How Can We Have A Better Life?

As we grow older and walk into different settings of weddings, reunions or funerals, we are often reminded of how finite our time in the world is. One moment we’re yelling into each others’ ears that the night is still young, and the next we’re desperately hoping to run away from being inundated with noise. As we grow older, we’re able to better picture our future with narrowing options remaining to us and we start to judge/compare our peers’ differing choices. Some of them come from a place of envy and others come from a place of contempt or simply a mix of both. Whether you believe it or not, just like gravity, there is a tension. There is an ever slightest bit of strain between the married and the single, the childless and parents, careerists and the stay-at-home. We’re evaluating the people who are consistent and predictable for most parts and putting a score as to whether their life is great, whether they’re winning in this game of life.

More than that, we’re asking ourselves if we truly want to go in that direction, if it is worth it to force our life to conform to a script.

On the other side, strangely not that far off, you have people with hilarious anecdotes of how they’ve pushed the limits of normalcy. Frankly, we’re impressed at how they took a leap of faith, multiple times in fact, to do things that we can only have our jaw dropped in an abstract dreamy way. Sure enough, their experiences may not be good, after all, good stories hardly come from happy experiences. But their experiences are wholesome, and that “I would love to try that one day” eats us up from deep within. Maybe not now, but one day it will.

This is precisely how and why we feel our life is lacking.

We’re all anxious in sizing up how everyone else’s decisions have worked out and whether that leap of faith they’ve somehow took in place of us is justified. The fact is most of us are afraid to be on the hook. We’re afraid to make a promise we can’t keep. We’re afraid of taking responsibility of our intentional actions. We tell ourselves that we’ll push certain things to the future and conveniently forget till one day we’re reminded that deliberately omitting what we truly want is not very much different from being dishonest to ourselves. Instead of comparing one’s life to another, it is better to come to terms that we can’t replicate a sequence of intentional steps. I believe life isn’t a pathway where you can just follow the most efficient route and march on. More so, life is like us being Dora the Explorer sidestepping certain stones with a random scattering of happenstance, of which most of them we can control and some others not so much, that lead us to where we are right now. We need to understand that radically divergent trajectories are not indicators of a good or bad life, but a display of difference between what we want to want, or think we ought to want and what we actually want. The people who recognise which is which are the ones who are actually “winning in life.”

Ultimately, we like the life that we choose.

We make choices, and these choices lead to preferences. These preferences then lead to habits and these habits shape the person we decide to be. While we may deem some individuals to be persistently irrational, it is less likely the case that they’re dumb and more likely the case that they don’t believe what we believe, don’t see what we see or simply don’t want what we want. This is possibly due to the difference in measurement of time and desire. We often feel someone is living life wrongly when the truth is that there is a mismatch of needs, narratives and believe it or not, serendipity.

There is a fine line between fishing and doing nothing. We would like to think that we’re fishing, but the truth is we don’t have the line.