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Sunday, September 14, 2014

What is it that you're trying to get out of life exactly and what steps should you take to get there?

Everything seems to follow a process with us as a generation, even if that same system has failed to work and carries a much proven track record.  Certain aspects of our lives and the way we live them evolved, but so many of those other attributes have only managed to follow in the steps of those who walked before us.  Laying the groundwork for our future is a great thing, but following the example of the previous generation has a tendency to result in the same failures as happened the first time around.

Our parents looked for their soul mates and married that person.
Then half of them divorced.
"They were caught up in the moment, that person wasn't their soul mate."
Considering nearly half of the people I knew growing up who have married their soul mates are also divorced tells me that nearly everyone is still getting it wrong.

We were told to work for someone, get a good retirement plan, house, kids, white picket fence.
Then the bubble burst and many of our parents forfeited that life they had built.
"Go to school!  You'll have a guaranteed opportunity when you get out."
The lucky ones found those jobs, but most aren't even using their degrees and the idea of a "career" is all but non existent.  Some of the hardest working and most motivated people I know are creeping up on thirty years old and still haven't found where they would like to be in their careers.  Others have given up and settled in or have become the corporate monsters that make people from other countries think Americans are terrible, gluttonous, excessive beings.

We were told to be ourselves and find out who we really are, but they took away our art programs or filled them with teachers who weren't passionate about what they were doing.  
They encouraged us to sit in a classroom and take tests.
They taught us that using your hands and thinking for yourself was for the meek and uneducated.
I believed this until I was in my mid-twenties, unfortunately.
I believed that I was nothing without a corner office, a formal client base, and a BMW.
I missed too many good years of not having a clue who I really am.

The media showed me that I needed to pay attention to what everyone else was doing and that reality television was real.  When you're in your twenties, you are supposed to get drunk on the weekends and party all the time.  You're supposed to make mistakes and allow yourself to be used by other people (and use them in return).  
That mindset and expectation made me realize I am an alcoholic.
When you can drink a fifth of whiskey in one sitting, wake up, function, and do it over again day-in, day-out, you are owned by that poison.  
Yeah, it almost killed me.
But that's what I was supposed to be doing, so it was okay.
Brushes with death at the mercy of a bottle is considered normal because some people still don't believe me.  They did it on TV, they did it in the movies, everyone around me did it, but I wasn't built for it.
I see many others just like me who are still stuck in the fog and have no idea.

What does this have to do with anything?
I think our beliefs need some restoration.
We were told what to do and shown the example to live by in many ways by everyone before us who had managed to either succeed or screw it all up.  A generation of creators and those who pave the way for those who come after us is what we were supposed to be, but most of us decided to live in a false sense of happiness and fall in line instead of being innovative, original, or creative.  
We would rather be influenced than be influential.
We would rather be told what to do than go in blindly and take a chance on life.  

Everything we do is defined for some reason and I don't understand it because the more you define something, the more complicated life tends to become.  
"I'll be happy when I'm married and have kids."
"I'll be happy when I find my significant other."
"I'll be happy when I make more money and don't have to work as much."
"I'll be happy when I can buy a new car every year."
Pay close attention though, and think about how this applies in your own circle:
The people I know who define their own happiness are the most unhappy people I have ever met.
You don't put your ultimate happiness on one set of terms, bank it off one situation, one person, nor a group of people.  Happiness comes with fulfillment and should be a continual process of growth, not a definition tied to a set moment in time.

Someone once told me that everything I see related to life is one or the other - black or white.
I've heard that's a character flaw, but I don't see it that way.
I would rather make a decision or come to a conclusion on one side of the fence or the other.  The middle ground, the politically correct, and the murky mess in between any discussion or opinion is where life gets complicated and stressful without justification.  It's how I write people out of my life and also how I welcome them in.  I don't consider it a flaw, I consider it a strength and an honesty to myself.

The confidence I have now came when I realized that angels aren't people.
(Stick with me, the following isn't religious, but it's making a point.)
I spent most of my life thinking that when you died, you became an angel.  Christians I knew told me this, posts on social media in times of tragedy did the same, but it wasn't until I actually looked into the idea for myself that I realized the truth.  Nowhere does it say in any ancient, religious text that people become angels when they die, but all of these scriptures are very clear in stating that angels and humans are entirely separate beings.  This is a phenomena and fabricated idea which emerged over the past thirty years or so through fictional books, movies, and television.  The thing is, this belief has been repeated so many times that people started believing it as the truth, even though it isn't written down in any of the books which found these religions.  It makes a convincing, yet fictional story though.
When I realized all of this, I realized how easy it is to make people believe anything.

It's because we're influenced instead of being influential.  
Anyone can make money, anyone can have a false sense of fulfillment, and anyone can fall in line.
We can change the machine, the method, the stereotype, and stop being typical.
We can leave the expectations behind and live life for what it is while bringing down the antiquated system of big business and a cookie cutter life.

We can do it.
We're running out of time.
We can keep bragging about what we can't take with us when we die, or we can leave behind more than some suits, debt, and empty bottles.

I went on a trip to see a friend recently and he told me something that his wife had said about her grandfather:
"She told me that after her grandfather died, she never heard about anything he was going to do, but what she did hear about was all of the incredible things he had accomplished."

Make life meaningful.
Live for you.

Grace and Peace,


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