Not really my life

For the next few days I am republishing favourite posts from each month of the first year of On Living and Working. This is from May 2013.

“This is not really my life,” you say. “I’m just getting ready.”
You’ll be ready to live properly, you tell me, in earnest, only when

You get promoted
You find the perfect partner
You make some money
People appreciate you
You have it all worked out
The children leave home
You get discovered
You find happiness
You sell the company
You’re not so confused
You live in your dream house
You feel peaceful
You become famous
You find out what you’re meant to do

You’ve been taught to live this way by happy-ever-after fairy tales, celebrity fantasies and by believing that there’s some step which will take away your suffering, clear up your uncertainty, allow you to settle at last. So you’ve continually postponed fully inhabiting your life, because every goal reached reveals to you how lost you still are and how much further there is to go.

Living in a suspended state saves you from coming into contact with the fierceness and love and immediacy of living. You learn to settle with life lived at a distance, a perpetual watching and waiting for the answer that will free you.

What if you gave up the idea that anything or anyone can relieve you from your longing and from your confusion? What then? You’d have no choice but to throw yourself headlong, passionately into your life. Or maybe to allow life to sweep you off your feet. And who knows what might come from that?

Photograph by Justin Wise

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