I had an immediate life flashback when a friend confided in me last week. She was sharing how stressful college was for her. She expects so much from herself and literally gets angry if she doesn’t get straight A’s in every class. It felt like I was talking to myself when I was in college. My first collect classes began at age 32. Those years were some of the most miserable and most rewarding I ever experienced.

As a non-traditional age student, I was always comparing myself to the younger students. It was easy to conclude that they were smarter than me. Remedial math courses started right away because my math skills were gone. Math was my strongest subject in high school. Not using it for fourteen years left me with only one choice. I had to start over. I felt like such a failure and college was just beginning. My critical judgmental self was my close companion throughout my entire 9-year full-time college career. After listening to my friend’s college experience, my eyes were wide open to who I am today. My critical judgmental self is no longer there.

Historically, always trying to make the right choice or decision guaranteed me a rush of horrible body tension, headaches and sleepless nights. My major required a certain GPA which constantly reminded me how I needed to perform my very best for every exam. I added to my college stress with a questionable relationship. That relationship was under constant scrutiny. Is he the right one? Do I stay? Do I leave? Is that okay? Is that not okay? My head was constantly flooded with an overwhelming number of questions. These questions left me feeling stuck. Many questions would not get answered. End result? Those same questions kept regurgitating in my mind. Life is full of multiple choices and decisions. My decision-making skills were poor in the past. I had to turn this around. How did that happen? How long did it take? Do I really care today? No. All I know is that my critical judgmental self is no longer hot on my trail.

Instead of making the right choice or decision I ask myself this question. “What’s next?” My life has been a series of choices and decisions. One of the most important choices has been being great with myself no matter what. Accepting where I am and being generous with the next door that opens. There will always be another choice and decision that will come along. How much easier life is asking myself that one question each time. “What’s next?” My expectations to be perfect is gone. Do I ever have difficulties? Do I get caught up in the right wrong world? Absolutely! That’s just one of the pleasures of being a human being. Each day is an adventure. Today it doesn’t take me long to notice when my ego-mind is trying to take me back to the right choice or decision. It’s all part of the journey. The best is I now have the powerful simple question “What’s Next?” which keeps life flowing easily and sweetly.