I just got off the phone with a family friend whom I’ll call Kate.
Kate’s been at the same job for 30 years – a professional job – and, at the time in her life when she’s hoping for “retirement”, she’s still working 10-plus hour-days, with no idea when that retirement day is coming.
“You’re still working at 7:00 at night”? I ask.
“It’s a long day,” she says.
Hearing this plunged me into a state of deep sadness for Kate. She voted for Trump because, “I just wanted to try something different.” I don’t bother talking to her about her uninformed choice anymore; I’m pretty sure that, like so many other perfectly-decent people who started out wanting something “different”, she’s horrified at just how “different” the thing is that she got.
But this is not meant to be a political post. Quite contrarily, it’s meant to be a metaphorical one.
Kate has been at the same job for at least 30 years, as I’ve already told you. She’s been married to the same man for more years than that. She never goes anywhere, has never been anywhere (besides a yearly trip to Florida with her family). She lives a routine life driven by her love and connection to her immediate and extended family. She is an exceptionally loving and decent woman.
Now I don’t know about you, but to me this lifestyle would have driven me around the bend a long, long time ago. Quite frankly, I don’t understand people who can stay at the same job for decades and have no interest in going anywhere or creating new experiences. In fairness, I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t understand the way I live, either.
Now, granted, when a person has been doing the same, basic routine for more than 30 years, don’t you think that they would want something different?
The problem is that if you don’t define that “something different”, which resides inside the confines of your own mind, heart and soul – inside the realm of your own life – then you leave yourself at the whim and the mercy of Life itself, much like that plastic bag blowing around in the film, AMERICAN BEAUTY.
If you’re ignorant to the possibility of having dominion over your own life, it stands to reason that you might start looking outside of your own life to shake things up a bit.
As a metaphorsician (I made up that word), I believe that, in large part, the people who chose the president who currently holds office did so out of a common desire for something different, as did Kate.
If you have never taken the time to ask yourself, of yourself, “Who am I?” and “What do I need?” and are always proclaiming that “life got in the way” of your dreams and aspirations, then your only options for any kind of change are outside of you.
Congratulations! You’ve become a hapless victim of your own life.
It’s just like waiting in front of your bingo cards, marker poised in hand, hoping, hoping that the winning number you need will eventually pop out of the hopper.
It usually doesn’t.
That’s the thing about being afraid and living your life out of ignorance of your unlimited possibility. If you never become aware of your potential to author your own life, your entire life ends up driven by systems outside of your control.
Do this long enough and you become resigned and cynical.
After that, it’s just a coupla more steps to the grave.