The Wisdom In ‘Green Lights’ By Matthew McConaughey
“You are the author of the book of your life…turn the page.” – Matthew McConaughey
If only life were this simple, right?
But maybe it is.
During our most recent drive from Oregon to Pennsylvania, I listened to the audio version of Green Lights. I typically prefer to read books. But my son, Jack, assured me that I wanted to hear this one, as listening to Matthew McConaughey share his life story would most definitely exceed my expectations. And, Jack’s advice was spot on.
This blog is not meant to be an advertisement or endorsement for Matthew McConaughey or Green Lights — though I do highly recommend this book. The reason I began today’s writing with one of his quotes is because it — like so many other statements he makes in this book — speaks to the actual truth. He’s not sugar-coating reality, placing blame elsewhere, or numbing emotions which need to be processed. He’s merely challenging himself and whoever reads or hears these words to be responsible for creating their life own path.
This simple message succinctly tells us it’s not necessary to follow the book we “thought” outlined our destiny. Instead, we have the ability to turn the page, start fresh, and create our next journey.
Of course, we cannot and never will be able to control what happens in life. However, each one of us possesses free will. This is our power, our ability, our God-given right to make choices. It is how we decide to face the adversities, hardships, quandaries, and joys that come our way. At any moment, we can change course — not negate what happened — but opt to go in a different direction, perhaps our true north.
While this makes sense intellectually, it is often difficult to do because it requires us to leave our comfort zone. Sure, it’s easy is to deny our power and come up with reasons why this will not work, why we cannot make different choices, why we cannot turn the damn page. Change is hard. We cannot predict what will happen if we take an unknown path.
Perhaps not everyone will be happy with our decisions. We could lose something in the process. However, maybe the biggest reason we’re afraid to turn the page is because we want to know that everything will be OK — and nothing can guarantee that. But isn’t this all part of life? Doesn’t growth require us to take risks and make those difficult decisions? Starting another chapter to our book can be exciting, uplifting, and inspiring. This may be exactly what is needed, a readjustment of sorts. And shifting gears does not mean that we need to uproot, disengage, or change what is working. Nor does it imply that we failed to live up to the life we once imagined. It only means that our vision widened, we became open to new possibilities, and we embraced these opportunities.
Ultimately, as authors of our life story, the choice lie with us. We may be perfectly content with the way our life is unfolding. And in fact, we may choose not to alter one thing. But if we are unhappy with where our book’s headed or are curious about another route, we have the power to shift the plot. But how?
Speaking our truth
Perhaps we seek out new characters or try different settings. Then again, we may decide to slow down or speed up the pace of our story. And let’s not forget about the importance of tone. Would softening how our story’s written — the words we use and the ways we behave— alter our book? Do we need to be kinder, gentler, more loving? Or perhaps it would serve us to become more assertive, set clearer boundaries, and speak our truth.
The beautiful part about life is that we are each the author and the main character of our novel. No doubt there will continue to be unanticipated twists and turns in each chapter, but we have the ability to turn the page and begin again when things are not in alignment with where we want them to be. We may choose to stay the course, or we may alter the flow. Yet so often we are the ones holding ourselves back from making the tough decisions required to turn the page and reconsider the narrative.
Is your life story on target? Does it need a bit of editing, or is a major revision necessary?
Whether minor details need to be tweaked or you must rework the plot, know that you possess the power — the free will — to rewrite your tale.
Take some time to review your life story. Is it unfolding as you hoped it would? If not, turn the page and begin anew.
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