Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is That What I Truly Want?

In the many years we have known each other, I‘ve always heard my friend Caroline complain of the fact that she lives alone and has no children. Yet, every time she comes to my house for the day – and is exposed to the zoo of family life for more than an hour – she is ready to bolt out the door and find the peace and solitude she habitually claims to hate.
I often hear people complain about everything; their spouses, their homes, their jobs, their children, the time they spend alone. As humans, we spend a great deal of our time focusing on, and complaining about, what we don’t have, never really ready to acknowledge the fact that what we do have is truly what’s right for us.
We behave similarly in relation to weather conditions. In the winter we dream of being somewhere warm; we complain of the cold and rain, and can hardly wait for the dog days of summer, when, once again, we’ll be able to shed the heavy clothes and feel the hot kiss of sunshine on our skin. Yet, as soon as summer comes - after just a few weeks - we complain of the heat, and talk dreamily of the cool weather we will experience in the fall and winter.
Opposite conditions allow us to appreciate what we normally take for granted.
Many can relate to the excitement felt when company is ready to come visit; we plan wonderful moments and are eager to catch up on conversations; yet, after a few days, we are ready to claim back the life we had, our routines, our moments alone. It’s not that we don’t love the company, but we are ready to be back in our own space.
Ultimately, if we never lost our jobs, we’d never appreciate the sense of security which derives from being employed; if we never had a day of rain, we’d never appreciate a day of sunshine; if we never had anyone treating us wrong, we’d never recognize, or appreciate, a true friend when he or she comes along.
We can choose to look at our seemingly unfulfilled lives and experiences as a sentence we are forced to serve, but by doing so we only rob ourselves from the opportunity of being happy.
At times, changes are in order and can improve our lives, but often we simply need to make an honest assessment of how much we truly wish for things to be altered. We can begin by asking ourselves if our lives would be better or worse if we take a different turn.
When we look at the neighbor’s grass, and wish it was our own, we should also ask ourselves if we’d be happy and ready to commit to the daily amount of work required to keep it so green.

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