Life – It’s a simple word. In essence it’s the period between birth and death, most of us get about eighty years at it and are generally provided with everything that we need to have a good time.
They even tell us that the best things in life are free and so on paper we have it made.
Common sense would suggest that if we spend eighty years doing something we’d become pretty good at it, but for some reason that doesn’t seem the case with Life.
As you read this book you’re living your life.
How’s it going? No, seriously, how’s it going?
You’ll be a certain age in a particular place and by now you will have a title or label that defines you. It tells others how important you are, or if indeed they should interact with you at all.
Doctor for example is deemed to be a particularly good one, whereas bank manager doesn’t carry as much clout as it used to.
At some point we have decided that a politician is more important than a lollipop lady, that we should respect a managing director more than the people who keep the building clean and house husband still doesn’t role off the tongue as easy as housewife.
Outside of your title you may be a Miss who wants to be a Mrs, or a Mr. who wants to be a Miss.
At this very moment you could be relaxing on a sofa, dug in on a battlefield, commuting on a packed train or waiting on death row, either way, this is the life that you have chosen.
Some of you will be able, but decide not to move, whilst others will be disabled and live life on the go.
Initially you wanted to be older but now you’re not getting any younger.
There’s a very good chance that you want to look different to how you think you look and you may have even spent money on picking the perfect nose.
Most of us will be happy when but when never seems to come.
Perhaps you will find happiness through the next purchase, the next win, the next deal, the next lover – the clue’s in the word next.
You will often choose to live with regret rather than put it right in a heartbeat.
You’ll be judged throughout your life, how you look, the colour of your skin, how you dress, how you dance (if you dance), how you smile or how you don’t.
People will make a decision on you before you have even spoken to them and if your accent doesn’t fit they’ll judge you on that too.
This of course works both ways and your constant comparison and assessment of others brings with it a lifetime of fear based criticism, jealousy and insecurity.
Relationships will have come and gone, each time followed by relief or heartbreak and now you could be single and longing for someone or married and craving solitude or someone else.
You live in a world that works day and night to make you just like everyone else. So fit in. Wear this. Eat that. Shape up and do as the others do.
It seems that Society has a plan for all of us and you have a part to play, but why is it so rarely the part that you would have chosen for yourself?
Winning is everything although we pretend it’s the taking part that counts.
Competitive parents stand and scream at sporting seven year olds desperate for them to beat other seven year olds, as life’s lessons are passed down a generation so they can fit in too.
Children offer us one of the rare chances in life to truly make a difference and yet we choose to pile on all the pressures that we too felt at that age, even though we may now believe that there is more to life than grades, medals and finishing first.
Money makes the world go round, so hopefully you have some, but if you do there’s a likelihood that you earn it in a job you don’t want as reducing your debt takes over from living your dreams.
Your perceived success will be based around what you have. The house, the car, the clothes, the friends, but the people it attracts will reduce in line with your bank balance.
However long your life, you’ll count the people who stuck around regardless on the fingers of one hand.
There’s an increasing probability that the illness that stops your life will be caused by stress, and most of the stress in your life will be caused by trying to be the person that others believe you should be.
Nothing drains your energy like not being true to who you are.
A quick fix is available and normally addictive, prescription or otherwise, they soften the blow and get you through.
Religion may be another option for you but depending on where you are in the world your life may be in danger if you choose the wrong God.
Indeed, even as I write countries are at war to make sure their God wins.
Life moves on quickly and there’s a tipping point that takes you from ambition to regret as “If only” becomes your bedfellow.
As you reach society’s take on old age the clock on the mantlepiece begins to sound like a countdown, and our ultimate fear, death, stops being something that only happens to other people.
For many it will also be time to assess how you have lived your life.
What were the moments that really mattered and did you make the most of them?
Did you simply exist and react to your life or could you have made more of a difference?
Have you lived the life that you wanted for yourself, or the one others expected of you?
Ultimately, perhaps the most poignant reflection will be what was your life for?
What was your purpose?
What was the meaning of your life?