It’s quite amazing how many people go through their lives with very little thought as to where they are heading with it.
There is an accepted lifecycle assigned to everyone and most of us seem to just fall into it and ‘live’ it out as if there was no alternative.
There are some truly disturbing statistics about people’s lives, most of it relates to their financial status at retirement time but I won’t scare you with that, you can research it by yourself if you have not heard it all before. But what is even more disturbing is the quality and ‘purposeless-ness’ of their lives which is difficult to measure or put into statistics, yet is all around us.
I don’t want to point fingers at anyone, all you have to do is look around and you’ll see what I mean. I often look at people with drug and alcohol problems or even history of selfharm, suicide. I think it is getting worse and I just couldn’t help myself from wondering why that is.
I don’t claim to know all the reasons for it or be an expert in this field, however, I have a keen eye and lived enough, both in years and experience, to have found some of the common reasons why that is and what some of the solutions might be to this problem.
But the way I see it, one of the biggest problems is this lack of purpose people find in their lives. The other is the lack of time or, for one reason or another, commitment to finding out about it.
It is not easy to stop and look at one’s life and it is even more difficult to face up to the reasons why someone’s life may have no purpose or is ‘in a mess’. The lack of unbiased, friendly and in some cases anonymous help make this even more difficult. I haven’t done any research (yet) on how good free, anonymous phone-in help lines are. But I would not be surprised if they were very, very busy. I say this because of a personal experience I had as a young university student.
I had some problems in my life and thought there was no one I could talk to. So, after some struggle within myself I decided to drop in at the university’s own counseling service. I’d explained that I had some problems I really needed to discuss with someone. They started asking my name, address, what course I was attending etc, etc, etc. Two minutes into this ‘conversation’ I thought to myself “hang on, I don’t want to be a statistic, I just need someone to talk to… now.” It was hard enough to come up with the courage and come to a complete stranger and own up that I do have a problem that I don’t think I can solve on my own and need some else’s help, let alone being quizzed about things which should not really matter, not just now anyway.
So, I promptly turned around and left without saying much. I don’t think they’d kept my record, need to keep the paperwork down, you know… Anyway, I got myself an ice cream, two scoops just to be on the safe side and had a loooong walk in the city churning over thoughts after thoughts in my head. It was one of the worst and best days of my life. The worst because I realized I was only a number at the university and I did not get the help I needed so very much and I also realised I did not have anyone close enough to talk to about my problems. And the best because in the long walk I’d allowed myself some ‘time-out’. Allowed myself to stop and think about what was happening to me, why I was having the problems I was so desperately seeking solution to and why I felt so alone. I’d found time enough to clear my head and find the solution from within… I can’t remember what route I took, where I ended up walking to. But I can clearly remember every thought I had on that day and this was more than 20 years ago…
Since then I’ve learnt to rely more on my own abilities and realised that all solutions have to come from within. You are the only person who knows everything about yourself and this makes you the only person qualified to find the right solution for your problems. Sometimes it seems easier to try and find someone to help you, in a sense put the responsibility on them. But to be as blunt as I can, you are the only person to whom your problems matters the most. It is good and you should discuss things with others, use as them as sounding boards, source for inspiration and encouragement but at the end of the day you have to solve your problems from within. You have to look at your life and find a direction and purpose for it.