We live in a culture that spoon feeds us contradictions right from the beginning.
On the one side, we are told to never settle or accept less than what will make us truly fulfilled and happy. The mere hint of settling in life is an abomination against our potential and our dreams that burn like little sparks of amazeballs inside of us. We were meant for more than to just go to work and die. You can be anything that you want to be when you grow up. The only limits are the ones that you place on yourself. Never give up. Keep striving and reaching for the stars. Mediocrity and complacency are the slow death of our souls’ brilliance. I could go on, but you all know the speech.
Flip over to the other camp and you have the face slap that hits us all at one time or another. All of a sudden, the lessons learned and internalized from years of inspirational posters with perfectly graphic enhanced words of wisdom are shot down. We are told to get our heads out of the sand. To be realistic and be grateful for what you have. That the reason you are unhappy is because you are never satisfied – what is wrong with you? You’re greedy. You would be happier if you would just stop searching and instead, appreciate what you do have. Stop all that wanting and seeking for more, different, better, simpler… insert your preference here. Then, at some point, we may even get the cherry on top tossed at us – Everyone is unhappy and dissatisfied, what makes you think you should be any different? Just think about everyone out there who has it worse than you.
So where does that leave us? Sure, we have the drive or the lack of it inside of ourselves. But we also have everything around us that leaves us like the proverbial squirrel in the road. Not sure what to do or in which direction to go. Like that ill-fated tree rat, we stall and do nothing, hunkering down and waiting for who knows what; and we all know how that story ends. The often remarked “no one gets out alive” adage assures us that death will eventually come along and finish our story for us, the way IT wants.
We can sit and watch that hapless squirrel l and determine, from our safe vantage point that offers a different perspective, that both directions have potentially good or bad outcomes but staying there has an almost certain outcome of bad.
We have people in our lives that fan the flames of our desires with us, often times for us. These are the people who see your flames flickering out and pull out the moss and twigs and lichen (or dryer lint and balled up tissues – we all roll the way we roll) and they nurse the flames back to life with us. If you have them, those people in your corner are indeed something to be grateful for. Our society has even developed to the point where you can hire people to be there for you and stoke your fires. People who can help keep you from sliding into the pool of complacency and stagnation. What a time to live in.
To return to the dilemma of complacency though; how do you know which side of the edge you are sitting on? Do you need to kick yourself in the pants – or have someone else do it for you – to get yourself out of the Swamp of Sadness that surrounds you because you feel like there has to be more out there? (bonus points if a vision on Artax and Atreyu just flashed in your mind there)? Or are you mature and informed about your life, options and potential enough to simply be making an intelligent decision to be okay with where you are and to understand the difference between a dream and a fantasy for your goals in life?
For each of us, it could go both ways at any given time. Eventually, like the squirrel, you will run out of time to decide though and there are no do-overs. Just ask pancake road squirrel if you doubt that. Sorry to say that there isn’t an easy answer or one that can apply to everyone. Just don’t be complacent about questioning complacency in your life. That’s definitely not something to be complacent about.