Relentless. Such is life. And dissatisfaction of the soul is often the collateral damage of this relentless life.
My dear, I fear that you have been lied to. You’ve been led to believe the myth of the arrival. You believe that there is some thing, some person or some achievement that will usher in an era of tranquility in your soul.
- If I can just make it to next month
- This is just a hard season that I need to get through
- Once I get that raise
- Life is extra busy right now, once I am finished with x, I’ll be able to relax
- If only my husband could fix this one character flaw
- Things will be better once I find a new job
- I need to travel the world and experience other cultures
- Once I get the right sofa, then my house will feel complete and I will be able to relax
- After I save enough money to move, things will be better.
Lies. Despicable lies.
Adeline, you will never arrive. Life will level blow after blow on you, and it won’t stop. Sure, some periods of life are more difficult than others. But, if you want to learn satisfaction, true satisfaction, you need to stop searching for it in the next thing. It’s seductive and I don’t know one person, myself included, who doesn’t fall for it.
People caught in this trap have a similar refrain. “I am just surviving right now,” they say. They cheapen the word. An 8-year-old Filipino sex slave is surviving. A woman who fears for her life in an abusive relationship is surviving.
Most likely, you aren’t surviving, you are just dissatisfied.
There is joy in life, however. Indeed, there is much joy. You may also find true rest on occasion. In order to find this joy, this “white whale” if you will, stop looking for it in the next thing and start finding it in the current thing – no matter how difficult. Wrestle your mind out of the future, or out of the past, and pin it in the present. Seek out the hidden joys now because next season does not bestow respite.
I implore you to begin training your mind now, while your entire life is in front of you. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, it doesn’t get easier, it simply changes. Your current sorrows will melt away and be replaced by new ones. Likewise, your current joys will fade and you will come to discover new things. Right now, it might be the boyfriend who you think you love. In 10 years, it may be your own little toddler who lights up your day.
Adeline, for all its pain and joy, face your present, don’t escape it. Let it wash through you. Let it sharpen and deepen you. There is no lasting rest until the end of all things. There is only replaced hardships and fresh joys.
I leave you with my favorite lines from my favorite novel:
Oh! my friends, but this is man-killing! Yet this is life. For hardly have we mortals by long toilings extracted from this world’s vast bulk its small but valuable sperm; and then, with weary patience, cleansed ourselves from its defilements, and learned to live here in clean tabernacles of the soul; hardly is this done, when- There she blows!- the ghost is spouted up, and away we sail to fight some other world, and go through young life’s old routine again.
– Herman Melville, Moby Dick