it, I would. If someone is mean or abusive toward me, I have as little to do with that person as possible. I guess I react more than I plan or control. It’s not like I’m an empty vessel with no wants, desires, or standards. It’s just that there really is nothing that I need to have.

      Since I don’t really know what I want, I just kind of plan for everything and let fate take its course. Maybe I just don’t care about a lot of things. My main goal in life is to be safe and secure. I do work toward that by saving money and not doing anything very dangerous. A risk-taker would be bored to death with my life. I DID kind of want other things, like being on Jeopardy! I didn’t chase them around the country auditioning like some of the people I met. I jumped on the opportunity when it arose, and it kind of fell into my lap. I just kind of go with my gut feeling, and let this lead me along. And if it leads me a certain way but it doesn’t work out, I don’t force the issue. I just assume that this is not the time for it to happen.

      Maybe I’m just lazy? Maybe. But it IS working. 🙂

  4. 6 Cyndi November 22, 2009 at 11:06 am

    From what I know of you, you are definitely NOT lazy!

  5. 8 Tammy November 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Oh how I wish I could “roll” like you just a little bit!

    I am the person that had my life mapped out since I was 12. I do not adjust well when my plans are derailed. I consider that failure when truly it is just another experience or opporunity.

    If I could allow myself to be a little more easy going I think I would achieve more of what I desire. Unfortunately, I get caught up in what went “wrong” rather than exploring what opporutnities the new route could afford me.

    I judge myself and my success way to hard. I am also very hard on those that don’t have every moment of their life planned out – yet I am very drawn to these people because I am envious deep down of those that can fly by the seat of their pants (safely of course).

    Intellectually I know I should ease up on myself but the Scorpio in me can be a bit demanding.

    Great post!

    • 9 les@mamaneeds2rant November 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm

      It’s funny to think of myself as easy-going, Tammy, when actually I used to be the most stressed-out person on the planet. They thought I had ulcers at the ripe old age of 5. Perhaps that’s why I ended up doing things the way I do. It probably stresses me out to make an actual decision. But I do trust my instincts and the abilities I have to be able to fix or handle whatever life sends my way.

      Funny thing I just remembered: When I was little, I used to take a penny when I wanted to go for a walk and explore through the neighborhood. Heads I would go left, tails I’d go right. It made the walk an adventure…and I guess I didn’t even want to make any decisions then!

  6. 10 lynette November 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    i don’t know that you are not making decisions — you are just not making them till they happen to come along.

    i think there is a big difference between what seems to me to be your sense of contentment and your openness to what life brings to your doorstep, and what some might see as a lack of taking charge.

    i say good for you for knowing how you roll, and for the overall happiness in your life — in the end, that is what we are all searching for, isn’t it? i think you are just finding it without feeling like you have to look for it…

  7. 12 robinaltman November 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    That was a lovely post. Your feeling of contentment oozed out of the computer and into my teacup.

    I’m a weird mixture of goal driven and happy-go-lucky. I love having goals to work towards, but if I don’t reach them I just sort of forget about it. Take my “funny child psychiatry book”, for instance. I had a great time writing it, and I still crack myself up with it. Yet, it certainly didn’t make the New York Times bestseller list! Maybe I should be wildly disappointed, but life seems too short for that.

  8. 14 Dawn November 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Curious and content, I am drawn to what I am drawn to without the need to make heads or tails out of it … I follow my own lead, like you. Maybe you feel a cat sometimes too Les?!

    I take life how it comes, and if I find myself in situations I cannot tolerate, I just change my mind and rethink my options as I go. I’ve learned many things by being open to what life brings and have simple desires at the same time. I have not rolled the dice with as much luck in the marriage department though … I confess. But hey, how about that old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

    I think respecting and being at peace with myself is everything.

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