Monday, August 10, 2009

Response to a comment on "My mid life crisis"

Anonymous posted "You will feel alive when - you get out of your comfort zone ready to set new expectations and change."

I thought I addressed this in the post but let me elaborate a little -

Setting new expectations for yourself outside the norm and striving to meet it is, as I've pointed out, what will satisfy most people. Personally, being out of my comfort zone and challenging myself is currently in my comfort zone. So much so, that I fear that these challenges, in order to be satisfying and enriching, are going to have to get taller and come at intervals way more frequent than they are right now.

All this talk of setting new expectations and change usually refers to your personal life and your view of your personal self. I want to extend that to your professional life too. I see no point in attempting to re-define yourself in your non-professional life but go back to an existence where all you strive for is the corner window office, better pay, better benefits, aspire to become a manager or any equivalent of this whatever your domain maybe. Couple that with buying a house with a yard, getting a dog and raising a family then you get a life awash with the gray of mundanity. Think about everything that is the norm of your life - from going to the mall to check out the latest sale to drinking coffee from your favorite barrista - I hate the ordinariness of it all - it closets and stifles the possibilities of enriching life beyond keeping up with the joneses.

Following this pattern of life gets you what exactly? A facade of happiness? A facade of stability?

Not that there is anything wrong with this - this is exactly what floats many a boat. Just not mine.

I don't know what I want of and from life instead but the possibility of living this shell of a life just because I did not try to break out and redefine my life is positively terrifying. I feel trapped by this life - the only life I've known.

[Some other random thoughts]
Can I, at this stage of my life, be, say for example, a musician? *Maybe* Why exactly is it this hard? Because I've been following the harder/faster/better routine all my life (I haven't even gotten anywhere doing that). Staying in this rut has precluded so many possibilities, one of them being a life as a musician.

The point I make here is that the longer I stay in a lifestyle governed by these norms and accepted ways, the harder it becomes to break out and change your life in a fundamental way. You may compensate by launching onto themes that are finely nuanced to differentiate you from the rest of the herd but that is as far as you are going to get with this exclusivity. Even though this drive to be different and exclusive is not what drives the initial desire to be fundamentally different, this is the only resort available when you no longer are able to enrich your life in a fundamental way. This is why, I think, you see people in their 40s and 50s suddenly going berserk and going "out of their comfort zone" by going sky diving, buying a swanky new Porsche etc. What is the point of it all?

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