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Self Improvement

Yes, these are the days …

In the poem Song of the Open Road, Walt Whitman writes, “These are the days that must happen to you.” He goes on to state that those who are always restless to answer the call of the open road will not accumulate riches or have long careers or enjoy love affairs because they will always be kissing farewell, giving notice, and saying good-bye before heading off for the next adventure. This is part of the deal, those days one must endure if they choose to pursue a life of eternal quest and adventure.

All of us have days we must endure because of choices we have made. Parents must put up with colicky babies and insolent teenagers because this is part of parenthood. Attorneys must put up with long days in court, executives with back-to-back meetings, soldiers with danger, janitors with dirt. It is simply part and parcel of your current job or slot in life — in short, these days are due to the choices you have made.

If you are pleased with your decision (or at least accepting of it), you will accept upsets and less-than-stellar circumstances. You will tolerate long hours, loneliness, red tape, filthy floors, complaining clients, low pay, or other lousy situations caused by your station in life. You may complain occasionally and question your choices — with drink in hand — but you keep putting up with these days because overall you like the choices you made. These days are simply the downside which must be endured. They indeed are the days that must happen to you.

But what happens when you are constantly complaining? When you are continually enduring trials but seeing no triumphs? When it seems as if all your days are these days? It could be a rough patch, or it could be that you need to make a new choice. You have changed and the path you are on is no longer worth all those days that must happen to you.

So formulate a new plan, find a new path. While you are looking for that next job or home or lover, however, take a moment to be grateful for the path you are trying to leave. It may seem unfulfilling or overwhelming or completely pointless at this moment, but if you take a moment you will see that it has been enriching. Every experience teaches you something. You acquired new skills, you interacted with different people, you clarified your likes and dislikes. You did not endure those days that must happen to you in vain. They prepared you for your next position or place in life. They were a test. The test is over. You know the score.

Now go and search for the next step to take and the next day that must happen to you will happen. It is inevitable.