For most of us, reality can be a very scary thing. There is so much that needs to be done in this life, taking care of ourselves, paying the bills, taking the trash out and all the rest. Life isn’t always easy; there are a lot of things that we would love to skip: the dreaded dental appointments, the dreaded job and the dreaded chores. No wonder we love a good movie, a good book, a good vacation. Escape and distraction seem like our greatest friends many times. Few of us want to face the reality of taking full responsibility.
The irony is that we are sold stories of the possibility of a type of happiness that is supposedly permanent. This is where it’s important to remember the common saying that points to a flaw in the human psyche: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
It is so tempting to fall for the trap of believing that other human beings have it a lot better than we do. We fall for believing that those with fame and riches have it a lot better than we do, but with just a little investigation and deeper analysis we can see that this is simply not so. The examples of individuals with fame, money and power who are not happier than you and I are many, in fact, it is not even necessary or important to list them, look and find out for yourself. Check out any magazine or newspaper and you will find that the stories of extremely unhappy celebrities are not lacking.
Sure money, power and recognition are nice, they can certainly be a big part of an individual’s happiness, but such things do not guarantee happiness.
Happiness, if such a thing even exists, is a state of balance and equilibrium, it is a sense of maturity and clarity that can only be achieved when our heads and hearts are working together. Our outer lives are an expression of what is inside of us, which is why most of the work we need to do is internal.
What do I really, really want should be the question. As simple as it might seem, if we take this question to profound depths we will find that it is a lot more involving than we might think. I am sure, most if not all of us, will say money. And sure, money can bring about a lot of goodies and a lot of order – but what do we want the money for?
To get money, I am sure most of us know, we have to work hard. It’s the way the world has been set up, unless you are one of those extremely rare cases that come by it in an easy way. But even that ease has a price. Easy comes, easy goes they say – and as much as we might like things that we want coming easy, we hate things leaving easy.
In the world everything operates in duality: there is night and day, black and white, happy and sad, good and bad, right and wrong, simple and complicated, sick and healthy, alive and dead. Everything is subject to the law of relativity and duality, laws are laws.
No matter how much we want to hold on to any one side of duality, the other side is around the corner. Today’s wonderful marriage can easily turn into tomorrow’s sour divorce, today’s wonderful accomplishment may turn into tomorrow’s horrible failure. I do not say these things to be negative, I say them to be realistic, again consult your nearest magazine or newspaper and you will see what I am talking about.
Whether we like it or not there is an order to life. Cycles of birth and death are realities. A dependent child will eventually have to become an independent adult, and whether we cling to the past or not, time does what it does with all of us and with everything. Resisting the ongoing movement of life is futile. We are all moving forward with life. As a blade of grass grows outside so do we, and growth need not be seen as something scary or bad.
I will speak for myself when I say that I have been clinging to the past and growing really slowly, but the reality is that time doesn’t forgive any of us. Time will turn our young, beautiful, healthy and strong bodies into old, weaker and less capable people. This is why youth is not to be taken for granted. Ask either of your grandparents if you’re lucky enough to still have them around.
I always get the same advice from elderly people: don’t take you life for granted, enjoy your life responsibly.
It’s not that old age is a bad thing, as far as I’m concerned the collection of experiences and the wisdom gained are beautiful things, the integrated phase of resting and being less active to rest for all the years of hard work is a beautiful thing, and the legacy one leaves behind as the years pass is something that is wonderful.
If it wasn’t for my grandparents, I wouldn’t be here writing… and if it wasn’t for me, all the things that I have created would have not been on earth. I have created many things, both good and bad, like all of us. I have written many wonderful articles, inspired many people and worked in a lot of different capacities, all the work that I have done has created an impact. The times that I have been an asshole have left a crappy mess and the times that I’ve been an angel have left a beautiful trail of love and positive growth.
Sure I am only twenty-six, but if I am lucky, one day I will be eighty and all of the things that I have done so far will go on my life resume. What do you want your life resume to look like?
Life, whether we are ready to see it or not is a wonderful gift, it is a wonderful bag of opportunities. The greatest gift we have is the gift of choice, the gift of free will. What do you want to do with your free will? What do you want to build or destroy with it? Some things are worth building and some things are worth destroying. Love, selflessness, care, education, art and help are worth building while hate, envy, greed, ignorance and egocentrism are worth destroying.
Abraham Lincoln with the help of many helped to destroy the institution of slavery; this was a destruction that was worthwhile. You and I can destroy the institutions of fear, doubt, cynicism and despair within us. As we do that we are more and more free to choose to build the life we want for ourselves: a healthy body, a nice income, a beautiful home and family and a wonderful life. We can move on and take this gift of life as a precious possession that we are blessed to have.
These tasks may not be easy, but they are worthwhile, and just as easy comes easy goes, what comes about difficultly will go away difficultly. We can all build a life that we are proud of, we can all face our fears and overcome them, we can all be all that we are, if we are just willing.
May the year 2011 inspire you to heed the advice of the elders: to not take life and youth for granted and to enjoy life responsibly! All the best to all of you!