Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
**this was written earlier this year.
As I sit at work surrounded by chatty coworkers, I feel the familiar pang on my chest. The scene is pretty normal. My 4 coworkers are playing a game and chatting about celebrity gossip. “Did you watch the show last night?” “Yes, wasn’t it great!” I smile. The heart pangs continue. They grow into full blown chest pains. I try to pay attention to the conversation. “When are you going to download the game?” They ask. I let them know I don’t plan on downloading. They continue the chatter.
This is a typical day for me. I sit surrounded by people. Everyone seems happy with the routine. No one wants to think too deeply. It’s scary. When serious conversations come up, everyone rushes to go back to the surface. None of us are truly happy, but we strive to find happiness in our routine. We come into the office Monday through Friday, and we just get by. When we talk about our dreams, no one dreams of being here. The conversation moves back to surface level topics.
As a society, our normal is to follow our routines. We must go to work, cook, clean, etc. Everything is on autopilot. Most people don’t want to dig deeper. Happiness is just out of our reach. If we play the lottery and win, we’ll be able to (fill in the blank). Once I retire, I’ll be able to (fill in the blank). Happiness is just over there. It’s in the tomorrow. It’s never really in the today.
We continue to avoid our pangs. We continue to ignore the gaping hole we feel on the inside. We continue to avoid our own murky waters. It’s scary. What lies underneath? What never before seen monsters are lurking in those waters? Most of us would rather never find out. That leads to more of what we know. More routines. More mediocrity. More grayness.
Truth is, if we are brave enough, we can swim into our own murky waters. We can explore those buried emotions. We can bring them to the surface. We can begin to heal. We can understand our motivators. We can face our monsters. Once we face those monsters, we can leave behind the mediocrity. We can fill our emptiness. The only way around pain is through it. We can only avoid it for so long. We can only mask it with distractions for so long.