Years ago I organized a Biggest Loser competition in the community I was living. I also trained one of the teams.
When I had T-shirts made for my team I put the following words on the back:
If it is to be,
It is up to me
The meaning of that phrase has changed for me over the years as I’ve struggled, failed, succeeded, started over and broken even in my life. I began my 20s knowing that I could achieve anything by my own hand. So the phrase translated like this:
If it is to be (and I KNOW it is),
It is up to me (because I am the master of my universe)
Much happiness and misery went by until my early 30s when a more mature realism set in and I began to understand that all things MIGHT not be achievable and some things MIGHT be out of my control. At this juncture I still held the belief that success and failure was situated squarely upon my shoulders. I was still capable of anything and I was responsible for either outcome. So the phrase translated like this:
If it is to be (and I hope it is, ‘cause I want it so BAD),
It is up to me (if it doesn’t happen I’m a loser, if it does – WORSHIP ME)
I was wrapped in the delusion that I had complete control over everything that happened in my life. If something didn’t turn out the way I had planned or hoped, I needed to look no further than myself for the failing. This worked well on one level because if things were a success, I was directly responsible for that success and me and my ego would need to get a room for the night.
As I move through my late 40s and head toward my 50s, I now have another view of that phrase. I have come to realize that I am not responsible for my success nor for my failure. I cannot control certain outcomes and I am at the mercy of whatever power(s) might be working in this universe. Though I might strive for a certain goal, the ultimate granting of that goal is not within MY power.
But I am responsible for making the effort. I am responsible for getting up, making plans, putting things together, and striving for that which I desire. Whatever the outcome, the work necessary to move toward the goal is up to me. I am not the master of the universe and all things are not possible. And while it’s not necessarily my failure, or my success, it MUST be my actions. So today the phrase translates like this:
If it is [ever] to be,
It is up to me [to make the effort]