I've read a couple of books lately that have a disturbing theme and really got me thinking. In both "Olive Kitteridge" and "The Corrections" the main characters are older couples who are just existing, rather than being present in their lives. Part of it could be generational....both couples are in their 70's and didn't seem to marry because they were completely in love but rather because they liked each other and the timing seemed right. Their relationships centered around the men being in charge and the women staying home, taking care of the kids, and basically never having a sense of self that was independent of being a wife and mother. I think that is just how it was back then. However, in both books, the couples find themselves in their elder years being completely unsatisfied with their lives and each other. The men just sit in their chairs all day, the women seemed depressed, and the days pass along with no distinguishing events or activities. I was depressed just reading the books and it made me think that I think there are a fair amount of people out there, of all ages, that live a life like this... A life where you let life happen as opposed to taking control of it.
There are people who say no to everything...". I can't because..." or "That would never work because...". They are afraid to take risks and live life. There are people who don't reach out to people to say hi but are the first to complain that no one ever calls them. There are people who work all the time because they don't have a personal life. Work becomes a defensive mechanism when they realize they never made time for friends and family and now no one is there. These are just a few examples of how to recognize people who have given up having a life and are just going through the motions.
When I first read those books I thought "Who lives a life like this?" and then as I got to thinking, I realized I could point to a few people I had met throughout my life that chose this type of existence. I then realized I was looking at everyone I met a little differently. I recently had a series of eye appointments and on visit 2 my radar when up a bit. The doctor was a non-descript man, probably in his 50's. He had boring brown hair, brown socks, brown shoes, a brown suitcase. Let's just call him Mr. Brown. I began to imagine him having a boring life, having the same routine every day, and going back home at the end of the day to sit in his chair. I also noticed that he never looked me in the eye when he spoke but instead he addressed the wall behind my head. He was an eye doctor that couldn't even look me in the eye! I didn't get it. I began to imagine that his wife was bored and they probably hadn't even looked at each other in years. His whole demeanor was very "wah, wah". He didn't seem to have any life in him. It made me sad. I began to look around the train and saw a few people who had that look about them - that pale, lifeless look.
I don't understand why people chose to live a life like this. There are people who die every day way before they should....from accidents, tragedies, illness...these people would love to still be alive....would even fight to be alive. Yet, there are people who don't realize the precious gift of life that they have and choose to just go through life as a routine until their day comes. It makes no sense to me.
One of my personal motto's is "You get one life...make it a good one". I would love to shake these people sitting in chairs, these people waiting for the phone to ring,these people who hate their jobs and complain about them every day but do nothing to make an attempt to get out of these life sucking roles, these people refusing to try new things or go out of their comfort zone...get up people and enjoy your lives! I'm not saying you are one of these people but I do want to remind us all to embrace life and enjoy it.
Have friends over even though your house isn't clean. Say yes to something this week, even when your first reaction is no. Call someone you haven't talked to in awhile but keep thinking about. Cross one of your bucket list items off this month. Remember that life is a gift and it's here for us to enjoy.