Thursday, 11 January 2018

Too Passive By Far

Each of us, I think I can safely say, thinks that everyone else's life is far more exciting than our own; that things happen all the time to other people, whereas all that happens to them is the status quo. The same continuation of old, or if not old then the new is not the right kind. It's not the kind to shake up a life or to make others go 'Wow!' Genuinely.
If effort has been required to get that 'Wow!' then it's the not same as someone who has had things happen to them with no effort, no input at all. Because sheer effort produces different endorphins and lacks the 'Oh my God' effect. It's less fairy tale and more determination-based. There are some that put in God knows how much effort and get nowhere at all; there are others that want a quiet life but are still hopeful unbelievable things will happen, that adventures will come unbidden to upset their humdrum life. These others aren't risk adverse they just don't know how to create or even if they'd be willing to go on a ride should anything magically appear. An amazing offer could land in their lap, and yet although it might have been hoped or longed for they'd still be torn between it and their comfortable shell. Caution would not be thrown to the winds, however dull their existence seemed. The dullness in itself, they realise, is a comfort.
Though life really is made up of repetitive tasks. Just think of anything you do day in, day out, possibly without being wholly conscious as it's that ingrained. Scary isn't it? when you begin to think of it like that, when you begin to look at life that way. Teeth get brushed, the clothes and face get put on, breakfast is eaten, the bed made etc. and so on. Mondays and Tuesdays you're here, Wednesdays you're there, Thursdays you're off, Fridays you see so-and-so, and at weekends you shop for the week ahead. When you begin to think in those terms isn't everyone's life, to a degree, regimented? And how instantly depressing!
Do any of us really do spontaneity? And I mean completely and whole-heartedly because there's always something to stop us. Usually what that something is not finances, it's a responsibility that doubles as an excuse, such as putting out the bins or an animal, or even the fact the trip is unplanned or, its opposite, needs planning. When you've managed without holidays and have grown used to a set routine, the mere thought of doing anything different or differently halts making arrangements to, for the world seems huge and the whole idea unfathomable. Too stressful, even, and not worth getting yourself worked up over.
So, then who's at fault? The person leading the unexciting life or how we collectively measure life and what each of us do with it? Is it just the nature of life: there's those that grab and those that sit back, and some that have all the luck as they say?
I think researchers would tell you that the majority of lives are uneventful, or that any adventures if had are brief and everyone somewhere down the line experiences monotony, be it short or long in months or years. And even possibly those that have had more than their fair share, be it of their own doing or chance, would prefer a less tumultuous life, though I think you'll find if circumstances bring that about they like it very little.
Balance is not easily achieved whichever way you naturally lean, but then your mood in regard to it is not constant either which seems unfair when life considered as a whole can appear too rushed or too slow, too filled or too empty, especially if the choice doesn't feel as though it was ever presented. Some people are better at rolling with whatever unfolds and some people aren't; some people like everything in their control and therefore retreat when an unexpected event fails to meet their exacting criteria, whilst those who aren't energised by or shy of life take a philosophic view where anything that occurs is measured as living.
That must be a nice view to have, a nice way to be, for I presume in that place there's no second guessing. Everything's how it's meant to be whether you personally had a hand in it or not. And so, I've reached the conclusion that it must be a perceptual attitude, one that's either with you from birth or attaches itself to you at some point, because in my thirties I've been far more successful at shutting life out than letting it in.

Picture credit: Loneliness, 1970, Alice Neel, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.