Ever heard of a hamster wheel? I’m not sure why I ask because I’m sure that you have. Well, ever watch a hamster in his wheel then?
If you have then I’m sure you have a good idea of what I’m going to be talking about. There are probably some of you that might have a different reaction than I, one of amusement, where you’re like yah, the hamster likes it, see look at how much he enjoys being stuck in his cage, running on his wheel every day, day after day.
But if you’re like me, you look at the hamster with despair and sorrow. That he might as well be dead, or even in the wild at least attempting to live and get the most out of life. At least this way he’s (or she, right?), gets to run, out of choice, choice to have fun or maybe even to survive.
I’m not debating what’s right or wrong here, but I’m sure you can tell where I stand, but am wanting everyone to now envision themselves in this same way. Maybe not a wheel but a treadmill per-say, in your home, in your cage. And then others are doing the same thing to you, that you did when watching the hamster. They’re saying look how happy he is, running on his nice treadmill, in his nice house, everyday, day after day.
Maybe you’re the one in the wheel, or the one watching others in theirs, but either way, we’re all caught up in this same cycle. The cycle that Western life has engrained in us, that we live a certain way, one that we might not even be aware of, that’s not of our choosing. Well you might be one who already recognized this and got off the wheel and am totally digging what I’m saying but something tells me a majority of you are not this person, so I ask you, when is it time to get off the wheel?
So this analogy might not be one that speaks to you, which is fine. What I’m trying to get at, is that we all have a choice. We were born with one and it’s actually even in our constitution and well, all over the bible really. While I think we still might all make choices in our lives, on a daily basis, I think that these choices are somewhat skewed, the pattern already set for us, with our predetermined behaviors and way of being in our world. We all have been raised with certain beliefs set upon us, certain expectations set for us, a certain way to life really, mapped out for us. I’m doing it right now to my kids, actually. While yes, this is absolutely my responsibility, to try to raise them up in the world, in the best way possible, to lay out a paved path, so it’s easier for them to find their way. I think allowing them to stumble is ok though, as well as make choices, in what’s appropriate for them, at their age and cognitive level. Well I’m going off on a tangent a little bit now, so back to the bigger picture.
When we get to adulthood, we now have to, or get to make all the decisions, get to choose for ourselves, the rest of our future. Or are we, are we actually choosing, or has this way to living already been chosen for us?
I think we’re all at this point saying yah, I make my own choices for myself and my family. I choose on a daily basis how we’re going to live our lives. Or are you now questioning this, asking yourself how did I get here? I used to have all these goals and bigger picture dreams for myself and my future but what happened to them? I’m now waking up everyday to an alarm with the time determined by someone else, so I can get to go do what it is I do everyday, because I’m stuck doing it and not sure how not to. Spending my time racing around, doing all the things I thought was best for myself and/or my family, then ending my day feeling defeated still even though all my to do’s for the day got checked off.
I want to spend time, learning a new skill, new hobby, spend more time with loved one’s, people who I keep rescheduling time with, as right now, it’s just not the best time. I think next week or next month it will be better, different, I just got to get through today or this week, first. I’ll go hiking, biking, learn a new language, later as I just don’t have the time right now. I’ll start eating better tomorrow, start losing weight, start my diet on Monday, but today I just have to do, what it is, I have to do. Why, again? Why do the things that may bring the most amount of joy, positivity, real enjoyment have to get put on the back burner? Why, at the end of your day do you find yourself wanting to just binge watch a Netflix series?
If you work out or exercise, are you even doing it for yourself because you purely love it, or are you scheduling in this to do on your schedule for your day, for another reason? Maybe to fit into society’s standards of how we should look, or to impress others in your life, maybe to fit into certain clothes that somehow you have been convinced are what you have to have and wear, even though you had to spend more money than you would have liked on them.
Well is it all worth it? Did you put those clothes on your credit card, your gym membership, how much does that cost you, or even that treadmill in your home? And even yet that home you have, how much did that run you, how long do you have to work, work at that job you’re not even quite sure you even like, but tolerate, to afford all of this? All of that stuff, stuff at one time you had to get, then put in your home, at first excited but now it sits, piling up, no longer bringing you that joy and all ending up the same, as just more stuff.
Do you remember now, why you had to have that home or even the car you drive around in? I’m sure you made the choice to own those things, I’m sure no-one coerced you into buying them but now are you happy with your choice or do you find yourself asking, why was it again I bought this new car, I don’t even own it, I have a seven year loan with interest and it’s only been a year? How many days do you have to work now for that payment? Eventually the new wears off, eventually we start to ask ourselves, why did I choose this again? Eventually we look at our clothes in our closets and think to ourselves, I don’t even like anything I have.
You still can choose, everyday you still can make choices that determine where you are going to be in the next year or two. Are you going to feel something now from reading this, feel inspired but then again get caught up in your day and forget all about that feeling, to find yourself three months later doing nothing differently. Are you going to be still be running in your wheel, trying to get somewhere but never really getting anywhere?
P.S Start now, think to yourself is this my choice, is this absolutely what I want and is best for me? You can apply this to anything really, what it is you choose to eat, choose to spend your money on, how you spend your time, who you have in your life? Your end game here is really quite simple, to have less stress, feel less overwhelmed, have less stuff, that at only one time was a temporary instant gratifier but no longer means anything, make better choices that impact you, in a positive way, to start to choose to live and to simply just be living!
P. S. S. This is in no way easy for me, this is something I too am working on in my life. I’m going to save the details for another post, however the big picture is, this is the lesson I am attempting to live by in my life, to live simpler, to be more content and grateful, to end my days with less stress but more enjoyment, more happiness and then ultimately, to be the best version of myself, that I can be, but on my own terms and choosing.