Remember when we first learned how to tell a story? As a child, I can remember learning about the 5 W’s(+ the H). Just in case you forgot what these questions are, I’m referring to these simple questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? These, teachers told us, are the most vital parts to telling a story, the pieces we need to ensure listeners/readers can follow along and truly understand the full range of a story.
Fast forward maybe 15-20 years or so, and here we are, back to these seemingly simple questions. Except now we’re trying to piece together the answer to those questions for our own story, our own lives. The pressure to have it all figured out can feel like it just keeps adding up the older we get.
Let’s break it down step by step:
WHO: Who do you want to spend your time with? Who will you build your life with? Friends, romantic partners, family, community? The people we surround ourselves with is a choice. Sometimes it can take stepping back and being a bit more intentional about who we choose to let in and out of our lives to allow us to grow. Who we surround ourselves with has a direct impact on the person we become. Choose wisely, my friends!
WHAT: What do you want to do? What will you put your time and energy into? What job or career will you pursue? What drives you? What motivates you? What do you spend your time doing? What’s most important to you? What do you value in your own life?
WHERE: Where will you choose to build your life? Will you stay in your hometown close to family, pick a dream destination you’ve always wanted to explore or pick up in a brand new city? Will you stay in one place or move around?
WHEN: When will you start working “full time?” When will you FINALLY settle down? When will you be moving home? When will you be moving out? When will you move in together? When will you be getting that dog together? When will you start a family? When will you start your new business? When will you travel? When will you be doing ALL of the things? Time can be so finite and difficult to control. The burden to do it all right now is overwhelming.
WHY: Now this is the one I feel can be all too easily skipped over! WHY are you pursuing what you are? Why do you spend your time doing it? Why is your job, your spouse/significant other, community, friends, etc. important to you? Why do you choose to live your life in this way? We have a say in the “why” of our lives. You are the only one who can take the time to think about the “why” of your own day to day life.
HOW: How will you get there? How will you pursue a life you love? How will you make that move? How will you establish yourself as a professional? How will pursue this relationship? How can you make your story succinctly piece together?
Anyone feel overwhelmed reading through all of those questions? It is OKAY not to have the answers just yet. It’s okay to have some of these answers, but not others. It makes sense that you don’t have it all figured out. That is what life is all about, isn’t it?
The best thing we can do is take a deep breath and enjoy it all on the way. To take the pressure off and have fun while we piece it all together. The twenty-something years are becoming more and more jam packed with things you “should” have figured out.. but in reality, no one really has it all figured out anyway.
SO on the journey to writing your own story, I hope you take the time to stop and enjoy it as much on page 3 or page 35 as you do during the final chapter.