The other day at the gym I noticed one of my friends sitting on a gym machine looking very glum indeed. I went over to him and asked him how he was. “Oh I don’t know,” he replied, “I’ve just come back from a holiday in Spain with my partner and I didn’t really enjoy it. In fact I’m sick of doing the things I don’t want to do. I’m sick of just fitting in. I feel my life’s over.” “What do you mean you feel you’re life’s over,” I said, stunned. “Well,” he replied, “I never get to do what I want to do.” “Why,” I asked. “Well I don’t want to say what I want to do because I don’t want to make waves,” (For those who are unfamiliar with the Australian expression “make waves,” it simply means cause trouble or any inconvenience).
It is little wonder he was feeling down. Keeping silent about what you want to do in life is a certain way to depression. Of course letting others know what you want to do means, letting yourself be seen. It means exposing your interests and desires and for some people this can be scary because, shock, horror, someone might object! If someone objects well, that someone, he or she, is free to do whatever he or she wants to do. People are not joined at the hip.
Anyway my friend continued to sit on the gym machine, his face glum and his head down. “I feel I can’t do anything about it.” He said. “I just feel my life is over.” “Rubbish,” I retorted, “how old are you?” “Fifty, I’ll be fifty one this year.” “Well,” I said “I’m 71 and I’ll be 72 this year and my life’s certainly not over, far from it, I’ve got too much to do. You know it’s not always easy to make your life happen. Life doesn’t have a habit of coming up to you and saying, just let me know what you want and it’s yours.” In order to live the life you want to live you must have a go, make mistakes and learn. You must let yourself be seen. Hiding underneath “I don’t want to make waves,” is never fulfilling, never exciting. In fact it’s not even living. Life can be more than just existing. So lift your head up over the parapet and go for it!