You’d like to be thinner, but you enjoy pretty good health.
The car is really boring, but it’s paid for.
He’s doesn’t share your values, but he’s willing to help in an emergency.
The fog is too heavy to see through, but the golden and red leaves covering the path under your feet are so lovely.
You’d really rather be over there, but you’re okay here.
They say being able to delay gratification is a sign of maturity. But what about the yearning for it that won’t go away? The incessant buzzing like a mosquito in your ear that keeps telling you hey, you’re supposed to be someplace else. Doing something else. With someone else. Living this other life. You know, the one you live in your head.
Is it enough to practice gratitude every day? Or do we have to go deeper….finding the shutoff valve in the very back of our head where our parents’ voices, our teachers’ voices, and whoever else we’ve invited to take up space keep telling us how it all should be. As my mother used to say, “how the cow ate the cabbage.”
Technology isn’t much help. Even though we’re boomers and we lived many years not having so many things at our fingertips, we’re getting spoiled too. A recent Psychology Today article touched on how so many younger people have been conditioned to think everything comes as quick and easy as a Google search. Like relationships:
“Young people are lacking a sense of meaning and feeling unsatisfied at a deep level. Simultaneously, there has been a deterioration in the depth, reliability, and connectedness of friendships and relationships in general. The reason, in part, for these unfortunate changes is that we have taken the values and expectations that we have learned through our relationship with technology, and applied them to all of life. And yet, immediacy and ease, as values for the more profound aspects of our existence, don’t work.”
Things take effort. Change can hurt. It’s not easy to get in shape. Get a better job. Make a scary move. Cut all your hair off and dye your head pink. Whatever it is, it’s not just going to happen. You have to put in the effort.
Maybe sometimes the real lesson comes in just sitting in confusion. Enduring the anxiety that arises when the way ahead is not clear. Actually being still.
As Wendell Berry says:
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.”
Could that be true? If so, it’s actually kind of encouraging. Because instead of feeling like you’re at the end of the road, it means there’s another path ahead. One that will take you somewhere new and maybe unexpected…but maybe exactly where you need to be.
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit and think about it. Go out and get busy.”