~Ralph Waldo Emerson"
I haven't written in here since March. I felt like I was walking through a maze instead of living. So much had happened. After burying 5 family members in what was such quick succession, I felt as if I had lost my way.
Fast forward to today. I still feel like I am in some sort of a haze and some days I still feel as if I still can't find my way. So below you will find the ramblings of a mind on fire. It might not make much sense, but it is where "my" head is right now; self-observation, and pondering.
By taking a closer look at myself, I realized that I had gotten caught up in what many call "The American Dream". The pursuit of a better life. The pinnacle of success. This idea has been around for centuries and "created" by those that decided what "they" thought was the best way to live . They set out the roadmap, and told us what it is we should be looking for. It has led to what is like a barren land
I find it amazing that to this day, so many of are still trying to find this elusive "Nirvana". It is why so many are on anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and abuse drugs and alcohol. It is because, so many are trying to reach the goal set so many years ago. Everyone is heading in the same direction, and many are ending up someplace that they don't really want to be. It has led many to a barren land with little sense of refreshment.
Because we allow society to dictate what is: in, right, correct, and "normal", we set ourselves up for much disappointment. We are afraid to not appear ambitious, or as workhorses. We don't want to be labeled; slackers, or lazy, or no accounts. We don't want to be "different". We are afraid to stand up for what we individually believe in.
And so we get up each morning and go our separate ways to try to either better ourselves or to eek out some sort of living so that we can "fit" in.
In order to fill the voids and to pacify ourselves against the drudgery, we "buy" things that keep us tied to the jobs that we hate and people that we'd rather not be in the company of. All in the name of "The American Dream."
So what I don't understand is why we let other people decide what is the "right" way to live life. Why does success have a definition? What has happened to "individuality"? If I want to live in a tent in the woods and catch fish, and live off the grid, why am I considered eccentric? If I want to Homeschool my children and grow our food, why am I defined as a part of a "new trend"? If I'd rather not have the latest in video games, cell phones, computers, etc. why do people say that I am living in the past? If I am not infringing on the rights of others, why can't I just be myself and live the way that "I" want to live?
So many people are burnt out and unhappy . Yet, they can't find the way to what would truly fulfill them and bring them at least some contentment. Why? What is the missing piece of the puzzle? What is going on? And it is not just the pursuit of The American Dream, but so many other things that put us and keep us in "life ruts."
What has happened to families working together for the benefit of the unit? So many fathers (and many mothers too) are just abdicating their responsibilities in favor of "personal" fulfillment. When one person decides to just do the minimal or decides their contributions will be limited, it puts undue pressure on the other spouse, partner, or loved one. If there are children, the children suffer because the overtaxed parent simply cannot do it all and something will be sacrificed. With so many pressures to just make ends meet today, if one family member decides that they aren't willing to go the extra mile, then the whole family goes nowhere. That, or the person taking the brunt of the responsibilities burns out . How can one find true contentment and "truly" live if they are encumbered and without support of their efforts?
Will we ever find a way to really "live" if we don't teach ourselves to consume less; especially when our resources are less? Are we buying and accumulating "stuff" because we really don't know what we want in life, or how to get it? Do "things" just give us that temporary sense of contentment? That false "rush" that makes us feel that things are ok just for that fleeting moment? Because as long as we accumulate "stuff" we have to pay for it. And as long as we have to pay for it we will have to go to jobs that we detest. And as long as we go to jobs that we detest, we will be unhappy and turn to medication or other vices to cope. And it is through this despair that others will reap financial gain.
So what is the answer? I don't know that there is just "one" answer for everyone. Contrary to popular belief we are NOT a "One size fits all" Nation. It is our differences that make us a unique "unit". It is our uniqueness that we have abandoned in favor of "collective mediocrity". It is because of the mindset that "more is better" and that "we" are better if we have more, that causes the divisiveness among us, and the strain upon us.
I am of the belief that any "dream"should be defined by what makes us want to bound out of bed each morning. The things that we are passionate about, the things that we find meaning in. And no one should define what those things are for anyone else. It has to be a personal endeavor. But as we go about finding what makes us "light" up,there are still some particulars that need addressing. What so many of us seem to leave up to chance.
You have to KNOW what you want before you seek it. You have to be solid in your beliefs. You can't just "romanticize" things but have to know in the deepest part of your soul what you feel you need in order to thrive.
If you know that the life that you desire is not conducive to a family and children, PLEASE don't get married and encumber someone else. If you KNOW that you aren't "family" oriented and that the responsibilities that go along with it are not in your character or make-up, be a man or a woman and do not subject others to the limitations that you set for yourself.
If you just have to be with someone, make SURE that the person that you choose is as close to your value system as possible. Don't fall for that; Love is blind, love conquers all, they'll change for me, bullshit. Because it isn't, it doesn't, and they wont!! If you don't align yourself as close as possible to someone that has similar passions and perspectives, you'll spend your life floundering. And life is just way to short to constantly have to start over in it. It would be better to just be alone than to be with someone that has no clue, enthusiasm, or respect for the things that are important to you. Because there is no perfection to be found in ourselves or other humans, it is imperative not to make foolish choices, or ones laced in emotion.
Once we figure out what we need to thrive, we need to be aware of the sacrifices that might come along with it. We have to KNOW what we are "honestly" willing to give up, and what we are not. We have to erase the picture that society has created and paint our "own" portrait. We have to be willing to take chances and to fail. We cannot succeed "collectively" as long as we lack "individually".
American Dream? For me, there isn't one. I don't know that I want what everyone else aspires to. All I know is what ignites my passion. And these are simple things. I have to stop losing my focus on this. I have to stop allowing myself to be steamrolled under the constraints of things that have little to no importance to me. I have to set and "maintain" a "Personal Dream". A dream that embraces my children and those that make up my family. I have to continue to put in the work that will bring the components of my passions into my life "now" as I work towards the rest.
I find that every time I deviate from that path, I find myself in a place that I have no desire to be. It leaves me feeling suffocated. Short of breath. And if I ever stopped breathing....how would "my" dream ever come true?
Till next time...