A couple of years ago, I was in denial that anything in my life really needed to change. On a deeper level, I did realize I wasn’t activating my full potential, but on the surface, I was OK with telling myself that where I was in life was “good enough” and that maybe I just wasn’t meant to live anywhere else, work anywhere else, or date/befriend/get close to anyone who wasn’t “broken”(Because I felt broken!).
Then one day, I had an eye opening revelation. I was dating someone who had access to a lot of money and loved to flaunt it. Our entire courtship was a whirlwind of money, glamour, and attention (attention on me, of course; We will talk more about this relationship later, as it ended up being one of the most toxic experiences of my life, and ironically the most conducive to my spiritual growth). He whisked me away to this exotic vacation where all of the pleasures money could buy surrounded us in abundance. A couple months prior I couldn’t afford to fill my gas tank and here I was with an endless supply of the finest clothes, food, hotels and liquor right at my fingertips. But as the excitement of the “new” romance wore off, I realized that to be sedated (whether it be from shopping, eating, drinking, drugs, relationships, etc.) is really quite boring after awhile! At the end of the party, you are left with yourself. And its hardest to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, isn’t it?
I’ll give you another example. For about 15 years, I worked on and off for a family owned restaurant that was known for their amazing margaritas. I’m not kidding, they are like liquid crack. People come to this place from all over the world to drink them. Even the restaurants in neighboring Chicago couldn’t compete, or so my Chicago resident regulars would tell me. Well, with all that fame comes a lot of pressure on the servers who work there. You have to be fast, you have to work under pressure, and you have to be able to handle being around a lot of drunk people. So, at the end of the day, you’re tired. You don’t even feel like walking to your car, because you’ve worked so hard for 12+ hours and you just want to relax. You order a margarita from the bar, you take off your apron, ignore your phone, and sit down with your coworkers (the only people who REALLY understand you and how tired you are). It’s your turn now, dammit!
Imagine all the relationships, friendships, and “bonds” that were formed amongst that crew. In some ways, there is a family kinship there that can’t be broken. But its addictive. Many servers suffer strains on their marriage, their pursuit of education, their finances, and their lives in general. But the comfort of being a part of something so tight, acceptance of the group, and familiarity of the routine can be very seductive. Stay with me now, I will show you how this relates to where you may be.
One day, I took a step back and watched my fellow servers interact at the end of a long Friday night. How much fun they were having! How much laughter! Lingering customers kept looking over with longing in their eyes, like they wanted to be a part of the action (We actually do have customers that come by just to “watch” us interact; Like I said, it’s a very fun group). But I saw something different. I saw us all engaging in something that didn’t MEAN anything, something that wasn’t really conducive to our growth. We were all STUCK. We worked so hard to earn our money, and for what? To sedate? To escape? To put it right back into the bar we earned it from?
My point is, there is MORE to life. Much, much, more than working for hours to engage in a cheap thrill or a vacation once a year. Whats the sense of living if you only enjoy 20% of your life?
There had to be more to life, I was convinced of it. I could no longer equate money with happiness, because like any drug, anything you use to “make yourself happy” or numb the pain wears off. That includes escaping reality with the high of a new lover, a new job, the holidays, a new baby…anything you use to distract yourself from yourself! And if the ultimate goal in life is to earn money so you can take vacations and “escape” and “sedate” more and more, then what on earth is the point!?! It all gets old…
Perhaps you don’t drink, so you don’t see how this relates to you. But maybe your “margarita” at the end of the day isn’t a margarita at all. Perhaps it’s a new lover, or a shopping addiction, or immersing yourself in work. Many people in my hometown know little about happiness outside of drinking, eating, or watching a Packer game (All fun things to do, btw.) As for me, I battled various eating disorders for most of my early life, so at one point my “margarita” was the anticipation of my next meal (many of my family members are guilty of this one, and will be quick to point out the flaws in others without looking at their own behaviors). Or maybe you’re just “stuck” in general, living a hodrum day to day life, where you feel completely empty and unfulfilled. Living check to check in a loveless, sexless marriage…never truly finding happiness. I want to change all that and take my life in a different direction.
And I invite you to come with me.
If you believe there is more to life than cheap thrills, don’t settle! Lets change our lives TODAY, because it starts and ends with YOU! It always has.