This is my life: I grew up in a pretty typical lower-middle class family, went to school, graduated as an average student and then eventually graduated with a college degree — again as a pretty average guy. I got married, have two daughters and am working at a corporate job that is kind of — well, average. It’s close to being aligned to my core abilities and passions. Close. I coach sports, try to stay active and hope to one day meet my grandchildren. If I’m lucky I will get another 30 years or so. There have been a few moments where I have done extraordinary things, but for the most part I’m on the same boring script we all follow: get born, get your papers, go to work, get married, have children and die.
What’s your story?
I’ll bet it’s more or less the same as mine. There may be variations in the margins. There may be moments where you or I stretched beyond our safety belt and lunged for something a little outside our easy reach. But at the end of it all, that’s all. Almost universally, society’s rules put us in a figurative box long before we’re literally boxed and buried.
We accept it because we’re raised to never question our role; to not deviate from the norm. And I’m not bitter about that. In fact I love my life, despite some nasty dips and drops mostly caused by my own stupidity. I’m happy and healthy, I have options and opportunties that many people don’t have. But there’s more, much more — the only problem is how to reach out and get that more that makes a difference. When every given day is scheduled and planned to be given to someone else in the pursuit of something else other than your own ambitions, breaking through and realizing your dreams is a daunting challenge.
I love my life. But I am not living the life I was meant to live. Not entirely.
Here is where I would be requried to give advice on how to do those things, to draft a few subheads and bulletpoints on the way to Happy Town. You know the drill: create a plan and work the plan. Write a mission statement. Buy another audio book about how to sharpen your saw. The truth is that I have no idea. I’ve read the books and listened to the experts. I’ve spent long hours thinking about things, meditating on them, and I still have no idea except for one damn thing that keeps bucking up against the side of my head.
Just get on with it.
Whatever it is that i was meant to do, I should do until I can make a life doing it. Or — and this is worth a bulletpoint — I finally realize that I suck. At that point I probably should consider a new thing to do, or not.
The point is that we are old enough now to know that at the end of life, satisfaction will not be based on dollars earned but on differences made, stories told and memories gained.