It’s been a rough couple of days for me, not that we all don’t have our own personal and professional issues we’re forced to handle. I’m sure you will all agree though some days are a lot tougher than others.
But as I rolled out of bed and sat down with my first cup of coffee this morning, I realized for so long; I’ve just been going through the motions of living, day to day, week to week, month to month.
You get the idea.
It’s interesting how we take the things we do for granted. Get up, get ready, go to work to pay the bills, spend precious time with our partners or friends, then go to bed and do it all over again the next day.
Of course, most of us get the weekend to decompress, but there’s a lot of personal things we all need to do crammed into those two days. So, we set about trying to get stuff out of the way that’s been hanging around all week. All that stuff that’s been nagging at our thoughts.
Aside from spending precious time with our partners or friends, it’s all pretty mundane and ordinary.
These are the times when living is just a thing we do.
But we do it because we certainly aren’t relishing the alternative. There’s a saying in my neck of the woods: Any day above ground and vertical is a great day.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Any day alive is undoubtedly much better than being a cold, stiff corpse rotting in a grave somewhere.
Look, I’m not promoting offing yourselves, folks, far from it.
I just want you to think about how we as human beings sometimes, most times, settle into life ruts, automatically performing the actions of living without benefit of a real purpose.
We do it because we need to do it, mindlessly performing tasks like a zombie.
Without all the brain-eating, of course.
How many walking zombies do you know?
Are you one?
How many friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or associates have you met who seem like they’re spending time on a hamster wheel because they believe that’s what they need to do to have a beautiful life?
Have you chosen to merely exist in the world of the mundane because you don’t want to think or worry too much? I realized this morning that’s what I’ve done for a lot of years.
I’m sorry/not sorry, but living like this ain’t living. It’s become just another thing we do.
So how do we discover more? Again, sorry, there are no easy answers to this question. Each of us finds a way to soldier on in our unique fashion.
Perhaps right about now, you may be thinking about spicing up things a little bit.
You know, becoming an adrenaline junkie.
Jumping out of a plane without a chute and trying your hand at being Rocky the flying squirrel.
Uh, no. Not for me, thanks, but if that’s what floats your boat, then by all means, rock on.
*I’m certainly no expert, and I have no degrees in psychology, so this next bit is purely opinions from someone whose been there, done that, and has the trophy and T-shirt.
What I’m talking about is looking for, and finding, meaning for your actions. I’m talking about not falling into that living-is-just-a-thing-you-do trap.
To do this, you need to pair your brain with your heart.
Not an easy task by any means because each of us has two sides, which most of the time function in constant conflict. The logical part of you, your brain, rationalizes that creature comforts are necessary for your well-being.
But the emotional side of you, your heart, longs to be creative in some fashion.
You want to sing and dance, you want to paint, write, or sculpt, you need this outlet in order to be happy.
And yet, if you’re like most of us, the creative side isn’t paying the bills for the moment, so we’re forced to push the feelings aside, re-engage the logical side of our brains, and away we go, performing the same life-sustaining actions year after year.
And the entire time, we keep looking back, immersing ourselves in the emotional, creative side wishing we could flip things around because we know in our heart that’s what living is all about.
Our hearts are telling us it’s what we were born to do. That’s who we really are, what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives.
And in doing so, when we begin to let the emotional side gain traction, it ties us up in knots and makes us feel unworthy, unhappy, frustrated, incomplete.
Yeah, it sucks, don’t it?
So how do we win this constant battle between our search for meaning and struggles to exist in this world?
As I said earlier, we need to pair our brains with our hearts. We need to understand if the creative side makes us happy, gives meaning to our existence, then we need to create.
We need to wedge those creative moments into the tiny slots of our lives provided by the very act of living out our days on this planet. Whether it’s ten minutes a day, or perhaps an entire weekend of letting your passions loose.
Forging a creative legacy is tough, but it can be done, and most of us, if we really need or want to, will find a way to do it. That’s why I create, although sometimes my emotional side gains more than a foothold and takes control.
When it does, I have to slap the crap out of myself and recognize there’s a time to work to pay the bills and a time to create.
But the great thing is, each time I create something it adds to the legacy I want to be remembered by.
I may not be creating all the time because I have to make a living, but I am, at that special moment in time, creating something.
I don’t want to be remembered as just that guy who worked as an IT project manager all his life and was a great father and husband.
I want to be remembered as that writer who was a great father and husband.
In the grand scheme of things, compared to how long this spinning globe we’re attached to has existed, the length of our lives is but a blink of an eye.
The older we get, the less time is on our side, so it stands to reason for this grandpa I need to spend more time looking for a life that makes me happy and fulfilled.
Yes, I, just like everybody else, have to make a living and pay the bills, but I also need to stoke that creative fire inside to validate my belief I’m living the life I was meant to live.
Tomorrow, I’ll go in and punch the clock and hit the ground running at work, but not today.
Today I’m creating.
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