For most people, real life is…well…boring. The real world isn’t like it is on television. Most of us don’t spend our days chasing bad guys and running along roofs in Monte Carlo. There is a reason there are so many exciting cop shows and gun battles on the big screen – it’s called escape. Our real lives are a series of commitments and kids and shopping and work projects. Unfortunately most of us have made financial commitments and have obligations that we need to pay for. Paying for things means work.
I have, arguably, a pretty sweet ride. I get paid to listen to other people’s problems, drink coffee, and pretend to be smart. When you think of vocations that are demanding and difficult, my career path doesn’t even crack the paint. If you have empathy and a desire to help other people it’s easy and very rewarding. Still, even this easy walk in the park gets old. Very few of us, in fact, after the initial blast of career steam, wake up every morning in a lather to get to work. Our lives are not overwhelmed with excitement and variety. Hopefully our home lives are fulfilling and stable, though probably not an adrenaline rush either. The media has us convinced that life should be a series of orgasms broken up only by trips and gunfights and touchdowns. Real life is not, unfortunately, “True Lies” and your nerd husband is not actually a super spy who hangs out with Tom Arnold. Sorry, he’s actually a nerd.
No one is talking about the catastrophic effect this is having on our dissatisfaction with life and the effect this media driven hysteria has on relationships, addictions, depression, anxiety, and life in general. Most of us grew up believing we were going to have exciting lives of adventure similar to the fantasies thrown at us since birth, and it is dawning on us that we aren’t models and rock stars and astronauts. Is it any wonder than that the statistics on depression are staggering? Why are we so shocked with the growing angst among the emerging generations? There is a reason people are doing more drugs and experimenting with sexuality and growing up later. We have bubble-wrapped our children and they are growing up unchallenged, uninjured, and curious, very curious.
When people ask me how anyone could become a drug addict I am prone to tell them the reason is – drugs are awesome! The high from Cocaine is way better than reality and if it wasn’t for the fact that it takes your house and your joy and eventually your life many of us would probably be stoned 24/7. Want to know the number one reason most of my clients who are recovering addicts return to active drug usage? Boredom. No one is talking about it at 12 Step Meetings but get an addict to be honest and he or she will probably tell you the ‘normie’ world is mind-numbingly boring.
Take the average day of a heroin addict. They get up in the morning feeling sick. Their day consists of finding money to get high, finding drugs to get high, getting high, being high, coming down, and going to bed. It isn’t much of a life but it isn’t boring, spending half the day getting high and the other half desperately on a search. Now put that same heroin addict on a Methadone Program. They get up in the morning and go to the Pharmacy at 8:15 for their cup of juice. They drink the juice. Day is over. Now what are they supposed to do all day? They have never had a job and have no capacity to lie on a resume and look for work. They come from generations of welfare recipients. They tell me all the time that they cannot imagine going to work every day and becoming a citizen. Many addicts equate that with giving up. Did you read that? My definition of success is their definition of giving up. Startling.
I have had to become ok with the real world. My life is not racing cars and nightclubs and beautiful hotel suites. Many people, however, continue to struggle with finding meaning their entire life. They are depressed by reality and long for a fantasy world of knights and damsels and adrenaline. They have a hole in their heart that they try to shove alcohol and Prozac and Ciprolex and sex and hoagies into, hoping to somehow feel like their life matters.
The real world is boring. Let’s say it together. The real world is boring. But that is actually not a bad thing. I cannot speak for everyone but I am fairly certain that I was not created or built for wall to wall orgasms. In fact most of the things in my life that matter have very little to do with adrenaline. I find more complete joy and fulfillment in the people I love and who love me than I ever could from something as shallow as a race car. The things that matter to me are the people I care about, in whose presence I feel more alive.
Fantasy is called that for a reason. I love pretending to shoot aliens and ride spaceships and being a spy as much as the next guy, maybe more. But at the end of the day I wouldn’t give up one minute with my new grandson Angus Scott for all the acclaim this world has to offer. And chances are, you wouldn’t either.
I think it was that Jesus guy who said something about that, even before Twitter.
- Lowering Your Expectations (scott-williams.ca)