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For some, life is a spectator sport. These people hear about the great things happening in the lives that surround them, but have not yet embraced the fact that positive things can happen to their own. They continue to live a life where they run on automatic pilot with no significant events in their lives; only the ones relating to the sports events that they may attend. Sometimes. There’s no sense of urgency about tomorrow; no plans considered beyond today.
They merely drift and wander in and out of view that one barely notices their absence. The spotlight is meant for others. Standing out isn’t something that makes them comfortable; they are blenders in. They are the stereotypical modern-day Cinderellas who are sure that nothing will change in their all too boring lives unless someone else comes to save the day.
There are so many unfulfilled dreams floating about their owners’ heads; lingering into perpetuity, homeless, aimless and desirous of being claimed and utilized but left wanting. I’ve lived that existence. I’ve wanted to experience things that I’d read about, seen on TV or had heard about in passing.
I believed that I wanted a life different from the one I’d presently been living. I could envision my new life, I just didn’t know how to create nor claim it. I think somewhere deep down inside, I thought someone would just show up and guide me to my destiny. I was waiting for my Superman.
I think there are many people doing the same thing. They put off living an authentic life because they are certain if they just hold on patiently and faithfully, their hero will materialize out of thin air just in the nick of time to save them from certain boredom. They do not believe that life truly begins until someone comes by to validate it.
I will never forget an episode of Oprah where a woman admitted that she was living in an apartment that she hadn’t bothered to decorate. She hadn’t painted the walls nor hung pictures on them. They were simply stacked up and laid on the floor. Her way of thinking was why bother? She wasn’t married so why try to make it into a home? Besides, she would have to go through the trouble of taking them off the walls when her future husband came into her life…..one day.
This was precisely her reasoning for not buying a home but an apartment instead. She was expecting her real life to start as soon as someone put a ring on it. She never entertained the idea that she didn’t have to introduce another player into her life in order to make it ‘real’.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who subconsciously thinks the way that she does. They do not realize how they are denying themselves a quality of life because somehow they have convinced themselves that someone else is responsible for their happiness or well-being. From infancy on, little girls are inundated with messages (subtle and not so) that someday their prince will come.
It’s a nice, romantic notion, but a fantasy all the same. He may not come and what then? It’s not surprising to find someone who would delay milestones in their lives because they remain convinced that they could never achieve anything alone as wonderful as they could as a couple.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not condemning couple-hood. I am condemning a person using the lack of being in one as an excuse to not pursue dreams like buying a house or traveling or pursuing hobbies that enrich their lives. At some point, we have to learn how to be comfortable in our own skin and to enjoy our own company. It’s not fair for the person who hasn’t even met you yet to come into an atmosphere where they already have a job description and that’s to make you happy by being their entire world. People come into your life to enhance it, not to save it.
I think that there is a real fear of being alone. While most people understand that there will be periods in one’s life where they will live solo, some live in suspended animation where they robotically move through life without enjoying it. It becomes all about completing mundane tasks, not enjoying a life of purpose and joy. Can you imagine how much time their new mate will have to spend entertaining the likes of them?
I’ve always seen having a partner as the icing on the cake, not the whole cake. It’s about perspective. A person who has a full life is infinitely more interesting than someone who views it as a ticking time-clock. I have had many of my fellow single people tell me how lonely and solitary their lives were, but to some degree, it was of their own choosing. There are plenty of things that one can do and plenty of things that need to be done so there’s no excuse not to roll up your sleeves and get busy. Change can’t be wished into existence, it takes an actual effort to make it a reality.
Give yourself a reason to get up in the morning by finding a need to fulfill in someone else’s life….or even your own. I love the quote from Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’”. No truer words were spoken. We all have the choice and the power to make a concrete difference in our own lives; we are neither helpless nor hopeless. We can determine how all of this plays out on our own terms. Or we can continue to sit idly by and do nothing…..like so many others have before us.
But how’s that working for you?