I saw a few years ago a TV show about a young boy from a poor village, (in Morocco if I am not mistaking). He was an adolescent (14-16 years of age), he had abandoned school and he went to a big city to work. His family was very poor, he had many brothers and sisters and he was the oldest son. He was working every day in what seemed to a westerner bad working conditions and from time to time he would send money to his family. Also, a few times a year he would go back to his village and he would bring presents to his family. To me, his life seemed harsh, yet he was happy, happier than most of the persons I knew. When he talked about bringing presents to his brothers and sisters he had the most genuine smile I had ever seen. It stunned me. He was happier than the teenagers I knew even if his life seemed less fortunate than theirs. Just a few weeks before seeing the show I had read a study on how more and more teenagers from the developed countries get sick with psychological diseases like depression, they commit suicide and so on.
At about the same time, one of my colleagues at work (who is from a west European country) complained that her teenage son does not want to go to college because he thinks it is too much trouble. She asked me if it was the same for me when I was at that age and the question amazed me. No, it was not: I did not have much of a choice; if I did not go to college my life would have been much harsher. If I could get into a college and my parents had the means to pay for it, there is no question if I went there or not.
With all this, I begin to think that from this part, something was wrong in the rich countries. I did not understand it completely until recently when I came to terms with my own similar feelings. I realized some time ago that something is not right in my life and I started digging. And I took every part of my life and I analyzed it. It all seemed right, I had everything I wanted. My life was perfect. Still, there was this void inside of me that did not leave me alone. I even had this thought passing through my head: “I want to run away from my life”. And I kept asking myself: “Why? My life is so perfect…”. And then, a few days ago, with the help of a colleague from my coaching training, I realized the problem: “My life was indeed perfect. In fact it was too perfect!”
We are all searching our entire lives for the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect wife or husband, for the perfect life. Yet when we arrive there we are either not so satisfied, or we realize it is not so perfect and we start searching for something else, or worse, we start to destroy our perfect thing.
Is there something wrong with us? At first glance it may seem that way but … maybe not. Imagine a life where everything is perfect and there is nothing to do but just enjoy everything you have. Nothing to do…. It’s scary, right? It feels like you are already dead. I would get bored in the next minute. Why? Because life is not about living in the perfect conditions, life is about striving, it’s about change, it’s about making things better. It’s about enjoyment but it is also about pain. It’s about feeling joy and pain, anger and sadness; it’s about living the moment with whatever it brings.
So stop searching for the perfect moment in order to live it, start living everything now, all the pain, sadness, anger, joy. This is life in all its glory, this is all we get and we would not want it any other way.
It is already perfect the way it is.