“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”
– Charles Bukowski
Yes, people are strange. You, me, and everyone else – we’re all guilty of wasting our lives.
We sweat the small stuff while losing sight of our dreams.
If you’re lucky, you’ll realize this before it’s too late and not have to spend those final moments wondering “if only?”
I can’t think of anything that fills me with such dread.
Me? I’m dreaming of enjoying a passive income from the vista of a tropical beach; in one hand a great book, in the other, strong local rum. I’ll buy a pet monkey and slurp spicy noodles from street-food carts for breakfast before riding long barreling waves at dusk.
But if you have absolutely no idea what it is that you really want to do with your life, I suggest you completely immerse yourself in the process of something – anything – mind, body and soul.
And if you don’t find the contentment you seek?
Move on and do something else. And then repeat.
The alternative is to become engulfed by the trivialities and bullshit that has a nasty habit of seeping into our lives; wasting precious time and energy on matters that don’t matter one jot.
But how do you measure contentment, happiness and success? What is the barometer of a great life?
Try and imagine for a moment, the young child you once were…
Would that child smile proudly and cheekily wink the day you finally leave this life? Or would he weep tears of regret for what you should have become?
I want you to really think about that for a moment; the dreams, excitement and wonder that were once a vital part of your makeup as a young human being…
They’re still there, in all of us. It’s just that we’ve somehow forgotten this, somewhere along the way.
What Gives You Joy?
To make any sort of significant change in your life, you have to accept that there will be pain.
There will be resistance; from family, friends and every corner imaginable.
People often feel frightened and threatened by change.
They bear the scars of a lifetime of conservative, social engineering that stifles creativity and original thought.
Yes, we all want to be liked.
We crave acceptance and want to make our friends and family proud. We want to be noticed; for all the right reasons.
And yet living to please and conform to others expectations is a one way ticket to mediocrity and unhappiness.
They won’t want you to do this. They won’t want you to change.
It will challenge their limited understanding of life and force them to question their very own existence.
You may have to do this completely on your own.
And it won’t be easy.
But what makes all the pain, suffering and hard work worthwhile, is finding your purpose.
You’ve got to find what you love, and pursue it.
The concept of “life coaching” has exploded in popularity in recent years; borne out of a need to find meaningful answers.
Why do I have so much, yet cherish so little?
Why, when I have the well-paid job, the beautiful wife, two healthy kids, the detached home and an annual family holiday, do I still feel like shit?
Let me ask you this:
If you knew you only had a finite amount of time to live (you do), how much time do you think you’d spend sitting at a desk doing a job you hate? Or mindlessly scrolling the Facebook feeds of your friends?
You’d spend zero time behind the fucking desk. You’d spend zero time doing a job you hate – zero time checking-in on the status update of a gin-soaked, melancholic divorcee.
We live in a world where we’re all searching for some elusive, mystical meaning to our lives.
I mean, we’ll happily work at being a better, more attentive parent.
We’ll chomp on the head of an organic lettuce if it means we’ll knock a few digits off our cholesterol score.
We’ll willingly open our minds the promise of the Far East and dabble in a bit of yoga.
Maybe even meditate.
Hell, we’ll medicate the shit out of it – whatever it is – anything to ease the pain and continue to ignore the big fat elephant in the room.
What do you really want to do? What do you really love?
Because unless you’re actually doing it, all the pills, potions, affirmations and spiritual retreats you can shoehorn into your short life won’t scratch the surface of what you crave.
We’re crushed and frozen by an irrational fear of the implications of failure; imaginary or not.
But there is no pass or fail.
Just the wonderful prospect of dying content. Without regret.
Whatever keeps gnawing away at the back of your mind – do it. And to hell with the consequences.
The alternative is that you’re still reading articles like this in ten years’ time…still working in a job you hate…for a boss you despise…with a spouse you blame…smartphone glued to your ear…while making everyone else happy – and proud.
There is no single right answer…
Rarely a calling or vocation that follows you all the way to the grave.
Just as there is no wrong turn on your journey – only the path you dare not take.
The answer is likely found in the process.
Find your passions and pursue them; through the good times and bad. Work, adapt, change, hone and refine.
If you love writing – then you must write. Spill blood on the page.
If you feel trapped and caged by societal expectations and suffocated by suburban – take flight. Travel – far and wide.
Did you once love to paint but have not erected an easel in years – or decades? Then buy, beg, borrow or steal the materials you need and paint long into the night, spewing your guts onto the canvas.
We’re born a beautiful and unlikely product of evolution.
And we know for sure that death will soon arrive.
So is it not a tragedy that we fail to honour what comes in-between?
Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!
Author: Dave Edwards
Former Parachute Regiment soldier. Fit fatty. Restless soul. Business owner.