Is This All There Is To Life?
I think there are moments in all of our lives when we ask “Is this all there is?” Is this as good as life is going to get? Will everything from here on out just steadily decline until the last breath of life is drained from our body? Are we going to live a life of misery? Are we destined to leave this world unfulfilled, never having found passion, purpose, or even happiness.
The interesting thing is that we never seem to have these kinds of thoughts when things are going well. Think about it, when we reach a goal that once seemed impossible, are we thinking about how limited our world might be? No, on the contrary, the achievement energizes us and we prepare for an even brighter future.
Such defeatist thoughts tend to haunt us most at low points in our lives. From personal experience, I know that chronic illness and other life challenges that create limitations tend to bring up such feelings. These are the moments when our fantasies about having perfect health, being loved unconditionally, and having a size 0 bodies are deemed to be unrealistic.
Do We Deserve to Be Happy?
As I’ve said many times before, deep down we all think that we need everything to be perfect (especially ourselves) to be happy and have a great life. In this, we tend to be very all or nothing. If just one thing isn’t right then that’s where we fixated. Moreover, we do so even if everything else in our lives is good.
Beyond that, I think that we tend to associate poor health with aging. There’s something about hearing the word chronic that makes us realize that we can’t fix our problems. We can never be right again, we can only spiral into old age and eventual death.
With that thought, comes the notion that somehow our time to make a good life is at an end. The clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before death takes us. We will leave this world having never having found our passion and purpose. Somehow, despite our best efforts, our lives were without worth and we will be forgotten.
Perhaps, if we were faced with such a situation in our twenties, we’d take the situation on as a challenge. We’d see our depression and negative fortune telling as an indicator that we needed to make a new plan. We’d know that we needed to change our lives to create a fulfilled life.
More and More Piled On
However, something strange seems to happen over time. Over and over, we pick ourselves up and tackle life again and again. Sometimes, we succeed and sometimes we find even more obstacles along the way.
At some point, I think we get tired. We feel beaten up from life. We no longer believe the fantasy that we’ll all become rich and famous. And yes, at that point we do tend to wonder if this is all there is to life.
With this said, I don’t think that this is a cosmic sign that we are failures and need to just give up and die. Perhaps, it’s merely the time to realize that happiness is ours even if things aren’t perfect. To come to the understanding that there’s no time limit, we always have the potential to be happy, to feel fulfilled, and live a purposeful life no matter how old we are, no matter what our health issues, and no matter how much life has beaten us down.
But we do have to try. Of course, we have to be more patient with our bodies, putting self-care and self-compassion on the top of our lists. We may even have to be stricter with prioritization and use of our energy resources. Ultimately though, each day is a new opportunity, one that we can chose to embrace at any time despite our particular life circumstances.