It’s Not Hard, Just Painful

Sometimes it feels like the minute you feel like you finally know where life is headed and all the gears are oiled and running smoothly, there’s a wrench being thrown in and you have to change your course.

Your course started out with such promise and big plans, but unfortunately, somebody had the wrench in their hands, swinging and ready. Somebody had the power to throw the wrench. Somebody who wasn’t you, somebody who was already up there, the place that is harder to get to than expected.

Right now, you’re down here, the place where the wrench has just landed and the gears are stuck and you know you have to change your course, but don’t know which direction to take.

One direction is the one that offers stability in the long run, but would take a lot of hard work and – knowing yourself – tears to get there. Stability in the long run, but maybe the kind of stability that right now means sacrificing so many other things that would be hard to sacrifice.

The other direction is the one that offers less stability right now, but one that in the long run might get you to a place of stability and comfort. There’s less sacrificing of the things you always wanted, but here’s the catch – as there’s always a catch – that you being able to take this direction depends entirely on other people. Other people who have all the stability in the world, who have made it, so to speak. Who think only of themselves and thus don’t consider the many possible outcomes their decisions have on others, on people like you, who haven’t yet made it to the top.

And so you wait. You wait for other people to decide for you. To steer you in the one direction. Or not. Because if they won’t steer you in the one direction, they won’t steer you at all, which means you’ll have to take the other direction. It’s hard to accept the fact that other people, strange people you don’t even know, have so much say and power in your fate. Well, fate if you believe in that stuff. Future, if you don’t. Or destiny, if you will. Or your lot in life.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the waiting. Waiting for the strangers up there to decide which course of action you’ll take. It’s just that – waiting seems like a waste of time. Not only if time, but also of resources and energy and execution strategies. Our modern lifestyle has programmed our minds to think we have to be on the move all the time. We have to make a decision right now, we have to know right now what we wanna do. Right now, so that in case plan A falls through, there will still be enough time to execute plan B. We are programmed to constantly think about our future and prepare for it, as if we are guaranteed one.

What if we knew that we aren’t going to have a future? What if we knew that instead of growing old, we’ll leave everything behind as it is for the next generation? What sacrifices would we make for the next generation, and what sacrifices would we make for ourselves?

And – here’s the second shoe dropping – what if we knew that we are going to have a future? What if we knew we had the guarantee of growing old and being around to watch generations follow us in our footsteps of trying to make life better, easier?

If we knew we were guaranteed a future, I’m sure we’d do our darnedest to take the course that offered the most stability for it. We’d probably take the bull by its horns and steer it towards the course that provided the possibility of all our dreams coming true. And, hopefully, it’d be the kind of course where your dreams come true and at the same time, provided a silver spoon for yourself and for the mouths of your offspring. I mean, we might say we don’t want to raise spoiled, entitled brats, but in the end, don’t we kind of? Well, we want the kind of “brats” who know how to work for themselves and take on their own course of action in life. But just in case the people who are higher up there throw a wrench in their course, we want to have accumulated enough to provide them their silver spoons.

It kind of boils down to this: that our modern lifestyles make us feel like we have to work for our plan A and plan B both at the same time, and on top of that, work for our children’s plan B, just in case their plan A doesn’t work out and they don’t have a plan B. We might not be able to die peacefully not knowing if our children were gonna make it or not. We want our children to be the ones up there, the ones who have the power to throw wrenches. We don’t want our children down here, not knowing when the strangers up there will swing. We do believe in our children starting down here, but hope so hard they won’t stay down here. We desperately hope our children will be able to become the strangers at the top, having the luxury of steering other people down here into their one course or another.

It’s just not fair, is what it is. That we work so hard for something that in the end will have so little say. If our children do end up having to take the plan B which we prepared for them, they won’t ever have the chance to do the same for their children. Inheritance rarely reaches more than one generation before it’s spent.

Right now, today, there may seriously be nothing left to do but wait for other people to decide a course for you. After all, unless you were born with the silver spoon in your mouth, you do have to start at the bottom, and that’s where you’re at right now. At the bottom, at the mercy of the people on top who have already made it.

Life is not that hard though. It’s not complicated. It’s painful but it’s not hard. As Miranda Bailey, Grey’s Anatomy, says, “You know what to do already. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be in this much pain.”

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