There seems to be a pressure which pushes all of us inexorably forward. Often, people are pushed in a direction we would rather not go. We are forced by society to obey unwritten rules. A person need not choose something he does not want. Striving for happiness should be the goal that everyone strives for, not meeting pointless standards. Albert Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” This may sound mystical and metaphysical for someone like him to say, but there is a good point made in this statement. The world everyone knows merely exists; meaning is given to it by cognizant beings. To that effect, life is what every individual makes of it and meaning comes from that person. So why put so much emphasis on what other believe and think? If something make a person happy, then that should be her goal. That thing should be her objective in life, not mindless appeasement of the masses. I am not saying that one can do what he pleases. There are limits to everything, and the point I am trying to make is that there are more important things than flowing along the blind currents of other’s opinions. At the same time, everyone has something to contribute to this world and make it better in some way. I see to often people who just try to drift through life like a log in the ocean (though more often like a stick in the mud). Einstein (I am a fan if you have not noticed) also said, “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” Apathy is fate worse than death. Even a corpse can feed the insects and bacteria, but such apathetic people merely consume. Life is what one makes of it, if nothing is put into it, then it is wasted. I know everyone says he does what he wants to do, but I know from experience that some things are more fulfilling than others. I know the feeling where sitting around doing nothing seems better than something productive, but in retrospect I can personally say I regret missing a few things.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.