Rethinking EVERYTHING…Really???

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by Kenneth Justice

~ Yesterday at coffee I ran into a friend I took a few college classes with back in the day,

Kenneth, I’m thinking about changing my entire life. I left my husband, quit my job, and I’m thinking about moving down South” she said

In her mid-thirties, I’m not sure if she’s having a mid-life crisis or if simply grew to hate her life,

I just woke up one day last year” she said, “and I realized that I absolutely hated my life. I go to work, come home and do chores, talked to my husband about stupid s**t, went to sleep and did it all over again. There hasn’t been anything in my life that is fulfilling or meaningful. It’s all just a revolving day of nothingness that doesn’t matter” she said

When I was in school years ago studying for my psychology degree I had to write a couple essays on the whole phenomena of the ‘mid-life crisis’, and what stood out to me is that researchers were finding it was happening to people at a much younger age than in decades past.

In Western Society we place a lot of emphasis on finding the right career or meaningful activities that give our life a greater sense of meaning and purpose, and while that might not be a bad thing; some of the countries that demonstrate the highest levels of happiness among the people are rather simple cultures.

It’s in quite a few third world countries where researchers have recorded the highest levels of happiness and contentment that people experience,

—) It’s in cultures where people aren’t rushing around from one activity to the next where they tend to be more at peace

—) It’s in cultures where people aren’t a slave to their day planner and calendar where they tend to have less anxiety and depression

—) It’s in cultures where they have less material goods that we find people more at peace with their lives

Western society has evolved into a beast of production; we work, we buy, we eat. We do it over and over again day after day, but to what point? Is it really worth it to own a bigger house or to go on more expensive vacations? What really matters in life? When you’re eighty five years old, what do you want your life to look like? When you’re a hundred and five years old and nearing your final breath, what do you want to look back at your life and be proud of?

My friend from school is questioning everything in life, “I’m going to live down South for a year or so and if I don’t find any answers there I think I’ll move on to the next place” she said

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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33 replies

  1. Great post. She is definitely at a crossroads of sorts. Not sure if the place she’s looking for is external or internal./

  2. “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” Richard Rohr – mid-life crisis might be the threshold for some between one and the other?

  3. Changing spouse, changing job, changing place… but not changing self. Wonder how that’s going to work out?

  4. “It’s in quite a few third world countries where researchers have recorded the highest levels of happiness and contentment that people experience,

    —) It’s in cultures where people aren’t rushing around from one activity to the next where they tend to be more at peace

    —) It’s in cultures where people aren’t a slave to their day planner and calendar where they tend to have less anxiety and depression

    —) It’s in cultures where they have less material goods that we find people more at peace with their lives”

    These are some of the reasons why I want to turn into a duck and fly to India. I am so tired of being in America. The lifestyle here is too fast for me and people are afraid to talk about anything besides sports or the weather.

    • But you can have those values here in America. You don’t HAVE to rush around or be a slave to your computer screen or phone or day planner. If you can’t let go of the things that make you crazy “here”, you won’t be able to find peace in any “there”. We decided long ago that other folks expectations of our status were not important to us. It deeply irritated my mother and some of our old work mates that we enjoy just sitting and chatting with a friend/loved one over a cup of coffee or a cigar for hours on end. And those people drifted away out of our life. We still have plenty of folks who DO enjoy what we enjoy and we regularly solve the world’s problems together (at least in conversation!) Even when I was still working a 9-6 job I found time for this, as well as getting back to nature by camping every 3-day weekend I could carve out. Doing that meant that I didn’t join professional groups or attend after-hours meetings or “develop my career” or do any of the myriad “things one ought to do”. Now we’re retired and still find we have to tell folks “no, we don’t want to join” this or that. Scurrying is not part of our life and no one can make us do so.

  5. “In Western Society we place a lot of emphasis on finding the right career or meaningful activities that give our life a greater sense of meaning and purpose, and while that might not be a bad thing; some of the countries that demonstrate the highest levels of happiness among the people are rather simple cultures.

    It’s in quite a few third world countries where researchers have recorded the highest levels of happiness and contentment that people experience”

    Nigerians are the happiest people on Earth. We are happy not because we don’t feel the need for a deeper meaning to our lives, but with the prevalent rot in our society, most citizen have given up hope for change and learnt to live with our lot.
    There’s also the deep rooted culture of the Third World. They aren’t things one can change easily, and there aren’t very effective faculties to check them either. So again we learn to live with our lot.
    It’s what we call ‘suffering and smiling’, imbibing the Nigerian spirit (I daresay it’s the same for most Third World countries too).

    I think the problem with the western world is the level of freedom they’ve been allowed. Everything can be questioned and one set of culture has given way for a totally new (arguably more destructive) one.

    Perhaps the fellow who said ‘freedom is slavery’ was right after all?

  6. I say that happiness and contentment is found most often in the things that we hold onto. Running and rebuilding brings exhaustion. Take time to appreciate what’s already in front of you, and you may find that that’s all, and exactly what you need.

