Life Maintenance

It’s an easy, simple, and catchy motto: “Life is wonderful!” Not always and not for everyone, but essentially most of the time one can find a positive side of any coin. If you can’t, you’ll just reassure yourself that a new better coin is coming eventually. That’s how motivation works and we need motivation to keep us going with every activity we partake in, including life itself. Of course life can be wonderful. It can provide us with beautiful moments and memories, it can fill our hearts with joy, warmth, and love. But life can also be horrid. It can be painful and difficult, it can put us through terror, fear, and coldness. Life has variety and complexity. It is not a static straight line and cannot be labeled only as “wonderful.”

Someone may be at a beach with a gorgeous view enjoying a cup of coffee with some ice-cream on the side. Someone else is hiding under their kitchen table with their arms wrapped around their child, expecting the worst because an intruder has broken in their home. Life’s just that screwed up. You can touch the sky and you can hit the ground, moments apart. It tends to happen one after another, though not always in that order. And it’s always different for all of us, despite the fact that we like relating to each other’s pain or happiness. Certain individual elements may be similar or even the same for two people, but never a series of events, let alone their whole life.

But that’s another train of thoughts, the current one is about the path we walk before reaching whatever wonderful goal we’ve been headed toward. Prior to that special day that one’s wedding is (to each their own, I find most weddings a rather pompous waste of time) or the day we bring our offspring to this world we’ve led a portion of our lives. Most of us finish a certain degree of education, find a job, if we’re lucky we stick with it for a while and try to earn a bit more than just for a living. Essentially we put quite a lot of effort into establishing a home in expectation of the family we intend to create. The goal’s wonderful, but the path’s thorny and painful.

Or if we take a more simple and shorter example, an average day of ours is filled with tasks and chores we have to complete. These take away time, effort, energy, and are rarely enjoyable. Yet they’re crucial to our existence and without them you cannot have wonderful moments. Often times even socializing can be a bore or may simply not be the thing we want to do. But relationships of any kind, whether with a partner, friends, or family, are important and we sacrifice our time for them. We take away time from our hobbies for events we don’t want to go to. We talk with people we do not like to keep up formal appearances. We do work we dislike because we need the money. We do chores we hate because they’re imperative for our everyday living. We throw ourselves in bushes covered with thorns solely because of the hope that we may find a lovely red rose in there.

It’s not that it is meant to be that way, it is simply how it is. The common opinion is that if you’re not happy with something you should move away from it, find something else you find joy in. In reality, however, moving away is not something we can easily do. We can’t just flap our hands and fly away to a better place (trust me, I’ve tried). It tends to be a long and costly procedure and far more complicated than one would have thought. As Bill Hicks used to say, “if you think you’re free, try going somewhere without money.” That perfect vacation one imagines they’ll spend on the Hawaiian Islands is definitely wonderful, but it turns out it isn’t cheap at all so it won’t be happening any time soon. I may find happiness in sleeping but I can’t spend my whole life under my bed covers.

So at the end of the day, life is all but wonderful. It’s a series of stressful, dangerous, difficult, and painful events. But along that black and dreadful chain there are white links, beautiful stuff that brings us joy. It may be why it is easier to think of the wonderful things in life — they’re fewer. But I’d like to think that they’re also stronger than the bad things. Our memories of happy moments tend to be more vivid than the ones we find painful or sorrowful. Everything we go through for a few hours of happiness may just be worth it. It has to be, right? We have to fulfill our dreams, even if it means we go the depths of hell and back to do it. The journey might suck, but the feeling of achievement would be amazing. It would be wonderful, even if only for a moment.

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