Central PA's LGBT News Source

Making Sense of Life

Creating a better future

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Is it time to take charge of your life in a new and more dynamic way? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Then today is the day to start preparing to change and have the life you desire.

Does preparing for the future seem meaningless to you? Given the state of world conditions – politically, socially, and environmentally – preparations for a future that may look bleak or non-existent can seem to be a worthless effort on our part.

Here’s why that isn’t so: We live in the present. Preparations for the future can make a positive impact on our happiness now.

Is there anything you or I can do to change the past? Everyone has at least one thing they wish they could change. Haven’t you ever royally screwed up, perhaps in public, and wished it never happened? We can’t go back in time and negate our actions, or change the perceptions of others about our foibles.

At the same time, can we guarantee our future? Many of us thought we could, which is why we chose careers with large companies, seemingly unshakeable ones, who promised us a comfortable pension. Today many of us are facing a retirement income much different than what we expected.

Where does that leave us? The present. Today. Right now.

How are you feeling at this moment? Are you having a good time? Are you where you want to be in life? Or, put in other ways, do you have the relationship you desire? Are you happy in your job or career? Is your health such that you are able to enjoy life to the fullest?

It may seem that thinking about changing our current circumstances may be too monumental to tackle, particularly since we have few guarantees in life. There is, of course, the religious beliefs about a “greater later” if we do this or that (or rather DON’T do this or that!), but whether or not heaven or some reward exists is yet to be seen. That is why we must learn to enjoy the present. So why plan for the future? Why prepare for tomorrow or years to come?

Because what we are thinking right now affects our future. Our thoughts affect what happens tomorrow and, if those thoughts are consistent, can affect us for years to come. Does this mean we immediately manifest all our desires, or that we should blame ourselves for where we are today? No … and no.

Preparations for later today, what we hope to do tomorrow, or what we plan for our future keeps us focused on what we want. This is important for our happiness because studies have proven that we have a better chance of getting what we want in life by focusing on our desires and not on all the obstacles we may imagine.

You and I can remember, perhaps with no little amount of embarrassment, how our actions in the past put us in difficult situations. Perhaps a relationship we always “had a feeling” wasn’t in our best interest turned out to be the psycho-partner from hell. Instead of blaming ourselves, playing the victim, or beating ourselves up for not listening to the common sense in our heads we can choose another path. We can learn from our mistakes, choose a different path next time, and do whatever it takes for us to create change.

As the calendar year ends many of us tend to review the past year, judging or praising our efforts. The result of our inventories gives birth to those New Years resolutions, an attempt to correct the past, hoping for a better year ahead.

This review of our life doesn’t have to be an annual event. We have the ability to notice how we are feeling right in this moment and determine what actions on our part earlier today or yesterday helped to create those emotions. That mini life review may reveal how we reacted to the attentions of someone else or a news event in the tumultuous world in which we life. Doesn’t that mean someone else is the cause of our joy or unhappiness?

Only we are responsible for how we think and what we choose to feel. No one dictates to us how we are to feel or act, unless we give them the permission to do so. It’s by taking control of our own lives, planning for our future, and following through on those plans that moves us in the right direction. If we associate with people who consistently tear us down we don’t have to continue that self-abuse. If 24/7 media alerts clutter our thoughts and our lives we can choose to be more selective in how we receive important news. What Kate, Meghan, or some other celebrity wore today is not important news.

Life isn’t going to turn out exactly the way we expect all the time. The plus side of that is that when we put universal laws into motion by mindfully choosing our course of action and following through with the appropriate actions, we’re often helping to create a future situation that’s even better than what we’d hoped for.

It’s up to us. You and I have the power within ourselves to affect the changes in our life we desire. All we need to do to start is be willing for that to happen. Then, we take whatever the next step is to move closer to our goal. And the next step. And the next step. And the next step. We know what to do and so we prepare…  to accept the life we know is ours.

Dr. Terry Drew Karanen is a retired ordained minister and a licensed social worker i n private practice in Carlisle, and an award-winning author with nine published books and motivational speaker. He recently announced a new location and the expansion of his counseling and consulting practice, TDKM, LLC at 36 South Pitt Street Suite 104 in Carlisle. Dr. Karanen is skilled in LGBTQI+ issues, addiction counseling, including sex and internet addiction, group support and classes, and mediation. Contact him at: terry@terrydrewkaranen.com