Digital is here to stay whether you embrace it or not. I’m less concerned with the hysteria around the ‘robots coming to rule our lives’. Hey, that’s here already. Think of a need and there’s already an app catering to that whim. So, if our lives are taken over by technology – everything from finding and maintaining relationships, entertaining ourselves and our kids, working and doing business, and everything and anything in between – shouldn’t things be so much easier? Shouldn’t we have much more time? And with all that entertainment on tap, surely, we must be the happiest we’ve ever been?
We count the follows, tweets, likes and hearts
Sadly, this is furthest from the truth. All technology has done is give us illusions of perfection. Social media photo filters make us look like supermodels, we reinvent ourselves, our children and our families, and sanitise our lives by posting the poised and the pretty. We count the follows, tweets, likes and hearts. Even when people try to be ‘real’ and honest, there’s such vitriolic backlash, body-shaming, blaming; patriarchy always rearing its ugly head. We’re so disconnected from reality that we can’t even recognise it when it hits us in the face.
We say we want to be ‘accepted for our authentic selves’; yet we reject our bodies, our stretch marks, less-than-firm boobs that tell our story, and wrinkles and grey hair that validate our wisdom. We say we want to be heard; yet remain silent in the face of abuse, lies and deceit. We say we want inner peace, yet we clog our lives with stuff and more stuff. We demand equality but continue to second-guess ourselves. Woman, what do you want?
Ten to fifteen years ago, if you had asked me that question, I would have said ‘a husband and child’. That’s what I believed I was ‘lacking’. It seemed as though everyone around me had some semblance of that; a committed relationship, if not a husband, and a child or two or more. If I have to be real, I wanted them as a ‘badge of honour’; a stamp of approval, of sorts. Like I would ‘arrive’ with those ‘appendages’ that would change my life and ultimately, make me a happier, better person.
Today, I have all that. And more. I have two sons. My eldest turned five today. Healthy, normal, well-adjusted. The joy and gratitude are real. Yet. I grapple with a sense of longing. That I haven’t achieved everything I should. That once target A, B and C are realised, the content and happiness will materialise. But wait. Didn’t I reach my targets? I’m now a wife and mother. They give me everything that I thought they would, but they also give me a whole lot else that I couldn’t imagine.
Cajoling, caressing and making love all the days of your life.
Cause when you’re lying there, curled up with your pillow and an empty bed, all you can fantasize is that someone lying next to you is the missing link. Cajoling, caressing and making love all the days of your life. You never ever think that he or she could have a god-awful habit like snoring, that may disrupt your sleep forever. Or that your child may have special needs that go beyond your patience threshold. Or that household bills become grudge purchases. Nothing wrong with this picture. That’s life. It’s the reality that we don’t like to entertain when we’re romanticising that which we don’t have. Stop it. Now.
The one thing that I’m trying to embrace is that nothing is ever good or bad. Rather, it’s good and bad. Even this recession. Yes, the same one that has some of us eating out less and recycling our clothes, not solely as the environmentally-friendly practice that is far more honourable. It’s just a cycle.
If you’re single, it comes with the good and bad. If you’re married, there are ups and downs. If you’re childless, it has advantages and disadvantages. If you’re unemployed, it may feel like it’s just bad and worse, but it has an equal opposite reaction. Get it? Make a list of all the reasons why. Try it with whatever else you feel you’re lacking or that’s holding you back from living your best life. Force yourself to look at it from all angles. Life is never one-dimensional. Neither are we.
Living a life of purpose and truth that supercedes whatever is happening out there.
This downtime has got me asking myself a series of questions. What do I really want? In a crisis, trying to ask upfront, what is the lesson here? I don’t have all the answers. But I’m working on the internal. That which is in my control. The choices that I make. Living a life of purpose and truth that supercedes whatever is happening out there. Robots ruling or chilly days in November.
My birthday wish for my first-born, actually for both my children; find your passion first. And this is never linked to another. Your purpose and the rest will follow.