take the lead.

I love the movie The Holiday. Probably because it has both Jude Law and Kate Winslet in it, but mostly because it has a cute storyline. And I stand by calling it cute. It isn’t breathtaking or sexy or the best story ever told. Watching the respective couples fall a little bit in love is cute and romantic. There is a moment when Iris (Kate Winslet’s character) realizes that she hasn’t really been making the most of her life, and she’s let other people call the shots. Everything she’s done has been dependent on someone else. Finally, she realizes:

You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God’s sake!

I love this. Not only because the image this evokes is wonderful, but because its true. We are the leading women or men in our own lives. We are the starring role, the main character. I’m the heroine of my story. I don’t need to fade into the background or wait for other people to tell me what to do and where to go. Sometimes I can behave impulsively and do something random just because I want to. I shouldn’t wait for other people to make something special out of my life, because they won’t. Its my life to live and my life to make memorable.

And your life is your own. You have the chance to do something fantastic with it. But not if you wait for life to happen to you. You should happen to life. You should make your mark. So here are a few ways to step out of the comfortable, complacent life you’ve been living and make a change.

1. Walk out the front door. I like to be inside. I’m comfortable there, because I’m completely in control of my surroundings. But let’s face it, nothing really exciting is going to unfold when I’m home alone, sitting on the couch, and attempting to come up with edgy new things to write about. Life is waiting for you right on the other side of your front door. There are new and amazing things waiting to be discovered. But every day we stay where we are comfortable, we miss the chance for a new adventure, a new discovery, and new direction in our story. Don’t miss out on the chance for something exciting, because you weren’t brave enough to chance the world outside.

2. Try that one thing you may be afraid of. Usually the things we fear the most are things that we’ve never done. We don’t really have a reason to fear them other than we are convinced that bad things would happen if we take that risk and give it a try. We miss out on so much because we are afraid of the results. The truth? You will never be able to control the results of anything. You will never know how something is going to end. You shouldn’t be afraid to live your life, because you’re afraid of the ending. Besides that thing you find terrifying might just be the best choice you’ve ever made. So whether its talking to the lovely girl at the coffee shop or moving to a new place, do something that’s a bit risky for you. Take the chance that it might be the turning point in your life.

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We aren’t perfect. We don’t do everything right on the first go. We can screw everything up in one minute and spend the next few years wondering how everything could have been different. But that fear of doing the wrong thing? That makes us complacent and passive. We scare ourselves into inaction, and then we aren’t enjoying the innumerable possibilities that life can throw at us. But sometimes, its those mistakes, those unplanned moments that don’t turn out the way we wanted that turn us into the people we were meant to be. Besides, I believe that God is gracious, merciful, and forgiving. He isn’t going to turn you away for being human.

In spite of all this, however, there is something important to remember: You still are the supporting character for someone else. I’m going to try and see if I can write this in a way that doesn’t sound completely ridiculous. We have a tendency towards selfishness and egotism. We get very caught up in our own lives and our own problems. Often times, it isn’t enough that we are suffering through our issues, we need someone else to sit there and commiserate with us. We expect close friends to be there for us whenever we need them, even if it means skipping classes, missing work, or taking time our their schedule to listen to us whine about the same things for four hours. That isn’t fair. While you may be the leading lady of your life, you aren’t the leading lady in your friends’ lives. You can’t play the diva. At some point, you need to step back and understand that you can’t always expect your friends to play the supporting role for you. Some days, you are going to be the supporting role for them. You aren’t going to be in the spotlight or the center of attention. Some days, it isn’t going to be about you. The world is filled with billions of people, and each of them are the hero and heroine of their own story. So while you need to take charge of your own life, don’t accidentally hijack someone else’s on the way.

So live your life to the fullest. Make the most of the little things, because they could turn into something magical. Don’t be afraid to be the hero or heroine of your story. Because it is your story. If you don’t make the most of it, no one else is going to.

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