I have decided that life is like a wash cycle.
Imagine for a second that childhood through teens is the wash, rinse, and spin cycle. During this time society attempts to make us all "smell" (or become) the same... rules, behavior, etc. Then adulthood arrives and we get tossed into the tumble dryer, forced to explore, mix and mingle. This is the messy, confusing part, because now we are told the complete opposite. "Go forth and be individuals!" It is time to figure out who we are and become someone. And then, without warning, D-Day arrives. Yanked out of the tumble dryer we are dropped to the floor and now told it is our time to die.
Okay, this may be a stretch. I do have a zealous tendency toward the overly dramatic, but bear with me. I believe this tumbled, messed up way in which we propel through life causes a rift to occur inside us.
A rift from our true selves.
There is one question most people can't answer in life.
Who am I?
And as I pondered this the other day it suddenly hit me... this analogy, our wash cycle life. I envisioned every one of us literally rinsed and wrung out, every drop of our original essence squeezed into a vacuum of sameness. In that moment, life made sense to me. I understood why so many of us (including myself) struggle to just be.
It's no easy task figuring out who we are and remaining true to ourselves in this cluttered digital world filled with in your face "personalities". In fact, I'm sure a lot of us prefer not to delve into who we are, perhaps are happily oblivious, or are simply overwhelmed by the work necessary to "find" themselves. It's all too easy to just go with the flow and become a by product of society.
It all begins the moment we are born. From day one our malleable minds are taught by following others. Whether it's our parents, teachers, peers, the media, ultimately we are lead by example. And with this learned information, we emulate.
The truth is society doesn't really encourage us to be unique. It alludes. It encourages a concept.
We are taught that we can be anything we want to be. Yet when reality finally collides with the onset of adulthood, so does the birth of disillusionment. We are programmed to seek what we like by becoming impressed with others, and driven by these combined emotions told to make our mark. We allow the successful paths of others to become our own attempted road maps to success. Problem is, what works for others will not work for us. Our collective paths to success can never be the same.
A single, winning formula does not exist.
Wired differently, we all come from unique perspectives. We can never be someone we are not, no matter how hard we try. Plus, success is different for each of us. It isn't always about spawning a multi million dollar business, or being adored and followed by thousands of fans. No. This version of success is a belief that I liken to a virus spread by the "wash cycle", spurring discontent and sadness among the majority.
Success is about living our personal truth.
It's that simple. But not easy...
I have learned through sheer frustration that no one else has my answers. The only way is to look inward. Wade back through the vacuum and slowly undo layers of implanted sameness. Unravel those learned threads of society and separate them from the golden threads of our own unique makeup. Allow our toes to dip into the wells of our personal truth and finally celebrate who we are at the core.
As I said, it's not an easy path to take. In fact it is the only path not yet trodden, so it's pretty dark and kind of scary. And it's a life time commitment!
But then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.