Saturday, May 17, 2014

Normal Vs. Radical Lifestyle: Battles of A Normal Guy

They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching---
But can’t you hear the Wild---it’s calling you.

---Robert Service

I live in tension.  On one end I spend my days as the normal guy.  I go to work, enjoy my wife, delight in my daughter; pay bills, workout, go to church and try to accomplish my short list of goals.  Pushing against this everyday life is the challenge to live a radically good story.  I am not alone in this.  Sometimes I feel I go it alone.

Partly it’s the voices I struggle against.  I say these things to myself and accept them as truth.  What if they are lies?  I look at writers like Donald Miller and Stephen Pressfield and the voice says, “They are brilliant.  They are geniuses.  You are ‘a bear of little brain’ just like Winnie the Pooh.  Those writers are crazy and committed---or should be.  Myself, I am just a normal guy.  And what normal guys do is work hard, be good, play on weekends, make it to retirement then die.

I’m so freakin tired.  No wonder we live for our days off?  We drive to work and drive home; fight the traffic, schlep the children, catch a sit-com, kiss the wife and hit the pillow.  I want to find the energy to keep swimming upstream.  The vision stays alive but its ember and needs oxygen. 

Oxygen is difficult to find.  Yet we are wired to breathe it, wired not to settle for the air down here.  We are wired for more.  Settle into the Barcalounger and we die.  There’s that tension.  We are not content with status quo.  What’s the answer?


Anonymous said...

Many thoughts about the various things you said here.
1) Everyone you ever meet knows something you do not know. The same applies to Donald Miller and Pressman and everyone they meet.
2) Basic physics will help with the fading energy level. You already know this--a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Don't let yourself veg any more than absolutely necessary-- this is a conscious choice we must keep making, so instead of watching a sitcom, which rots both your brain and body simultaneously, sit down and at least use your brain while your body rests, maybe by pulling up some language lessons online or dusting off your fiddle (sorry that sounds like a euphemism-- you know it isn't).
3) Remember, writing is a discipline, so it is work, too. It isn't just fun and games, it's a job, and Miller and Pressman have made it theirs. But a radically great life can also be defined as you described yours: going to work, the gym, church, being a responsible tax-paying citizen, having a loving and healthy relationship with your wife and daughter. Some people never even have all that, so don't get too down on yourself for not also curing cancer or writing the great American novel. You have a pretty damn good life, and just because you don't (yet anyway) do what Miller and Pressman do for a living doesn't mean they are better than you.


Dillo said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I get it and totally agree. As a matter of fact you stole a little of my thunder for the blog post following this one! Thanks friend!