Is it just me or has anybody else noticed that an awful lot of people seem to be really unhappy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about people in foreign countries facing war, genocide and extreme poverty and hunger. Or even those closer to home enduring those same things (though I think the idea of people in first world countries facing those things will spark an entirely different rant - I mean, hunger and poverty in the supposedly advanced nations? Seriously?)
No, what I want to talk about here is the everyday people most of us get to encounter on a day-to-day basis. Have you ever stopped and looked at the expressions on most people's faces? I mean, seriously, they are not happy. I used to think that maybe I was simply catching them on a bad day. But, so many and all the time? The more I looked, the more I noticed that nearly everyone wore that same expression. A sort of neutral, funked-out apathy that suggested that life was something they were enduring and not something they were enjoying living.
Now, I'm sure they all had their reasons - bad job, economic situation, relationship, etc, - but if that was the case, why weren't they changing those things - and yes I know, sometimes you can't, but that doesn't account for everyone, does it? And, even if you can't change things immediately, what happened to accepting your current situation and working toward something better? There's something to be said for the idea that you get what you give. If you approach the world with a smile and a positive thought you might be pleasantly surprised when the world hands that back to you. And even if it doesn't, your own smile and joy will lighten the loads you're forced to carry.
I've heard it said that life is short and that life is fragile, but may I suggest that life is way too long to go through it miserable. If you're not finding some joy in your life, if you're not finding some reason to hop out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face and an excitement about the coming day, then I ask you, why not? Is there something you'd rather be doing? If so, how do you make that happen?
It sounds ridiculously cliche to say; follow your heart or follow your dreams. People roll their eyes at me whenever I suggest it. They say things like - I can't right now. My life is to complicated. It's not a good time. Or my personal favourite - Oh that's fine for you, I wish I could, but I have responsibilities. My response to these comments is generally the same: "Um, okay" and a small, sympathetic smile. But, lets set the record straight:
1. There is never a good time, so stop waiting for it. Sometimes you just have to live the change.
2. Not everyone chases their dream the same way. I was fortunate to be able to quit my job for a while to pursue it full time, but not everyone is in that boat. Sometimes the dream can be pursued while you do other things.
3. Kids are not an excuse not to follow your dream, they are a reason to embrace it. Parents are role-models for their children - both good and bad.
4. No one is going to hand you your dream. You need to live it. You need to work at it.
I'm at a loss here. What's going on? Do people think they don't deserve to be happy? Are people afraid to follow their dreams? I mean, everyone deserves to be happy. It's a state of mind and a wonderful endorphin rush. As for the fear, I'll let you in on a wonderful secret, the joy isn't in the attainment of the dream but in the pursuit of it. - Would I love to be a world famous author? Of course I would. But until that day arrives, I'm just happy to be telling my stories.
So, don't be surprised when you pass me on the street and you see the stupid grin that's taken up nearly perpetual residence on my face. I've never been happier and I hope I can soon welcome you to the club :D