You awaken poorly: another day, dull and confused. It is raining outside — bleak and wet. The day feels portentous. You are suddenly beset with the existential questions of life: how do I find the path that is rumored to be in front of me – how do I uncover my life mission?
We can all identify with these kinds of days, I am sure. Curiously: it is this seeking, this quest that keeps us alive and imaginative. The most heart-rending statistic is that fewer and fewer individuals can begin seeking because their daily needs are barely met.
They are so overwhelmed with a seeming dearth of opportunities that they may not engage at all. “In the new economic paradigm, wages are compressed among full-time salaried workers (meaning seniority/managerial based pay differentials, which were not all that great … to begin with, have narrowed).
And even worse from a societal standpoint is the rise of “freeters” or workers hired into temporary jobs. Some of them can work for the same company for a very long time, but they are not only paid less but are also not in the hierarchy of permanent worker. Many become freeters right out of college, and are never able to get back on track with their peers since companies … prefer to hire new college or professional school graduates into their entry-level positions.” (1)
Though these facts may be totally true, the post-Millennials (and all of us for that matter) must still continue to “push on” and uncover their mission in life – unless they do not want to! We are all subjected to that pernicious question: “What is my calling?” In the beginning, you won’t know, nor do any of us.
I feel it is such an individualistic journey that discussion is almost pointless. Though that being said, it is still a collective experience. There are too many examples in history of people facing dire times who overcame adversity to achieve their definition of success. (2) It is inordinately easy to find excuses to justify when we failed to go on, to “blaze those new trails through the wilderness.” We simply gave up. This startling occurrence is 100% my decision. I cannot in later life blame stress, my spouse, lack of money, lack of opportunity, etc, as reasons for failure. The mantle of me falls at my own feet.
This is on the more negative side. From a positive perspective, isn’t it wonderful that what I must merely do is go to work on myself – whatever my life circumstances? I can create all. But, of course, I must “believe” that I can do anything, given my givens, (3) as the Existentialists say. So, we must cherish those mornings when we question all. They are like coiled springs of action motivating us onward to further seek our life adventure.
The great author and poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), leaves us with a thought: No difficulty can discourage, no obstacle dismay, no trouble dishearten the man who has acquired the art of being alive. Difficulties are but dares of fate, obstacles but hurdles to try his skill, troubles but bitter tonics to give him strength; and he rises higher and looms greater after each encounter with adversity.
A closing thought: I remind myself that not every day can hold a positive and wonderful time. I use these moments to remind myself how much work I have to do to complete my mission in life – a journey that is truly endless. Life is ephemeral which is one of its greatest gifts. Today I may feel that I am in a trough of despair only in a fortnight to be on the edge of heaven. Such are the blessings of being truly alive.
(Parts of this essay were first published in 2019)
To sum up: This week we spoke about difficult days, what they mean, and how to overcome them. The answer: work, and hard work at that, can achieve everything — usually, for life is also fickle.
To be noted: Why do bicycles fall over? Because they are two-tired!
Just for fun:
For reflection: –
This week, on your thoughtful walk, please reflect on the power that comes with sad days.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave –critical thinking is great!
Quote: Every day is your gift of a piece of time. It will never be repeated.