What we dream of being in life

So yesterday I rambled about things I have observed about my challenges in getting things that matter to me done.  I was going to share some more about our life, our goals and how other folks seem to get to be where they are.  And is there is even a “there” there.

So I think it was a famous racing car driver that said once in an interview that one of the things fans occasionally said to him that sort him set him off “was man I wish I was you”.  He said any time he heard that he’d think to himself if they really wanted it they would have done all the things he’d done to make it happen.  What the fan really meant was they sure wish they could suddenly have all the upside of that person’s situation without any of the down side that had to be overcome to get there.

Next time you see someone and you are thinking to yourself “man I wish I was them” step back for a minute and ask yourself why you aren’t them.  Chances are there will be some percentage of circumstance but more likely a large percentage of the reason if you made choices that put you where you are now.  That amazing athlete that let their life be defined by the exercise and practice that put them there.  Those cold morning they beat the sun, up to run 10 miles when you chose sleeping in that warm bed just a little later.  Or that writer who wrote millions of words and fought rejections along the way while you dreamed of the best seller stuck in your brain.  The amazing musician who plays every chance they get and who lived through those horrible gigs and bands for years while you started at your instrument and watch some more TV.

Do you know why the Beatles were so good?  The played thousands of hours in some of the worst clubs ever before facing endless rejection till it all payed off.  Some call it paying your dues.  Others talk about the Gladwell 10,00 hours thing.  So if you aren’t where you wish you were ask how much you’ve done to make it happen.  I know I’m where I am more because I chose to be.  Sometimes on purpose and other because not choosing is just another choice.  The sacred engine will always pull us forward.  So big things are hard work in most every case.  Welcome to the human condition.

One thing we can all be sure of is you are never going to get there if you don’t start moving in the right direction.  Set your sights and head out.  It won’t be easy,  you can’t know now what you’ll find on your way and you may very well come to realize there isn’t really a “there” there.  Its almost a sure thing what you think you will find will be different than what you thought you knew it was going to be when you got there.   Better?  Not as good?  No idea.  Different, for sure.  You may find you love it but for  different reasons that you thought you would.  Don’t despair.  Enjoy the journey, most of time its better than the destination.  Besides, you aren’t planning on stopping there when you’ve still got so much more to see, do, learn, experience, master, teach, share?  We all have more ahead.  Maybe in forms we never expected.  So each step in front of the other over and over, soon your over that ridge, the oceans in sight and before you know your frolicking in the surf.  Then find that next leg of your journey.  Even if those steps are small, they are still progress and that puts you closer to where you think you want to be.

Now onto another part of this puzzle.  Is there a “there” there.  Are you really being realistic about what its going to mean once you get to where you are going.  Are you being honest with yourself about why you want to be there?

What I’ve learned every time I get to know folks that “made it” I see that what the experience is for them isn’t quite what I would have expected.  You can find example after example of people that “got it” and how wasn’t always a sure path to happiness you might have expected.  For example being rich.  What most people seem to like the most about it is some of the freedoms it can provide.  The “stuff” that wealth brought rarely seems to be providing real happiness.  There are other costs a lot of folks don’t think about.

Take Paul Allen, very wealthy fellow, some great accomplishments yet he seems to get little joy from his musical collections (the EMP, he certainly doesn’t go there or take any active interest in it).  He has an amazing aircraft collection that he never spends any time with.  An old computer museum he largely ignores.  He has dozens of yachts, helicopters and jets he can barely use.  You might think you’d live his life much better but here is the point of it all.  No you wouldn’t.  To be him you’d have to be him, with everything that shaped who he is today.  Every choice he made that led to his wealth would have been the choices you would have made.  Everything that he has experienced that made him today would have changed you the same way.  No what you want is all the things he has in his life without the costs he’s paid and continues to pay to be him.  No one gets that.  Even if you were given all that wealth the practical burden of it may not let you enjoy it.

So is that “star” really happier overall than you?  If so I bet you can find a way in your life with your circumstances to be just as happy or even happier.  Prince, amazing creative genius leave behind a $300 million dollar estate and died from a drug overdose.  The list of similar outcomes in lengthy indeed.  Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Robin Williams….

Its an interesting fact that lottery winners overwhelmingly are no happier or sometime even far less happy than they were before they won a year after they won.  Also paraplegics return to the level of happiness experienced prior to the event.  The bottom line is if you are looking for some giant thing in your life to make or ruin your life you are going to be disappointed.  Most major life events won’t make much difference in the long run.  Happiness and the lottery

So lets all do ourselves a favor and put away that “Grass Greener” meter and stop using it on our neighbors lawn.  Stop waiting for our ship to come it.  It did, it is what brought us here!  In the time it took for me to write this someone just had something amazing happen to them, was it you?  Would you really even know if it was?  We are surrounded by wonder and most of it goes by unnoticed.  Are you open to it if it shows up?  Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”  Since I’m in a quoting mood here is another to remember good old Tommy Edison gave us “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

So where is there?  How will we know when we arrive?  Will there be snacks?  I’d start the wisdom of Buckaroo Banzia,   “No matter where you go, there you are!”.  So I think we’ve already arrived.  Maybe we should all start living like we have arrived!  I wish I could point at my life and say I live all this.  I don’t but I’m trying.  Anne Lamott is someone I find very insightful.  She talks about how to face the challenge of writing about birds “do it bird by bird”.  Move forward a step at a time, all I know how to do.  I do try and look back to once in a while to remember how far I’ve come.

She had another interesting quote “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”

Seems sort of salty caramel to me and leaves me smiling when I let it – Spacegrrrl

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