I often wonder what people do during the course of any given week. I think our patterns could be easily summed up by saying:
- Make a mess and survive.
- Organize and survive.
My friends and family probably think I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. And if they do, then they’re absolutely correct. But what other options does one have unless you were one of the few fortunate ones? I suppose you could be out driving a truck on a delivery route, building a house, studying, watching TV, partying, filing reports, in meetings, grocery shopping, feeding the family, taking the kids to daycare, playing sports, etc. Only a few of those activities actually pays the bills. I personally don’t have many complaints – it’s generally other people passing judgment and trying to tell me how I should live life which sometimes gets to me a little. As I’ve grown with age, I’ve learned to more or less ignore what they think is “good” advice as to how someone else should be living. The truth is that you have to look at the advice-givers’ lives and their circumstances too – and if their own lives seems to be in shambles or seemingly chaotic, then you have to take their advice with a grain of salt.
The keyword here is circumstance. Everyone’s situation differs and no two are alike. Some people get married early-on in life. Others start having babies and gain additional responsibilities. Some people take on car bills. Others buy houses and have mortgages to meet. People often unwittingly fill their lives with rules in order to meet their obligations. Some people do have foresight and planning. Others just follow the leader because as imperfect as it may be, it seems to have worked moderately well for their parents and peers. However, none of us save perhaps Nostradamus (and maybe Edgar Cayce) have crystal balls lying around in order to predict the future.
But I do wonder what it is like to be in another person’s shoes for a short while. Would I be stuck in an office grumbling? Would I be at the photocopier for half the day organizing documents in order to make the cogs of the wheel turn? Would I be making someone else rich at my own expense (preferably someone that’s nice)? Or would I just accept fate and go about life with the blinders on? Perhaps I would truly be happy and content and none of those things would bother me – I don’t know what goes through somebody else’s head. I can only truly speak of my own experiences.
The animal kingdom is comfortable with pattern. Sometimes that pattern bores us, but that predictability provides a sense of stability. The truth is that during the course of our lives, there’s no saying that someone could fall out of the wheel well of a plane flying overhead, crash through the roof, and strike you dead there on the spot. The same applies to meteorites. In fact, my mom was struck by lightning once and lived to tell about it. She also won every single number except for one on the New York State lottery but had to split the earnings 20 different ways.
The moral of this story is that if you want to continue “making that mess,” then follow what an average person tells you to follow. If you’re comfortable with where you’re at or the trajectory that you’re currently running towards – then don’t change a single thing. And if you really want to get “ahead”, then be prepared to do something different than the rest. Follow your own gut instincts, or at least follow someone that has already traversed that path least taken before you.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost