I am sitting in bed on a beautiful Friday afternoon. The dogs are quiet, the pool fountain is purring, and I just picked up a book that reminded me that I like to write. I know I am not particularly good at it. I know people who are copywriters, and editors of magazines - so with every dangling participle and over used comma, I think to myself "God if they read this they must be wincing with pain throughout the entire piece." But I like to do it. So I am going to keep doing it. (While silently making an oath to brush up on my grammar and more technical writing skills...)
I have pages and pages of ideas in my journal. One of them being that we are never going to get there. You know, "there." The nirvana life where we are always happy and we excel at everything we do and everything meets our expectations. Where the grandkids play nicely and the house is always clean and it's warm outside but not too warm and we enjoy our families, lives, friends, and surroundings every day. We do everything with ease and we are grateful and nice and happy and satisfied. You know, the dream. Admit it, you want the dream. Everyone wants the dream.
The problem with the dream is that you have to work at something to excel at it, you have to raise kids to have grandkids, someone has to clean the house for it to be clean, the weather is unpredictable, and our families and friends are their own people with their own agendas who don't have to do what we want them to. We might have glimpses of this life (I'm sure all of us do, some more often than others) but it's not realistic to think that if we live our lives in a certain way, we will earn a spot in the dream life film reel.
We can try to cultivate a mentality that supports ease, grace, and peacefulness amidst the chaos of life. Which I do think is much more attainable than trying to live in such a way that we are "rewarded" with a happy disposition. But this still leaves room for error. We can't always be patient, we can't always be peaceful, and we won't always be stoic in the face of trauma. That is the beauty of life. Being alive means we feel everything. To numb the bad means we numb the good as well.
If you are anything like me, you want to get the most out of this humanity thing. Which means we have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes life will irk on us to the point where we finally lose our shit.
Which is kind of my point. If we realize there is no "there," or final utopian destination (at least not here on earth...) we are then met with two emotions. The first is a feeling of hopelessness. "What am I fighting for then? Is all hope lost? What's the use?" But if we hang around long enough, the second emotion shows up and trumps the first - because it's freedom. Absolute freedom.
If I know nothing I do is going to earn me that dream life, then I might as well spend this time doing shit that I love. Once "perfection" goes out the window, so does all the stress and judgement that goes with it. Seriously, as I write that I can literally feel the weight lift off my shoulders. If you know you are never going to be the perfect mom, you can just enjoy your kids a little more. If you know you are never going to be perfect at yoga, you can just enjoy your practice a little more. If you know you are never going to have a perfect life then you can fill it with things that you believe in.
You're never going to get there. Sorry, but you're not. You're never going to be perfect, you're never going to be happy all the time, you're never going to feel totally satisfied and amped and ready for life every day.. You can be grateful and appreciative and know that the good feelings come and go and the bad feelings come and go. But you are never going to feel "good" all the time.
You can meditate, or pray, or workout, or do all the things that are supposed to make you happy...and they probably will for some time. But they aren't going to get you to a place where everything is perfect. And if someone tells you they have the final answer to how you can always feel good, then I say run in the completely opposite direction. If someone seems like they are "good" all the time, just remember that's not possible. No one is immune to life. And honestly, if they were, then that would be pretty fucking boring in my opinion.
Now, I am not saying that these things won't come together as ingredients to create a satisfying, beautiful life. Enjoying a home you worked hard for and a family you raised from tiny children into respectable adults is rewarding I'm sure - I can see this pride in every grandparents eye at every family BBQ I have ever been to. But it doesn't guarantee immunity to life's emotional theme park, and it is naive of us to think that we can somehow earn a life that removes us from the ups and downs of being human.
I am also not saying that we should all walk around with our heads hung low, kicking rocks and feeling sorry for ourselves because life is hard. I'm just saying that we should stop wasting our time trying to get to a destination that doesn't exist. That we should stop spending money, time, and experiences at the expense of something that will never reward us the way we picture it in our minds. It doesn't exist here.
You're never going to get there...so what do you want to do instead?