What if you lived your whole life only to realize that it was wrong.
I woke up one day to realize that part of the life I was living was a lie. I began to understand that my greatest fear was not failure itself, but being successful at things that didn’t really matter in the first place. I was seeking my purpose in life but didn’t realize that I was in the rat race. Living a life for the weekend or rather living only on the weekends because my employer owned the other 5 or even 6 days.
Working hard requires motivation. But the motivation I had in mind was wrong. I didn’t realize that it was sending me down the wrong path. I didn’t understand what I was doing nor why.
Welcome to the Rat Race
Every morning I’d get up to the same routine; alarm clock going off, getting the coffee started, turning on the TV to watch the news. I’d sit down at my computer and check/respond to emails; shower and shave and maybe a quick bite before heading out if I had time.
To be in the rat race often means owning a car. It seems to be an absolute necessity. Every morning I’d hurry out the door as I realized I was running a bit behind. And like always, I was heading for the daily traffic jam on the freeway–I’m not sure why they are still called freeways as the traffic rarely flows freely anymore. Just like all the other faces I’d see, I too was disappointed that I can’t just get on down the road.
It’s a new day full of fresh opportunity. I have goals in mind. I’m looking to get a promotion, close a big sale, or land a new client so that I can pay off the car that I’m driving, the rent, and all the other bills.
Then of course, there are the clothes, TV, and credit cards to consider. As my income increases, I desire more, bigger, and higher balances to show my wealth that I’ve acquired.
I must now work much harder. I have become a part of the machine. The months and years pass by without realizing much. I am a part of a machine that profits for the success of others. And I am somehow convinced that this is the way it’s supposed to be.
People tell me that I am to be grateful that I have a job. That I have benefits–dental, health, vision, and 401k/IRA–that will provide for me a good living.
But I am told when and for how long I am able to take vacations; when I am to take my lunch break and for how long till I must return.
I am not free. I am the property of my keeper; just a little more than that of a slave.
I began to realize that to maintain this rat race of an existence, fear must play its part. For if it were not for fear we are not often compelled otherwise. Rent/mortgage, bills, groceries, these are the fears we have that compels us to run the race. The fear of lacking any of these so-called qualities of life motivates us to do things we would otherwise rather not do.
I am fearful, indeed.
The trouble is that I am not able to say no to the rat race. It possesses the very means to a meaningful and socially compliant life. To be a productive member of society membership to the rat race is a prerequisite.
I am not living; I am just in the race.
I often don’t have the time to reflect on the beauty all around me in the natural world. The beautiful blue sky; the mountains in the distant with snowcaps after a recent rain; or lying under a tree at the park on a beautiful sunny day reflecting on the life experiences I have had thus far.
But I have begun to awaken…
I fear that the finish line is a lie. When I reach the age of retirement–which seems to keep moving further back–it will be too late. I will be too old and unable to move about as freely as I’d like.
I started to consider whether it matters if I reach that goal or not. It seems that what matters is whether I am able to live fully in the present. If I am unable to do that the future is a hoax.
I started to recognize the lie. Happiness and success are not in the things I own and acquire. There are not in the long hours at work. They are not in the pursuit of money or wealth at all, in fact.
I began to realize how little I appreciated the the blind things of life. The things we all seem to take for granted. Family and close friends, good health, and enjoying every minute of this limited presence we have in this thing called life.
With this reality I began to think…
Why is it that when many people so-call retire, they end up working again? Home Depot, Walmart, department store, etc.–as greeters or department clerks. Did they not perform well in the rat race?
It seems that you will never be able to sit back and say to yourself “I have made it to retirement.”