I watched a video recently that was excellent, and it wasn’t of a cat. It was a video about how we frame our perception of our lives. The way most seem to frame their lives would be that it’s a journey. There’s a final destination that you’re trying to get to, and once there it’s the end of that life. Based on that notion, the only possible destination is death, and that’s where the journey leads. Most however take a shorter view of the journey metaphor and say the destination is finishing college, or buying a home, or finding a job you like. But what then? What happens when you have that degree, or home, or job? Does life stop since you have “arrived”? Of course not, life continues. This way of framing life seems to be that of the competitive, achievement driven person. They have to have a goal. They’ve been taught that goals are good and that they should even make stretch goals just in case their goals are “too easily” (what does that mean even?) met.
There are also those who talk about getting through. Like life is something that we have to weather in order to get through. That certainly does at times feel like what’s happening, but it seems so passive in it’s voice. As if the things happening around you are just stormy waves that you have no way to stop, so you have to just ride them out until the storm passes and the ocean quiets again. I think this way of framing life would be in line with someone who may feel that they are a victim, powerless, not in control. There are certainly things that we can’t control in our lives, but how we frame our involvement says something about who we are at our core.
The better analogy in the video I believe matches more closely what I think of in terms of framing life.
It’s not something we get through, or work, and it doesn’t have a destination. It’s like playing a musical instrument, or dancing, or yes…. fencing.
I play the piano because it brings me joy. I don’t work the piano. Playing the piano isn’t a journey with a destination. It’s not something I get through as if it’s a chore, it’s a joy. I don’t play to get somewhere, or accomplish anything. I play to feel joy. The joy of doing, the joy of feeling.
I’m a competitive person by nature according to most. I fence foil because it brings me joy. Winning isn’t what makes me feel that joy, playing the game does. It’s not something you live through, it’s not work, it’s something you play. There’s no destination as it’s not a journey either. Fencing is a joy, and I do it so I can feel that joy.
Dancing would be a strange thing if there were a destination on the floor you were supposed to end on. The purpose of the dance is to dance. To experience joy and to feel.
There are many ways to frame what life is about. I find that life is something to be enjoyed, it’s something to be played, it’s not something to be worked, and there isn’t a destination. Life is to be played joyfully.
While it’s hard to remember this at times when things aren’t going the way I may like, I will continue to play instead of getting through. I won’t be as happy a man as the sea will allow, but rather as happy as playing life makes me.