When one is still, one may think.
Not even on vacation do we allow our minds to sit still. To catch up with the current moment, and take in the now. With next steps and future plans lingering overhead, we dilute the quality of the present with anticipation over that which remains to be seen.
We live in a society whereby the legal system is designed to protect us from ourselves, and school teaches us to unlearn. We are uninspired by traditional curriculum, yet we remain sponges to/of the system. We remember to memorize, but forget to create.
As we get older, we shift nearer to the center. What feels like a gravitational pull is really just the status quo, graciously leaving its doors open for the predictable and bored to stroll right through, sit down, and stay awhile.
Like a 24/7 gas station, the convenience is quite something. The set-up is perfect, with brightly lit lights, an abundant supply of drinkable tap water, and every kind of snack you can imagine to power you through your decidedly dreary days.
Despite the gloominess, we continue to cement ourselves to this kind of life. We do what we’re told, and pursue careers that seem impressive (or make us sound smart), but are devoid of meaning. Our titles are significant, but our person is not.
It’s a cycle many of us are familiar with. We tell ourselves it could be worse, so we keep on pushing through. We’re entertained during miserable workdays by instant messaging with friends, or checking and refreshing news feeds. We live vicariously through the online other.
Our behavior is not scripted, although it often feels so. Depending on our actions, we’re able to liberate or confine. We make choices constantly, each minute of the day. The majority of these are negligible, and we worry not in considering whether that decision might impact our future.
The more serious choices require our undivided attention. These big and bad ones have the power to determine the course of our lives. Or so we’d like to think. We sweat over these, and are kept awake at night by the unknowing. We cling desperately to the illusion that such things are black and white, and consequently ask ourselves, “Which choice is the right one?”
Distrusting of our own selves, we refuse to face these decisions alone. We consult the help of others-friends, family, and the occasional stranger. Some of us may even seek guidance from a professional, a Certified Decision-Maker.
We must remember that as life is dynamic, so are we. Merely mortals, we’re intimately acquainted with both mistake and error. What seemed like a good idea at the time may prove horribly wrong. Plans can backfire, and your entire life’s road map could be forcibly rewritten. What then?
Pieces are amiss, but all is not lost. We must learn to discover our own resilience. Believe in individual successes as much as personal failings. If we allow ourselves to forgive one “wrong” road traveled, we might feel permitted to try again. Perhaps this time down a road less conspicuous, and filled with greater reward.
The road is everything and anything. It’s a series of unsuccessful jobs, or a stable, life-long career. It’s a failed marriage, or a reunion with an old flame. It’s the question of to do, or not to do. To be, or not to be.
Our society discourages taking risks, and this is a grave mistake. Whether we choose to pursue a conventional life or not is irrelevant. What matters is the intention behind our choices, and whether or not our life carries meaning and purpose.
Be curious, intentional, forgiving and flawed. In doing so, life will pleasantly surprise.