Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I really should be waking my child and getting her to school, but we are both suffering little sniffly colds so I am going to let her sleep just a little while more. She has plenty of time ahead of her where she will have to wake for someone else's schedule. (I can't stop thinking of Jodi setting five alarms to get her up every work morning Yeee!)

So, today's topic is Real Life... Somehow not what I expected. No matter what you do, you do it the same as you do everything else. There is no magic state of differentness--eventually it's all the same. Wherever you go, there you are. How odd. No wonder the existentialists were such a grumpy bunch.

I have spent my entire life waiting to get There and do... Something. Well I am Here, I am doing what I want--cubicles, mandated traveling for my job, and somebody else's rules are a thing of the past--and it is the same, I am the same, as before. With few exceptions, I am just as happy/unhappy as I have been my entire life. There has been no magical transformation or noticeable ascension to a higher state. And I expected one. I think a lot of people do.

We think "I would be happy if I could have/be X". What a crock. (For me the last one is "thin") We get X and nothing changes. The young girls who yearn to be married and have babies as the solution to their dissatisfaction with life are not going to be happier if they get what they wish for. They carry their unhappiness along with them and wonder what went wrong. Intellectually I know that, and yet I have still been waiting for a major life change of my own for the past 30 years. I have been waiting to do something, get something, and suddenly be a different person, a happier person, a less stressed person. Hah. That's not to say I am not a different person, I am. There were just no chutes and ladders in the process of getting here: It's taken 30 years of incremental change, change so slow it can only be seen by looking back at my attitudes, beliefs and actions in times before.

So what's the point? The point is that, unless we are in the middle of a really shitty life patch dealing with divorce, death, a really crappy job or relationship, etc., right now it's as good as it gets: We are no less happy than we will ever be. When we achieve our goals there will be a momentary spike of euphoria and then we will go right on being fundamentally the same us we are right now.

Is that a bummer? No, it's actually liberating. It's permission to stop waiting for something better and to live in and be happy in the now.

Would it be better not to have goals? After all, if we are going to feel the same, what's the point? I think the solution is not make shortcuts to our goals a goal. There really is something to be said for being comfortable with the passage of time and enjoying the journey.

As I write this I wonder how many cliches I will eventually cram into it, and right behind that thought comes this one: They are cliches because people repeat them to death. People repeat them to death because they believe them. Maybe they knew something all along that I am just now coming around to. Here's one more to savor:

Life is what you make it.


Jodi said...

Wow, great post that hits home. It's all so true. I'm trying to think of a cliche to put in my comment, but am too tired.

Bill Paley said...

"A stich in time saves nine".

"Don't go swimming until an hour after you eat".

Need any more?

Brenda Griffith said...

well, those aren't really "life" related... but I guess they will have to do. Song titles are almost as good as cliches:

Your Life is Now (John Mellancamp)
Live for Today (The Grassroots)
Right Now (Van Halen)