The Disappointment Of Finding Out That Santa And A Job For Life Do Not Exist
Everyone has a story to tell.
And I am no different.
I have not reached the age that I am without experiencing the good things and the not so good things that life has to offer. And, as with every other story of a person that has lived to an age that would have been rare just a hundred or so years ago, these experiences have shaped me and played a significant part in making me who and what I have become.
But my story is not unique.
We all, mostly, start out in a similar way.
We are born, we grow, and, with luck, we keep on growing.
We learn, we try, learn again and then explore, and maybe ask a few questions and sometimes, just sometimes, take a moment or two to listen.
Then maybe, given more luck and an open mind and a good sense of direction and some interesting and supportive and hopefully, some slightly subversive friends, we find what we think is happiness, or at least a level of contentment that makes us feel some sense of worth.
And then we start to really engage.
We begin to realise that eternal joy and love is almost certainly just a marketing tool to support greetings card manufacturers and dress designers and expensive suit hire operators, based in old department stores that used to sell things that people really needed, back in the days of our parents or grandparents youth.
And it is around then that we start to open our eyes a little further and see that life, actually, does not do what it says on the tin.
And then, maybe, we have our genuine light bulb moment and begin to understand that comparing salaries and houses, holiday destinations, exam results or even fixed term mortgage interest rates, does not define our life or justify who we are or what we have done or make you or I a better person that anyone else.
It really doesn’t.
And then we start to realise that our value, and ultimately any chance we have of living a life of worth and associated happiness, largely depends on whether we can get past the initial disappointment of finding out that Santa and the tooth fairy and a job for life do not actually exist, and that the details on the tin are all a lie.
But if we do….
If we really do get past this point, then we get to establish, all by ourselves, that life with competitive and highly material expectations, is flawed and unrealistic and ultimately destined to lead to nothing but guilt and disappointment.
And then, our new reality starts to enlighten us and allow us to see that things of value do not last forever and that often, they may last only a minute, or an hour, or maybe just a few days, of our precious time. But these moments, however short, can be more meaningful than a lifetime of mediocrity or boredom or shallow talk behind twitching curtains about what others have accumulated and collected.
And what actually defines us, you and I, is what we feel and what we do for others and how we chose to spend the time that we have been given. It never has anything to do with a job title or a bank balance or a big “fuck off” house in the predominantly white, safe, middle class ghettos, buried deep in the green and leafy suburbs of some expensive and busy metropolis.
And showing empathy, kindness and generosity are the successes that should be included on our CV or social media profile or shared with those that we meet at our next corporate networking event.
Not what we do, or what we used to be, or where we live.
We are our values, and how we live them defines us and nothing else. Without values to be proud of, values that shape our life every single day in a positive and meaningful way, then what do we have, you and I?
All we would be left with is a life story about accumulation, collection and competition, which will mean everything to the sort of person that really should mean nothing to us.
We will not be worth the sum of our efforts.
And if I have learned just one thing, it is that stories of exam results, pension pot sizes and holiday home values are never, ever, worth listening to.
And that, surely, is just a waste of a life.