The title of this song attracted my attention while I was channel-surfing on YouTube. I have seen and heard this sentiment, this advice, before, everywhere, in a ton of different ways. Every day is a new page. This is where your book begins (Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten). You are the author; you write your story. You decide where it goes. You decide how it ends.
And, I suppose that is true, in a very basic sense. I am writing my story every second of the day, with my decisions, my words, my actions, my inaction. We all are. Even if that story is as simple as “Went to work, came home, watched television and went to sleep”.
This advice, this philosophy, is meant to get you to see your life from a new perspective, from a position of agency. It is trying to get you to believe you are the decision-maker, the writer, the world-builder, not just a vulnerable, hapless character in a story someone else controls, subject to whatever fate they choose for you.
If you can see yourself as the author or you days and you life, you will understand and believe that you have the power to create the story you want for your life. You will begin to make decisions that change your personal narrative. You will take responsibility and write yourself into life you dreamed of, or have yet to dream of.
So, why doesn’t it feel like it? Why does it sometimes feel like my day is written before I wake up? Why does it feel like I can’t change it, like can’t write anything significant, anything new, today? Why am I sitting at work, or at home, feeling like I have the agency, but not enough power to take control of my life and alter it, drastically, without making a a major decision, like quitting my job, moving to another state?
What part of my story am I writing? Which socks I wear? What I have for breakfast? How many calories I consume? How many carbs?
Everything in your life, my life, can seem to conspire to make you feel like you’ve always written the script for the rest of your life. You already made the decision and now you’re just walking down the path you laid for yourself a long time ago. A job. A car. A house. Marriage. A family. Retire at 59, 62, 65, 69. Live off your savings, retirement, and/or Social Security and try to enjoy your senior years as you wait to die.
So what am I trying to do? What are you trying to do? Why did this title catch my eye, and make me stop, finger poised above my mouse, and think about it? What is it saying to me?
Building a new life is like writing a story, a novel. You do it word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, day by day.