Run By Design And Not By Default

Allowing indecision, circumstances, and people to make decision for you are the scenarios one would call, “default living.”  I’m certain you’ve heard of this before.  These days even your grandma is somewhat computer literate to know that default settings to any program are the dull manufacturer setting.

Many hospitals are using electronic charting nowadays.  I recently sat in a classroom with a group of nurses where the instructor made sure we learned how to “personalize” our nursing Care Plans (yeah, these still exist), tailoring them to be client-specific because not all patients are made equally nor do they share the same diagnosis and challenges.  So we designed our care plan for our make-believe patient and satisfied the instructor’s requirement.

Living by default is basically living your life without a customized plan. Nursing is a profession that gives you certain freedom and autonomy–just enough so that you are not too miserable or despondent.  It can be very exciting if you love what you do.  It can also become too much like a serious brain-raking routine which makes some folks experience what the expert call a “burnout.”  Some of us are at the point where we hate it but feel we have no other alternative but to run into work to catch that clock before we are marked tardy, written up, laid off, or fired. When you reach this state in your profession, you may feel like you have no hope, but the bills makes it hard for you to breathe–like having a pneumothorax–by relenthesly poking at your chest.  Running by default…if it happens to a nurse…not pretty.

Going with the flow or doing what you think you have to do (even against your own emotional will) and doing what people think you should be doing or behaving like folks feel you should behave is ‘living by default.’  In this mode, time passes by and no sooner are you left with a heavy heart, a walker or a cane in hand, a ton of prescribed medicines starring you in your face every morning, while you desperately try to buy a bit more time to hop on that one good leg you have.  Sad to say, but they say most folks are merely existing.

Thank goodness for diversity in religion, culture, arts, music, profession, and thinking. It is great to live an authentic life. This is what we were designed to do. Could you imagine how it would be if every looked, acted and are doing the same?   Lawdie…everyone laughing the same (and I know someone who laughs like a horse), and…crazy the same…  This would make the popular 1884 satire by Edwin A. Abbott, Flatland, where men appear as polygons and women as a circle seem more appealing.

We were all designed with individual looks, personalities, intentions, and dreams.  My Father, despite doctors condemning him to a life in a wheelchair, against all odds, walked.  He advised me never to dwell on the illusion of limitation but strive to a higher level of liveliness and living.  It’s amazing how many modern day miracles happen when people decide to live by design and not default.  It may take great faith and persistence on your part to live the way you want to, but it is possible to do so within reason and sometimes unreasonably (sounds like controversy right?).

There are many roads you may take which may help you live a  healthy life by design.  What works for the Joneses may not work for you so, delight in your authentic self.  Customize your own plan.  Stick with it.  By doing this you will have a blast, develop new habits, and look forward to living a more fulfilling life.

If you are lost for direction, here are a few tips to to help you get started and running:

  • Give yourself permission.  Yes you can do it. This helps overcoming fear, doubt, and inertia.
  • Delight in the many possibilities you have. Do not focus on barriers but take pleasure on your simplest strengths.
  • Be authentic and engage in what you love.  If walking, Jazzercise, Insanity Workout, or running floats your boat, do it.  You could even be creative and come up with your own type of exercise like…Runnasalsa… anyone?   Okay, maybe that one won’t make it on the best-seller list but, you get my point.
  • Honor your words.  If you say you will do, then do! That new year resolution didn’t work for you, so get in the mindset of living in the NOW.  Honoring your own words builds your self respect.  Doing the little things makes you feel like you are accomplishing what you set out to do.
  • Grab you a journal to keep track of your progress and commitments to yourself

OYE!  Time to draw the lines on the road and face any fears you may have.  Recognize the opportunity to make changes in your life.  The time is now. This is a gift we are given.  Don’t catch a snag on any difficult time you may be experiencing.  Adversity could very well be your  opportunity dressed up with a bad hair day.  In quantum physics, it is said that we are the observer creating our experiences.  If this is the case see yourself running healthy and fit.  See yourself doing what you love or see yourself as you wish to be and move your legs, arms, and feet.   Claim ownership of the road.  The human body you have was also design for running. Yes the Cheetah was designed to run faster than you, but suck it up and be grateful you weren’t born a snail!  Don’t let a sedentary life keep you in a rut.  Give yourself permission to start something new.  Design a plan, then run with it.