Who Said It Was My Right to Have an Easy Life?
I feel like I spent first 35 years of my life focused on just two things. One of them was doing everything I could to correct the trajectory my parents’ astonishingly poor choices set my life on. And the other has been feeling like something went terribly wrong because of that.
I live in a culture that has a very powerful and pervasive narrative that says life is supposed to go a certain way for me as an American. Life is supposed to look a certain way, I’m entitled to certain things, and if that doesn’t happen then something has gone wrong and I should be pissed about it.
Recently though I find myself asking “says who?”
Who’s to say that my entire life hasn’t been spent doing exactly what I needed to be doing? I was learning, I was making mistakes, I was making improvements, and most importantly, I was making forward progress in terms of who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
Where'd this idea come from that we have the right to be happy? Because we don't have that right, we do have that ability though.
America is a country that’s obsessed with the idea of magic pills, quick fixes, and with appearances.
Not happy with your weight? Don’t worry about eating well or exercising—just take this pill.
Not happy with your financial situation? Don’t work hard or change your lifestyle—just get famous or try this other get-rich-quick scheme over here.
We’re also encouraged to size up and compare ourselves to basically everyone we see around us. But when we compare appearances to appearances instead of looking at the essence of people and their situations, what are we really able to determine?
Some people look at someone like Donald Trump and think that because he has material wealth or a “hot” wife he’s got it made.
Donald Trump might have some material things that much of the world equates with “the good life,” but the man is a hate-filled junk yard inside. He might be able to distract others with his status, or distract himself with his toys, or convince people that his arrogance is anything other than fearful posturing to hide profound feelings of inadequacy, but none of that changes what’s inside of him.
When you look closely, the details of our lives look very different from all of the other lives around us, and the reality is that in order to make anything approaching an accurate comparison between one person and another, you would have to factor in _every single detail_ that makes them who they are.
When we try to do that we quickly realize that comparing one person to another is not only virtually impossible, it’s actually quite meaningless.
So when we feel like something has gone wrong and things aren’t turning out how movies, or songs, or our parents told us it was supposed to go, does that mean life broke? Or, was there maybe just something inaccurate in what the authors of those things believed and told us?
What we _think_ about life and what life _actually is_ are often very different things. Discrepancies between the two don’t mean anything has gone wrong, it just means that sometimes people make erroneous conclusions.
I don’t know what I don’t know, you don’t know what you don’t know, and that person over there doesn’t know what they don’t know. We can’t see all that there is to see from our individual vantage points, and sometimes we simply assemble the pieces of available information in incorrect ways.
Right now I’m working on some pretty in-depth posts that explore what I think are really important aspects of these challenges.
I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you, and I’m not abandoning the project. What I’m creating is rather involved, so it might take a little time between posts to establish the foundation of this Hug the Universe project.