Gut Check

It is easy to get caught in the undertow of life. You are born onto a path which takes you through school, into work, into marriage, children, and retirement. There are expectations. Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to bed. The routine lulls you to sleep, and before you know it, you can be living a nightmare. You ask “how did I get here?” when you should be asking “where do I want to go next?”

You need a gut check. After every mission there is a debriefing, and so should it be in life. Periodic re-evaluations of life are necessary in order to keep control. Self-assessment does not need to be reactionary, and only in response to traumatic events. You can call it a five year plan, a balancing of life’s budget, or doing your mental taxes. The point is that priorities change, and sometimes accomplishing a goal does not get the desired outcome.

People end up in jobs they hate. They end up in dead marriages. Sometimes this can manifest as a mid-life crisis, but it can turn up at any point in life. Many people see the only way out as cutting and running. This, however, is reactionary. It is the easy way out. When you find yourself in a job you hate, ask yourself why you started the job in the first place. Did you ever enjoy it? What do you want that you are not getting? Are you working too many hours and missing time with the kids? Are you not making enough money, and if you think so, then would more money really solve the root problem?

If you don’t stop and think, circumstance will think for you. Ask yourself who you are, and why you are here. These are not simply philosophical questions without answers. These are the questions that will define the life you lead. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Additional Resources

Wired, Your Genes Don’t Fit: Why 10,000 Hours of Practice Won’t Make You an Expert:

eHow, How to Evaluate My Life:

The Unfettered Mind, Who Am I?

WebMD, Midlife Crisis:

The Uncommon Life, How and Why You Should Assess Your Life:


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