Ever notice how some people who are in the worst of situations somehow continue to be positive, joyful people? Or how some people who appear to have everything they could ever need and want still seem so dissatisfied?
My question is usually the following one: Where are these people going in life?
People say sometimes that you must know where you’ve come from to know where you are. True indeed. But I also think that getting a true understanding of where you are going is equally important for one’s life orientation.
Many times, the person going through hardship sees a better future ahead. Something about the trajectory of their life, and the beauty of moving forward, supersedes the misery of the present situation. This is especially true if the person themself is actively involved in their own self-improvement, diligently in tune with each stage of the progress.
Meanwhile, somebody who “has it all”… where is [s]he going to go? What beautiful progress is there to be made in a life that is already [supposedly] perfect? Does a state of perfection really exist? Where do you go from there? (this kind of question always made it hard for me to understand the concept of Heaven as a child, you see)
Transformation is far more important than we value it to be. Time does not stand still. Things change, constantly. We grow older. Lives begin, and lives end.
So why pretend that things are static and unchanging? For our own personal comfort? In a world of increasing change, adaptation is key. Unfortunately, we fall into static thinking too often and get stuck. And then, when we need to change, it becomes hard or impossible, because we are not prepared for it. When that is the case, even if you are in paradise at the moment, not knowing where you’re going can even compromise your ability to enjoy where you are (hopefully it doesn’t, though).
There is a balance to be struck between continuous change and the need for some things that are static and consistent – and certainly, we need constants in our lives. But not everything can always be constant – and the reality of change always happening is a lot easier to accept and roll with in the long run than it is to fight off – even if you can fool yourself into thinking you can fight it off, in the short term.
You can’t always determine exactly where you are going. The stream of life will flow onward, and you will be affected by this flow no matter what. But it’s a lot easier when you’ve brought your own boat, oars, and sails to the expedition.
Which direction are you sailing in? And in which direction are those around you sailing in? Even if you are near somebody in your situation right now, don’t try too hard to hold onto them if they aren’t sailing in the same direction as you. Everything will work itself out in the future (whether you like it or not). Besides, those that have started much farther from you but are getting closer and going in the same direction as you are probably more compatible with your journey. Look for them, also; don’t shut out potential future friends and allies in your life’s journey.
I would like also to point out, in case anybody misunderstands me, that when I speak of where somebody is going, I am mot just talking about where they think they’re going. I am really speaking of where they are headed in the future in reality. It doesn’t matter, after all, if somebody thinks they are going to fly with no mechanical help, for example. if they can their arms to be big and strong enough to move air sufficiently. Somebody like this, in reality, is either headed for a change in opinion, a big disappointment, or possibly serious injury.
Where one is going does not have to do with illusions or delusions. It’s about the direction things are moving in – something that you have some influence over, but not complete control over. I once thought I was going into a career in real estate – until I took a sober look at which way things were blowing in my life and saw that no, this was not where I was going.
Often, if you take some time out to listen to everything, you can have a much better sense of where you’re going, and where others are going. What are your basic need and desires? In what context, through what medium, would such desires be most likely to flourish? Where are you at now, how does your past influence the present for you … and how is your past and where you’ve come from likely to influence your future?
There’s not exact method for determining where you’re going. And where you’re going can be quite quickly changed by sudden changes in the present reality, also. But all the while, if you want to have a sense of purpose and meaning to life, you must remember that where you’re going is more important than simply where you are. Or – better still – where you’re going is an unavoidably important part of where you are. As topsy-turvy as life can get sometimes, you must not forget that.
Related: Life is a film, not a photograph