This is life. What else were you expecting? Fireworks, a parade, some kind of awards ceremony? Sorry to disappoint you, but, this is it.

This is your job. It’s waking up in the morning, slogging your way through a commute to get to a place to do work that you’re apathetic about. Clock in, clock out, whether you punch the clock or not, it’s all a grind. You’re judged for what you produce, not who you are, at the whims of your leaders who know little and care even less about who you are, your wants, your dreams, your fears, your desires — that beautiful package that makes you, you.

This is your work. It’s described as creative. You get to make stuff. You get to make stuff for other people. You get to make stuff for other people who don’t have the skills to make stuff and don’t understand what it means to make stuff, to sacrifice your soul for each of them, the stress of perfection, obsessing every detail so you can create that perfect rendering of what’s in your heart. Make more, make it faster, make it differently, they say as they try to bend you to their whims.

These are your leaders. As a child, you looked up to people like this and believed that these were great men and women, free of common foibles. The more direct exposure you get to them, the more you realize they are just as flawed as the rest of us. Maybe even more so.

Ladder within a tower
Photo by Rob Bye on unsplash

Imperfect at best, the natural state of being human. Their egos make it increasingly difficult to see what makes them so great, why others fawn for them. They often seem the least capable of understanding human wants and needs, though they are the ones charged with owning it. There is nothing mysterious about them, other than their success.

This is corporate America. A ladder, something to ascend, so that you can get a bigger office, a better view, a faster, sportier car, more people to do things for you, to make the things you can’t make. How little you do for yourself, that is the measure of success.

These are the gate keepers, those souls we have inadvertently ascribed power by virtue of title, pocket book, or popularity. They decide which paths you can walk in life, which jobs you can take, which direction you should go, who they want you to be. They believe they are the wind, ice, fire, and water.

This is you — a cog in a Rube Goldberg machine of epic proportions. Another of the legions of the nameless, the faceless rabble. Wake up, go to work, repeat, repeat, repeat. Live your life by the snooze bar and slog through to retirement. Once you get there, go ahead and do those things you’ve always wanted to do but are now too old to enjoy. Living, after all, is a slow form of dying.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to be the person they want you to be. You needn’t live a conventional life.

This is life: a series of waves that come at you one after the other. You can stand on the shore and watch them roll in, or you can paddle out and go head first.

Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.

This is your opportunity. Yesterday’s are behind you, so don’t get caught looking back too long. Today, tomorrow — every day a chance to begin anew, to face the world with renewed determination and invent moment by moment, because you are one in a billion.

Keep looking up
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Those are long odds, sure, but you are the underdog, and we all know what that means. You are not to be discounted.

It’s a miracle that any one of us is here, on this planet, in this solar system, circling this hot, yellow sun. Let’s not take this chance for granted, because it won’t be this way for long It’s different now, and it may be the only one you get. Who the hell knows, really? You might come back as a cockroach, so make this one count. Beat the odds and pay out the big bucks.

And the world needs you now more than ever. It needs people to rise from the rank and file of their pedestrian being and live the unique lives they’re blessed with, to share the treasures buried inside of them, to shrug off the gatekeepers. Now more than ever, rise up and own the moment.

This, this life, this time we have on this little blue ball is precious and limited. Don’t squander it as a pawn in someone’s perverted game of chess.

This is your life. You own it. It’s as big or as small as you make it.