There’s a saying that every cloud has a silver lining. It means that you should look for the good even in bad things. I always take it as a nice way to tell people to stop whining.
As humans I think we have a great tendency to complain. When things go well we may tell our closest friends but when things go wrong we tell EVERYBODY.
OK, so maybe not all the time. The REALLY bad things we usually keep to ourselves and maybe share with a therapist. But we do like to share our everyday annoyances and the people we vent to like to share theirs back. It creates a bond between people to know we go through similar events and have to face the same hardships in daily life.
Part of this is related to jealousy and greed. We want what others have, we sometimes resent those who seem to have more or be happier than ourselves. Even if today we are ten times better than we were a year ago, we always want more. I don’t think that makes us bad, necessarily. I suppose it depends on what we want and what we’re willing to do to get it. Just wanting more can actually be a good thing. Having a goal keeps life interested, keeps us focused, keeps us interested. Unless someone has the kind of personality that makes them feel entitled without having to move a finger to get what they want, most people work toward their goal and that makes them productive. You get a job to pay the bills, save money to buy a house, a car, whatever, get better at your job to be promoted and have more money to buy better things or simply to have fulfillment of being the best at what you do. That’s the idea, anyway.
The truth is that the universe seems to be a little twisted and likes to balance things out. This means you always have to choose. The common saying is ‘love or money’. It’s one example and it’s as good as any other. In practical terms what it means is you can’t have everything. To have something you have to sacrifice something else – to dedicate enough hours to be the best at your job there’s not enough time for a relationship or family, for example.
Sometimes your age, natural aptitude, bank account, whatever, may be enough to stop you from getting what you want and there’s little you can do about it. This means that the people who succeed at something, the ones we hear about, who inspire us or make us envious, are usually very driven people, with a single goal in mind that probably takes up most of their time and energy. The rest of us tend to stumble along the way on the multitude of little obstacles that cross our path and make us constantly whine and complain.
Looking back at our own lives I’m sure there are dozens of examples that leap to mind without having to dig very deep: A todler wants to be independent but can’t accomplish much without help; A teenager as the ideals, energy and sometimes drive to do many things but lacks the independence and funds, so unless they have extremely supportive parents or a complete lack of guilt about annoying them to death until you get what you want, most teens have to shelve their world domination plans until a later time; A young adult may have the independence, at last, but is usually too busy trying to find a way to pay the bills to have time for anything else; If you’re lucky enough to get a job doing what you love, that’s wonderful, but not many of us manage. And if you’re focused on getting that dream job, sometimes your personal life takes a back seat; If, on the other hand you fall in love and want to start a family, usually the dream job gets dropped from the top of the priority pile to make room for nest-building.
Then, as you get older, maybe your family and job are where they should be but you start gaining weight and feel unhappy about that. Or maybe, like a certain person who shall remain nameless, you manage to lose the weight that would make you feel better about your appearance but then suddenly have to get sodding braces at 38 years of age… Oh, wait… that sounds like whining again, doesn’t it?
Anyway, my point is that there seems to be a balance. For every little thing we gain it seems that we lose something else, even if it’s a tiny something, just to keep things interesting. I just wonder why that is, that’s all.
And to me, the thing to keep in mind is: when you think about that person that seems to have everything you ever wanted, did you ever stop to think what they had to give up to get it? Do some lucky few actually manage to escape the balance rule or does it spread equally?
I think that’s why gossip magazines are so popular. If someone is rich and famous it’s only right they should at least get arrested for trashing a hotel room once in a while. None of the ladies at the hairdresser have ever been arrested so they can feel smug and superior for five minutes, and balance is achieved once again.
Good post, you made good points. I guess when you understand not everything can come easy or free, and that not everything is your right to have, you can be happier, and work for things. Knowing that you can’t have it all, that no one really has it all – I also believe that. There’s no 100%, there’s no perfection, there’s always something missing – it’s what’s missing, what we don’t have yet, that keeps us going anyway. Keeps us from sitting on our asses demanding and whining about everything we don’t really work for. We also need to make sense of things, it gives us a false sense of control over our lives.. Anything to keep us going, and getting up every morning, I guess.