Food for Thought (Mmmm)
It is a cold and blistery winter morning. The dreaded sound of your shrill alarm clock is ringing through ears, like a small child shrieking to be fed, and as you reach over to turn it off, you realize just how warm and comfortable your bed happens to be. All you want to do is just lay there and cherish the soft, fluffy sheets, and the mere thought of gobbling down a dry bagel from the cabinet as you rush off to spend your entire day in an office is far worse than any horror film. What do you do?
Well, the most obvious answer (one that I have been guilty of several times) is to call is and fake sick in order to take the day off. But as good as that sounds, it does nothing to solve the problem as a whole. It is a quick and temporary fix that lets you escape the suffering of the daily grind today, but tomorrow it's back to the old routine. Only now, you have one less sick day than before.
Then there is the second option: quit your job. Although this may seem liberating at first, you will no longer have an income, need to commit yourself to finding a new job, and likely have no idea where to start or what you want. So now, what do you do? Just groan at all this, suck it up and head out to the office, pissed off at yourself and the the world? Well, unless you're a masochist, please don't.
Think about it. You (and as I mentioned, me) wanted to take the day off because going to your job would make you unhappy, or, to put it another way, would cause you suffering. Sometimes we need to think why. Why do you not want to go to work? Why don't you like your job? Is it boring and pointless? Is it stressful or unfulfilling? Is your boss an obnoxious prick that you cannot stand being around? Maybe it is even a combination of things. (I only use a job as an example because it is something that is easy to relate to. It could be lifestyle, your living environment, a relationship, or even yourself.)
Today, so much exists to mask suffering and discomfort. If you hurt your leg, there are painkillers. If you feel sad or depressed, there is Prozac. If you feel unfulfilled or empty inside, there is a shopping center right down the block. In the end, however, these are all just masks. That isn't to say that masks are meaningless (if your leg is in agony, by all means. take a painkiller), but they do not address the actual core of the problem.
Acknowledge it. Acknowledge what is wrong or what you do not like, and if you do not know, be introspective and try to figure it out. Then, once you know and understand the problem, you can start actively healing and working toward something better. If your job feels meaningless, think of what you find to be meaningful and look for work that corresponds to it. If your back is in chronic pain, go to physical therapy and start doing yoga. And sometimes we may need the mask to get started. I sure did with the fake sick days (which were used to look for a type of work that could allow me to travel the world). But the main point is to take action.
All too often we do not do anything to change the problem because we fear the uncertainty of the unknown, but it is only through this uncertainty can we better ourselves and live the lives we find meaningful and bring us joy. Think about it this way. What is worse: to jump into the realm of uncertainty and try for something greater, or to condemn yourself to years and years of the same swamp of conditions troubling you now?
Well, guess what. We are already living in uncertainty. So much goes on out of our control every single day wether we like it or not. I, using a more extreme example, could get hit by a bus or choke to death on my breakfast tomorrow for all I know. However, remembering that there is this constant uncertainty can make the risks and effort needed to work towards the lives we hope to live seem far less scary.
For me, I want to explore this strange planet that we call Earth, see nature in its many forms, and share my experiences with people from all over. So, I began became an ESL teacher, began traveling, and started this blog. And this goes for anyone. If you love music, take up a new instrument, write a song, or find a way to record an album. If you like telling stories, find a way to write and publish a book (or contribute to this blog!). And if you really care about a cause, find an organization that works on its behalf.
The point is, this life as we know it is our one chance to be our best, most fulfilled self, and it's temporary. We do not have forever, so go for it and do something amazing or interesting because you can. And yes, there is always the chance when you try that you may not accomplish what you hope, but if you never try, you will not accomplish any of it. Ladies and gentlemen, see you on the road!