During another inspirational hour at the gym, I pondered a statement from the book I was reading. I swear I am at my best in the fitness studio, listening to my music, sweating and exhaling so much used-up energy. After an hour, I feel like I've reached my inner self and if necessary I could conquer the world.
Endorphins.That should be the title of this post.
So here was this week's epiphany:
We begin our adult life planning to live our ideal. We're going to change the world, or at least the little bit we live in. We're going to share our voice and make ourselves heard. We know that the things we believe in are right and fair and legitimate. We listen to our hearts.
Then we live a little. Work a little. Feel the pressures of life bear down on us; social, cultural, financial expectations become more real than our dreams. And even if we don't intentionally bury those dreams in our subconscious grave (because sometimes we do), we allow them to slip away into the past, and the person who dreamed them as well.
Then we live a little more. Find a mate. Start a family. Now the pressure's really on. At some point we stop and think, "Fuck those dreams. I've got to give everything I am just to keep myself and mine alive." And we keep living. Of course we're changing the world and making our lives incredible just by doing this but we rarely get the chance to recognize that.
Then one day comes when the pressure finally snaps us. We can't get dressed, pack our bag, take that step out of the house to go to work. We can barely breathe. The wall that we built around our heart to keep the dreams in has finally grown so thick that we're smothering ourselves.
So, in the interest of self-preservation, we peek inside to see what we've hidden from ourselves. And we realize that it's ...us. Me. The Real Me. The Me we so wanted to be after we'd absorbed what our parents and professors had thrown at us. The Me we had dismissed so hastily to fit the expectations of those around us. And then to establish the security we felt we needed for our family.
Now it was do or die. Let Me out or give up, let everybody down, outside and inside.
So we build the dream. Out of blood, sweat and tears. And the confidence we've built in 20 or so years of living the life we decided we were supposed to lead. We've gotten to know ourselves over these years and we've heard our heart talking to us again and again, we've recognized the voice, but we've left it buried where it couldn't threaten the status quo we've worked so hard to create.
Fortunately this breakdown seems to come after the immediate needs of our lives have been at least partially relieved. The children are bigger, we've got a job we can do and friends for the rest of the time. Life at home is routine. Probably this is why it happens; we get a chance to breathe and discover all that we've been holding in.
Here's my question: why not break out before the disaster? Why not decide to embrace our dreams before we're so tired that we have to die first and resurrect our new-old selves? What does it really take to live our ideal life? I know we're supposed to be happy with what we have, but part of what we have and what we are is our dreams. They are just as real as reality.