My Life Doesn't Look Like The Pictures On The Box
Copyright 2023 by Mort Morford
Photo by Pixabay.
life doesn’t look like the picture on the box
some reason, when our lives reach the number of years that end in
zeroes, many, if not most of us have the ever-increasing sense that
our lives are not turning out the way we thought they would.
book never got written, that career never coalesced, that
relationship that glowed like it would flame on forever, didn’t.
not regret exactly, but it’s in the neighborhood.
a sense that life did not take us where we thought it would.
health issues to career stalls, to things we did achieve, only to
realize that we didn’t want them so much after all, life is
dense with things, events, even achievements that, in the barren
light of those zero-ending decades, didn’t feel worth what we
put into them.
for most of us, what we put into them was the hours and muscle and
visions and energy that we had. And, to a large degree, that was all
those years accumulate, we realize that we gave our lives to things
that never really mattered. We were just told that they did.
hoped that they did.
as we reflect, most of us find that friends, family, even our own
bodies betray us.
time floats away like a distant cloud and the residue we hold in our
hands, or in our pulsing memories seems paltry, even by the most
once upon a time, we had high standards, and ideals, and vision,
energy and passion that would, so some of us thought, change the
those zeroes accumulate, we can’t even change ourselves.
Everything, from what we have for breakfast to the clothes we wear
has become a habit: a habit larger than ourselves, something we find
ourselves within, confined by and even defined by.
are literally made up of the things we do and say and hold around us.
have our favorite places, foods, songs and people. And as we discover
in those coalescing years, they hold us back as much as they comfort
or release us.
lasts forever”, we might tell ourselves. And we might believe
it, or imagine that we know it, but we never really know it until it
is too late, or it doesn’t matter any more, or in those final,
dreadful words, it is gone forever.
well” is a goal that gains solidity as the years go by. But
what does that even mean?
turns out that the means that most of us used to measure a life
well-lived mean less and less as the years go by.
what does matter more is the fragile, even unmeasurable things like
still being able to learn and try new things. Being willing to try,
and fail, or even look foolish, or even being the only one to do
something is, perhaps, of more worth than any online purchase beyond
our credit limit.
where we are, by ourselves, with people we know or people we don’t,
or in the company of animals we care for, is for most of us, an
indicator of a life well-lived.
for most of us, it is a simple as this. Being grateful for what we
have and who we are with is as much, or even more, than most of us
could ask for.
ourselves known, and welcome is a gift more rare and fragile with
each passing year. Or month. Or hour.
often wondered why people get married.
it out of loneliness, desperation, fear of being alone or some
fantasized hope that we are somehow “completed” by
Proverbs tell us that a braided rope will not be easily broken, but
also that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
are true of course, but all too often what we imagine to be the first
becomes the second.
things are more dangerous than an embittered idealist.
we are in an era where ideals and dreams and beliefs in almost
anything, from progress to oneness to peace within ourselves, with
others and with our natural world has become a benchmark of naivete,
if not pure foolishness.
are more inclined as well as equipped and motivated to destroy each
other than ever before inhuman history. And many of us seem to be
proud of that fact.
may not have anything we are willing to fight for,
but on our
streets and on our borders, and even within many of our homes, we are
more than willing to fight, or at least kill, for any imagined threat
and neighborliness, and perhaps our careers, or at least our
callings, are the ultimate illusion, if not mirage, we see in the
distance and chase through-out our lives.
of us, I have heard, even reach what we thought we wanted, but there
is always a further vision, and what we hold in our hands, compared
to the glimmer in the distance, never seems to be enough.
ultimate “faith” in the past century or two has been in
“tomorrow” – the world, the culture, the
relationship, even the physical body we will have “someday”
if only we “believed”, “imagined” or “hoped”
“create our own reality” we have been told, and perhaps,
to a degree few of us could imagine, that is true, but many of us
find ourselves in a swirl we did not create and cannot see our way
and personal legacies are made from what we build and compile
together. A multi-braided rope is far stronger than a single strand.
But becoming more than a single strand is far more difficult than
most us could have imagined.
that’s why we need the picture on the box. But it turns out
that there is more than one box to look at.
is not much that is dramatic about living in peace. Living among
those we know, and trust, and maybe even love, is not always
enticing, but at some point we realize that living in peace is not
only desirable, but the only way to life itself.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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