So I’m back. What does that make me? Alas, a blogger. So be it! What now? Well, where do I begin? Lately I’ve been thinking about life goals, achievements, expectations, and desires. Not only my own, but what these things mean for other people. It initially seems so straightforward a question, right? What do you want to be/do/achieve? But, I dare you. Ask a friend, a colleague, the person sitting next to you right now. There’s always a two-second pause, during which their mouth will be open, their throat ready to vocalize the ultimate dream. But the mind will not be fooled. It will refuse to instantaneously answer what you haven’t even admitted to yourself. Following that two-second pause (which could last longer depending on the situation) the first phrase finally escaping the lips will be “well…you know”, and then a pedantic cliché will undoubtedly follow, such as “build a home, have a family, get a promotion, get a raise, travel, see the world!” But why are these clichés? Can’t a person honestly want all that? Absolutely. I, myself want them. Am I a cliché? Well, yes possibly. But my desires do not stop there. And I am almost certain that this is also the case for most people. So, why are people so secretive about their “real” wants?
For one, it might be that actually uttering this desire makes it real and awkwardly palpable, and that makes the “desirer” a loser for not having pursued it or even tried to achieve it. But again, I think it’s more than that. I believe the fear lies even deeper. I believe it more accurately resembles a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. You wake up in your dream and instantly realize to your horror that this is yet another dream, and so it goes. Allow me to explain.
First of all we have to acknowledge the fact that many of our “ultimate desires” are out of our reach. We can’t all be astronauts, musicians, painters, writers, movie stars, intellectuals, doctors etc. And this is precisely our biggest mistake (present company not excluded). It takes a lot of honest soul-searching to truly find what your capabilities and limits are. But what is even harder is actually accepting them. That is, accepting who you are. And, in our day and age, who does that? And this is where the dream metaphor comes in. Acceptance is much harder than realization, so what usually happens is that realization kicks in, and we, unable to process acceptance, go back to our nightmare, that is, our life. And we keep dreaming that we are… fulfilled, happy, satisfied, and so on. The realization is simply the glitch in the Matrix, so we follow the white rabbit, just for funsies. Acceptance is actually taking the red pill… and who wants to wake up with holes in their head? Don’t get me wrong, I think there are many people who believe they are happy and actually are happy. I know a few of them. But I also know many who aren’t. Am I being presumptuous? Probably. But that’s what I see and I’m sticking to my guns.
Does it really take a Psychology degree to become conscious of the fact that a friend is not happy? No, all you need to do is listen and observe. The signs are all there, in their words, their silences, their forced smiles. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back to desires. I am fully aware of the vastness of this, but I truly believe that despite everything else, it all comes down to honesty. It’s the most unappreciated, underrated, difficult, thorny, controversial, element in our lives. I often wonder how it can be both the simplest and the least easy thing to do, utter, and live by. I’m sitting in a café as I write this, and I’m looking around at people that I’ve never met and will never meet. How many times will they be honest to themselves and others today? Why do I even care?
Allow me to stop here, leaving you with an answer in a question. How do you treat others when you are happy?