Life is about the pursuit of happiness, the experience of it all, the rush that makes you truly feel alive… or is it?
Often enough, it looks as if we were all too happy to just settle for a bit of comfort. A cozy home, enough food, a little entertainment, a little excitement every now and then. Housework and jobs make for enough stress and drained energy, anyways.
Indeed, in looking at the big picture, it’s obvious that it takes both the intrepid explorers and “crazy” innovators, and the down-to-earth folks and “boring,” pedestrian people.
In fact, even the most conservative traditionalist probably has his/her passions that seem unconventional to at least some others, and even the most daring adventurer may want to come back to a comfortable home and hearth, sleep in his own bed and not in a bivouac.
We humans have an unfortunate tendency to overdo it, though – and the same way that so much of politics and economics is headed in a wrong direction by focusing near-exclusively on (GDP) growth and monetary profit, all too many lives and lifestyles are suffering from an exaggerated focus on comfort and convenience.
Lifestyles that overdo it one way or another, falling into the comfortable routine of following the path once started on, easily get caught up in a rut, though.
Work may be crazy, but at least it’s a job; life may be a drag, but at least it’s all comfortingly predictable. Shopping may not satisfy anything more than a quick urge to reward oneself, but at least it does present a treat. Followed by dread, perhaps, but it is a comfortable normality.
Even when people supposedly break free from their daily routines, going on vacations or even to work in other countries, there is a widespread tendency to just go for the full-service, all-you-can-eat, pampered experience and fall into comfortable routines of thinking and doing ever the same.
It’s killing us, and it’s making us less than truly human.
Food is so easily available and so convenient, people forget one of the very foundations of human existence: cooking skill. Convenience foods feel good for being quick and easy to prepare (i.e., heat up), fast food only just needs buying (and is never far away), both are made to appeal to the basest of human instincts about eating… and obesity and civilizational diseases are the result (along with many other problems).
Physical fitness, another of the natural elements constituting the activity that life normally is, has also been going down the drain.
Sure, many people have gym memberships, some actually put themselves through punishing regimens in order to stay fit and not get fat. Lean looks are not necessarily what fitness really is about, though. It certainly is not about weight.
It starts with the simple necessity of being able to move, to walk for miles, to run away, to climb up somewhere, carry something or someone. From that come both skills and the pleasure of moving.
Modern information and communications technologies have opened up a tremendous potential for learning more, interacting with diverse groups, finding help and support in getting better, happier, more at home in this world – and then so much of them is used for lolcatz and hearing more of the same voices we already think of as right. Frustration about “first world problems” makes life seem bad, even when conditions are good. Maybe too good.
Comfortable and convenient cries for a return to “normal” are all around; it is decried that life was supposed to be like it has (supposedly) been just recently, not as it is.
The past is nostalgically re-interpreted as much better, and the present seen with a focus on the problems. When it isn’t, then current conditions are seen as comfortably and comfortingly great and getting better, without notice of the now-and-future problems, or the current potential for better.
It is only human to act like that, easy to complain about the problems, comforting to kvetch and moan along with all the others doing so – but it is also human to learn, and think, and act to become better, even if it means “per aspera ad astra” – through the rough, to the stars.
We can develop better habits, greater skill, more understanding of ourselves, others, and the world, when we get out of our comfort zones. Better lives creating better futures, for us now and for the world, can get realized if we can see their potential and work towards them.
As Vivian Greene said,
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
We have great chances for doing that now, if only we realize them and get going. Will you come and “dance” with me?