Remember what you always wanted to do in life? Have you done it?
Are you a teacher?
video game developer?
Are you married with perfect children?
Do you own your own business?
Do you have a big house?
Do you wear fancy clothes?
Do you have a retirement home?
These are typical American Ideals. The "If-everything-goes-perfect, this-is-how-life-will-look" ideals.
Now think about life in general--how often do you do something perfect? I mean, anything.
Perhaps you can bake a cake or a favorite recipe. Maybe you cartwheel really well. (That could apply to gymnastics or the coupon app for Target stores) Perhaps you have a favorite song you can sing perfectly. Now, I'm certain there are things you can do perfectly. But what about complex things like, writing a computer program? Would you put it into production without testing the code you wrote? Do you thank you got everything write the first thyme you rote it. <---bug. This sentence makes no sense.
As a child you think of the future as a faraway nebula of adventure. You know you're drifting toward becoming an adult, but right now as a 9 year old, the high school kids look big and intimidating in their letterman jackets. So while every child dreams up pictures of what their future may hold, very few people are taught to write down their goals and take the necessary steps to accomplish them.
My wife and I married when we were 22. I remember one day when we had been married for a few months and my bride said, "I feel like I'm playing 'Adult'." We didn't know what we were doing. I wanted to be a rockstar and she wanted to be a stage actor on Broadway. But at the beginning of our marriage neither of us were doing anything like that. I wasn't out playing guitar at night because I was exhausted by the mental strain of my corporate job. Elisabeth worked in a nursing home had to be at work at 5 each morning, so she wasn't staying out late pursuing her acting dreams either.
Basically, every night I'd get home, we'd make some nachos and watch a movie or a TV series on DVD. Usually something we had enjoyed as children. And it was GREAT!!!
I mean, Nachos! TV! Need I say more? It was really fun.
But it wasn't being a rockstar.
It wasn't being an actor.
And after a while, it started to feel empty. We started having people over sometimes, but day in and day out we didn't feel fulfilled. In fact, we barely fell alive. We saved all of our energy for our jobs and the rest were just scraps of energy for each other. And that was life.
Remember Lester Burham? He was the main character in "American Beauty" who had the beautiful wife (whom he didn't connect with), the beautiful daughter (whom he didn't connect with), the corporate job (which he didn't connect with). Basically his heart was disconnected from his life.
Maybe at one time, marrying his high school sweetheart, having a corporate job, and having a daughter was his Ideal. But at some point it wasn't enough. At some point he stopped investing, Time, Love, and Energy into his family in his work. He stopped aspiring for something greater. And that led to his
A mid-life crisis happens that day when you wake up and feel like your life is half-over and you haven't accomplished your ideals. Typically this happens around age 40.
Suddenly people realize that they've been going through the motions in life seeking the approval of others and not dedicating time to figuring out what they even want in life, let alone allocating time to pursue their interests.
On Crisis Day, They breifly look at the ideals they had as children and think, "Crap. I didn't do anything I wanted to." Then instead of taking the time to sit down and think about what they still want to accomplish. Instead of setting a long-term goal, they fall back. They call a retreat. And while they are falling... They look for what they can grab on the way down. Because an Ideal doesn't have to be achieving world peace.
is simply an example of a high Ideal.
There are lower ideals like
"Becoming a Rockstar"
A personal Ideal.
Or even lower Ideals like
"Eating a Cheeseburger"
An immediate Ideal.
In order to achieve World Peace it will take a tremendous amount of work from an unimaginable number of people working together. This may be difficult to achieve. In fact, it might even feel Hopeless.
In order to achieve your dream of becoming a Rockstar, it will take a tremendous amount of work from yourself and a number of people working together with you. This may be difficult to achieve, but it could be possible. Though, it's hard to keep up hope for it if you haven't made significant progress after age forty (presuming you've been you've been working toward it since age 6). There are still ways to stay motivated to accomplish this goal, but it takes determination and sacrifice from other areas of your life to focus the concerted amount of effort required.
In America, in order to achieve eating a cheese burger it will take a small amount of work, planning, and resources by only one person. This may be simply achieved by going to a restaurant or the grocery store. It's a simple task with an immediate reward. Folks, so often... So very often often.... we settle for the cheeseburger. Not even because we want the cheeseburger. It's just that the blogger put up a picture of a really tasty looking cheeseburger--and it IS so easy to get--and it would be so immediately satisfying--and it's so much simpler than what I actually want to do with my life (lose weight, run a marathon, fall in love, save up for a new car, start a new resume, get a promotion, get to know my neighbors, change the political landscape, make cold calls to people who can help me accomplish my goals.)
So remember, you 90% of the time you don't want that Cheeseburger. You Dream of World Peace, you dream of being a rockstar, but what you really want is a happy Marriage.
Invest in the people you love.
Invest in the life you want to live.
Today, don't buy a Cheeseburger.
Instead put $10 in a savings account.
Then write down what you're going to do when that $10 becomes $1,000. If you put 10 extra dollars in that savings account every week, then in less than 2 years you will have $1,000 to go on that trip.
Call a friend and get them to do the same. Set a date to go on a cruise 2 years from today.
Or start a business together 2 years from today.
So put down the cheeseburger.
Your Ideals are waiting for you.