  7. Her life couldn’t be that bad, or she wouldn’t have started doing it that way. I think she simply needs to learn how to stop. Anything looks awful when you’ve had too much… food, sex, work, community. In the morning I find it works better if instead of trying to force myself into the day, I just sit on the edge of the bed awhile. I think about whatever, and before I know it, I’ve risen and begun the morning. If I have work to do, I just sit and stare at it until I find myself beginning.

  8. On the other hand, is she manic/depressive?

  9. First you need to FIND what you are searching for!

  10. Hmm, perhaps the wisdom on this link to a plethora of Vedic knowledge, may help put things into perspective: http://vedabase.com/en Love and light 🙂

  11. Americans run from one activity to the other as a means to avoid being still with their thoughts and to process experiences. We live in a society where being ‘busy,’ is respectable. The more busy you are, the more important you must be. In reality, though, the more we do, the more time we need to sit with thoughts and check in with ourselves.

  12. Understanding the past, it’s worth changing the future. We all have made changes and if we don’t enjoy our journey, destination might be a disappointment.
    Great post!

  13. Very interesting indeed. It truly is a gift to be humble.

  14. Well, there’s the problem: she’s talking about stupid s**t and not stuff that matters. Part of feeling fulfilled and connected means being honest and vulnerable with people. Also, marriage isn’t exciting all the time (shocker, I know). It’s mostly just doing life together.

    Investing in one’s passions and other people is a good path to contentment. We’re all fed the notion that if we find the perfect job/mate/income/location, we’ll be blissful. Not so. It comes from being.

  15. So many good comments so far. Not knowing this lady, it is difficult to say exactly what’s going on in her head/life. I have found that, for myself anyway, putting others, including God, before myself brings me great joy. From what you wrote, she seems to put herself before all others, and has found no joy.

  16. Agreeing with mindpulp1 in that the comments so far have all been very good. It does look however as though this person is simply tired of being tired, but I have learnt that life is what you make it (and not what others make of it for you). I’m honestly not sure that leaving her husband and her job will help her to love her life more but I am hoping that at the end of the day, whatever process she chooses, will find her in a much happier place than she is now.

  17. I’ve been finding myself since the sixties . . . and I hope I never do . . .

  18. I think I had a “mid life crisis” when I was 19. I hope that isn’t saying I’m in for a short life, hah. I changed more than most are happy with… we’ll see where that takes me.

  19. And THAT right there is why I just quit my job! Couldn’t agree more.

  20. Sounds like she had a pretty descent life, It might be likely that she’ll wake up maybe 10 years from now…alone; wondering where normal went, but who knows. I get frustrated with my own life, and at times does it seem mundane…sure. Instead of abandoning my life and family, which some would say is either selfish or empowering, I just open a book; strengthen my mind, because one day opportunity may come knocking on the door. I could search for it…endlessly, and never find it.

    The more I think about it, it’s what many people have said, it comes down to values. I go to work everyday, and come home to my wife, which in the end…being her husband is tremendously meaningful.

  21. Love this!

  22. Humans are proud of their abilities, skills and power. They tend to think they almost like omnipotent entities, or something like that, what money can buy. However, their thinking fails immediately, since nobody has control over his/her own birth or death. The misconceptual understanding about wealth and values let people long for material happiness, what simply can not be sturdy, as everything has an everlasting circular motion starting from the subatomic levels to the system of the galaxies.

    When the river is stopped, it will die, with everything in it. Up until humans believe in their vain pursue about something temporal, they will end up with only a little amount of time in their life, with so-called happiness, where they will start to realize, the core is missing. At least during the final breath they wil realize, there is something more, there was always something more in life to it, and that is called love, or better to distinguish it True Love, with absolute values.

    Only the good deeds, the effects of living for the sake of others, the manifested and active, unselfish love can determine us for real satisfaction, a content life, in what we ceaselessly give and receive without expecting anything in return.

    It has never been a question of the merit of the age, like TV, internet, healthcare, education, and so on, it was always the way how we accept ourselves to and for use them. All the Blessings in life can be our doom, if we are unable to inherit the absolute values of love, the core settings of the Universe, what we can recognize around us, in the Nature, and somewhere inside, too…

    Be Blessed and Be Blessings to Others!

  23. Oh brother. She is not going to find what she’s looking for in the south either. She seems to be running everyplace but the one that will satisfy her. In other news, I had kind of the same feeling but it was about my hair. I woke up one day and I hated my long hair, within three days I cut it short. Voila. Not quite so drastic, but then again, I’m content.

  24. Our culture is always in a hurry. We don’t stop and take the time to build on what’s really important — namely important relationships like spouses, children, etc.. We throw away if we feel inconvenienced.

  25. I know i sometimes have thoughts of taking off and running away. Doesn’t everyone? Some actually do it! Maybe she’s on the right track, maybe not. But one things for sure, wherever she goes she’s taking herself with her :-P.

  26. Reblogged this on No Ordinary Girl and commented:
    While my mind is on hiatus, I shall share with you some wonderful thoughts that resonates with what I believe.

  27. I love this one. Something close to my heart. I think I just may be living this simple life you speak of. It’s so much more fulfilling then the affluent task-driven life.
    🙂

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