Have you ever felt like this? Millions of middle-aged baby boomers have. By the way, most of us will have a similar epiphany at some point in our lives. It's actually very difficult not to if you have succumbed to the “trappings for happiness”
The gravitational pull of society's ideals
If we allow ourselves to be reflective for just a few moments, it is easy to see how we are “domesticated” like farm animals. We are reared and raised with belief systems that have been part of our environment from the beginning. “Get a good education, which will get you a good job. With that great job comes a good income that will be what you need to then climb the social ladder and begin the “accumulation game.” Oh yeah, this is critical because who you are unfortunately is the interpretation of how you are viewed through the eyes of others! Oh how sad, yet so true. Wait, is that what I said? Damn straight! If you have not given thought to how you live your life, it will be a revelation to realize that you will spend most of your life working really hard to enhance how others view you.
Maybe, just maybe, this is one of the reasons we experience a “fat wallet–thin life.” The journey for most adults leads to many moments of deep reflection. Here is the scenario…. “The social trappings for happiness were all there. Wife (husband), kids, home in the suburbs, income and all creature comforts. Yet “something” was missing. Call it midlife crisis, it really doesn't matter. It is a feeling, an experiential moment or moments that lead into hours, days, weeks and even months. For some it is overwhelming and builds momentum, leading to psychological despair and over all despondency.
Wisdom in advance of crisis
As I have become more reflective, I believe the greatest gift each of us should be given is the awareness to contemplate our values. What could happen to young people if given guidance, counseling and more important, an environment of congruent parents who either had the foresight or wisdom to challenge the conventional aspirations of society.
While there is nothing wrong with success in the material world, there is something very wrong with making your “trappings” your identity. What does this mean to you? I am my bank account. I and my home and all that's in it. I am my lifestyle. Maybe you have not spent much time investigating your own identity. It may be difficult to anticipate or contemplate the following question. Who would you be if you lost your home, bank account or lifestyle? What is left behind the “veneer” of our lives?
The greater our personal identity is tied to anything outside of us, the more devastating the loss will be. The more we use materialism as our “alter ego,” the more painful our lives become.
Why will someone who loses his fortune, dig deep within and begin his climb back, while the next person jumps from the closest bridge or balcony? It’s only stuff or only money, or so we think.
The purpose of this article, like all of my writings, is not to advise people how to live their lives. It’s none of my business. As I have investigated deeply my inventory of riches, here are just a few of them.
“I found happiness by helping others find it”
“I ask no favors of anyone, except the privilege of sharing my blessings with all that desire them.”
So please, give some thought to this share and spend some time contemplating your contemplations. To be rich in values that endure, in things that you cannot lose nor be taken from you, may be something to reach for.
In a world that asks us to chase “things,” I ask that you challenge conventional thinking. It’s an exhausting race with very little as a prize when you reach the end of the rainbow.
Dr. Charles Berg