Saturday, June 30, 2012

More on not having it all

Following up on my recent post "We can't have it all but we can love life," I thought about people I know.  It seems that the people who are younger than I am are still pretty much pursing their dreams, doing what they want to do, while the people who are older than I am are in unworkable situations.

  • There's the woman who thought the place she lived for much of her adult life was too hot and humid.  She dreamed of moving back to the colder climate where she lived as a child.  Now elderly, frail, and disabled, she can't live alone.  She has to live with the family member who can care for her.  As a result, she lives in a climate far more hot and humid than the one where she spent much of her adult life.
  • There's the man who worked hard, paid his bills, got married, and bought a house.  Then he got laid off from his job.  His wife kicked him out, and took the house in the divorce settlement.  He has a number of health problems.  He works a part-time job.  His health problems make it difficult to do the job, but he's trying to hold out a few more years.  He wants to do it -- he doesn't want to stay home with nothing to do.  Besides, he needs the money.  He likes his apartment, but he's at risk of not being able to afford to continue to live there.
  • There's the woman who always wanted to put down roots, to marry, to raise children, to garden.  That's what she did.  She wanted to stay all her life in the same town, the same house.  But now she is sensitive to air pollution.  Now, going outside to garden makes her feel sick.  She wants to move to a different place, a place with cleaner air, so that she live life once again.  But she stays.  She does not want to move away from her grandchildren.  Her husband is not eager to move.  She does not have the money or the worldliness to shop for a new house.  So there she stays, where the outdoor air she loves makes her sick.
  • There's the man who can't live on his own due to a variety of physical and psychological difficulties.  He lives with his elderly mother.  It seems unlikely that she will outlive him.  But he has no idea how he will survive when she is gone.
So no, it's not just me whose life didn't work out as desired.  Things happen in life -- financial hardships, health problems, family obligations, loss.  

Humans have tried to create a world where any desire can be fulfilled. If you want something, just search the internet and enter your credit card number.  You can book a trip to go skiing in Dubai.

But we haven't stopped disease.  We haven't stopped financial hardship.  We haven't stopped loss.  We haven't stopped death.   We haven't stopped bullying.  Our bodies still break when we fall.  Sometimes we have to work at tasks we don't enjoy.  

We need to forget this myth that we can have it all.  Stop looking for perfection, and instead, look at the life that is here in front of us.  Despite the hardships and pain, there is much beauty and joy to be found.

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