I believe, except for the select few, that most of us are not satisfied with our lives – I, for one, am definitely not. Now, certainly, there are circumstances surrounding our existence which are beyond our control; these aren’t concerns that I wish us to address today, or ever actually, as it is, of course, futile to try and fix things that are unfixable (although in time, as momentum propels you forward, you may come to believe that those things which you previously thought unachievable or unattainable to be possible). More importantly, there are parts of ourselves which we despise, but remain within our control to change, that we ironically ignore and distract ourselves from dealing with. Strange creatures we are to complain about that which is not within us to change; and yet we stay idle amongst the things we do have influence over – a peculiarity of the flawed human condition that makes us, well, human.
We find it easier at the present moment to flight than fight, to reject than accept, but picture this: you’re laying on your deathbed, moments away from passing into the next world. Will you go kicking, screaming and clawing, wishing for a do-over? Or will you be able to go peacefully, knowing that you left it all on the table? It’s this misty-eyed magic 8-ball I peer into daily that helps recalibrate the decisions I make in the present; for when one understands that the clock eventually stops ticking, he begins to make use of every tocking.
Admittedly, for most of my teenage and adult life, I have not so well managed the inevitable passing of Father Time – for the majority I was a slave to my own demons, a prisoner of my own self-hatred. I still am every now and then, but not nearly as much as before (which is good because it was a great deal). Perhaps it’s for this reason that I dwell on the idea of my future so frequently; but not with anxiety or uneasiness, but oddly enough with a sense of tranquility. Maybe when a hero discovers his ultimate quest, he can put his transgressions behind him and look forward only to the great journey which awaits him, granting him focus and serenity.
Becoming the complete “you” and refusing to accept your current level of satisfaction with life are one in the same. Now, to digress briefly, I don’t mean that by rejecting your current state that you are rejecting who you are intrinsically; we are all born with certain traits and characteristics that make you, you. These we must accept, cherish and carry with us until our very last day. There are however, habits, daily rituals and disciplines that must be adopted which will bring us closer to our ideal life, and more importantly distance ourselves from the life we are unhappy with.
Hopefully the article made this clear, but as the great Ralph Waldo Emerson quote goes: “Do the thing and you will have the power.” Maxing out your yearly retirement contributions, asking out that cute girl you see at the gym everyday, losing those love handles you can’t stand the sight of, all these seemingly difficult goals are achievable as long as you take some kind of action, any kind of action.
For me, my biggest problem was, and still is, social anxiety. Now that I am working on my improving my level of “social freedom” I feel a renewed hope and vigor for life that almost felt foreign – that is how long I have been living in depression, refusing to take any action and instead playing the innocent victim.
Whatever that gaping hole is currently in your life, I urge you to stop whatever you are doing and confront it. Stop mindlessly running through life avoiding the very thing that causes you so much anguish. The thought of facing your greatest fear may be horrifying, but to let that fear haunt you for the rest of your life and ultimately divert you from living the life you dream of? A much, much more terrifying proposition if you ask me.