Sunday, 8 November 2015

Don't be amazing

So much of the advice for living well and being successful at life uses adjectives like "amazing", "unique", "authentic" etc. And 2 minutes on pintrest is full of lists of steps, commands and changes which will give you and "amazing" life. When you add the highlight reel of facebook profiles and magazine articles about people who achieved the extraordinary, it can create an expectation that if it's not amazing then your life is a failure.

And I just want to call bulls$#/@ on that, for myself, as much as anyone else.

It is not that I think there is anything wrong with adventures and proving you life satisfaction. I think achieving wonderful things and setting goals to work towards are fantastic. My problem is with the expectations it sets up and the pressure it creates to have an amazing life.

I think the word "amazing" needs some interrogation.  Does it mean a perfect life of only mountain-top moments and pinable pics? Is it a life curated and constructed for an audience? Or is amazing all about achievement? Do you need to run a marathon, lose your own body weight, publish a novel, make a million bucks to have an amazing life? And what about those amazing experiences? Travelling to your dream destinations, riding the adrenaline rush of jumping from a plane, hosting a party people will talk about for years...

To be honest in my rather fragile state it all seems rather exhausting and completely out of my reach.

None of the above are bad and all are amazing, but maybe that's not what life needs to be about.

If amazing is the qualifying criteria for a good life then I guess most of us won't get that. And a lot of people may feel like their lives are spent as spectators of other people's "amazing". There are a lot of things which can get in the way of amazing; illness, responsibilities for others, financial realities, time and energy.

But I think everyone can have a life they love and are content with. And a life where they choose a good and whole and peaceful way to be. Where you use you talents and enthusiasm for things which matter to you and where you sleep a deep and restful sleep at the end of each day.

Where did this expectation of "amazing" come from? My parents didn't expect it. Their parents lived through two world wars and a depression. Surviving was pretty amazing. There was so much less to compare your own life with. Other people's homes, clothes, money and families were restricted to the people you knew in real life. Celebrities were far away characters on a screen you paid to see. Celebrations were simple and over the rhythms and moments that mark most people's lives. And you couldn't design your moments based on millions of people's moments. The suggestions came from the pages of a women's mag and included a recipe or two. Travel was slow and expensive. Leaving town was pretty amazing.

But now anything and everything is on offer. And the normal and everyday can seem a bland and boring life.

As I contemplate having barely enough energy to get out of bed, I can't be bothered with an amazing life. I think it is a carrot on a stick used to make people buy stuff and experiences and to drive economic growth.

Instead I want to be happy and free to do all the simple and humdrum things which life is really made up of. Meals, housework, playing at the park, a hot cup of tea and a nap. Loving my little family well. I want to do all of this and be satisfied and content. I don't want to dismiss this life as not enough cause it doesn't look "amazing".

And for two thirds of the world my life looks pretty, darn amazing. Yes, go after your dreams, have adventures, go for impossible goals. But don't do it so you have an amazing life.  Don't do it to prove anything or for some audience judging the worth if your existence.  Do it cause you want to and it is part of who you are. And at the end of each day you can be at peace with yourself.

I hope you can take the pressure off and just be you doing your life. And im pretty sure that's what us truly amazing in this crazy time we are living in.

No comments:

Post a Comment