When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite stories was “The Monster At The End Of This Book”. You know the one… Grover from Sesame Street begs you not to turn the page because there’s a monster at the end. He ties the pages together, boards them up with a hammer and nails, builds a brick wall – anything and everything to stop you from turning the page. Of course you do, and when you do, Grover loses his mind.
I loved turning the page.
To be honest, I still do. I make as much noise as I can turning the page of a book – or a pad of paper – or a calendar. I love the cracking sound. It sounds like progress to me. It feels like I’ve accomplished something, and my reward is that now I get to see what happens next.
As a writer, I can’t help but see our lives as stories we’re writing and telling as we go. We wake up to a blank page and fill it throughout the day with our thoughts and actions. And as I look back on the chapter that’s closing – and forward to the unwritten page before me, I can’t shake the question, “What kind of story am I writing?”. Is this life of mine a love story – a how to book – a mystery – a tragedy – a comedy?
It’s been all of these at times, and more. But more than anything, I want it to be an adventure. Who wants to read a book where the same thing happens page after page? No plot twists. No great success. No failure leading the hero to a better part of himself. Nothing out of the ordinary or unpredictable. Who would want to read that story?
Who would want to live that story?
Starting today, a thousand blank pages are before us, ready to be filled with the greatest adventure we can dream up.
We have to face the unwritten page, and that can be harder than it sounds.
There are all kinds of obstacles in our way, tying our pages together, boarding up our hearts, building walls around our dreams – doing anything and everything to stop us. It can seem easier to put ourselves up on a shelf than to write a new chapter. But regardless, it will be written.
Even if we don’t get out of bed, the story continues.
Even if we do what we did yesterday, the story continues.
Even lack of thought will fill the page.
Even if we’re unaware that we’re creating in every moment of every day,
With every choice and every thought… we are.
Don’t let what has been dictate what will be. You have choices. Just because something has been a certain way for some time doesn’t mean it must continue. Just because you chose something yesterday doesn’t mean you have to choose it tomorrow. Even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can change your thoughts and actions. You can absolutely change the story you’re telling.
What if we’d approach today (and tomorrow!) as a blank page waiting to be filled with the greatest story we can tell?
What if we’d lay down our past experiences, expectations, mistakes, successes – and start fresh?
What if we’d reassess the importance we give all that fills our lives and choose again?
What if we’d walk forward knowing that if we’re still here there’s something beautiful waiting for us to discover?
What if we’d turn the page of the story we’ve been writing and face the unwritten page before us?
Welcome to your new chapter. Write it well. Live it beautifully.