A question often runs through one’s mind or is asked frequently or at least contemplated in solitude.
What drives our lives?
Is it a purpose? – too vague a canvas.
Is it a goal? – same as before, and also they keep changing.
And honestly, how many of us can say truthfully that we have a purpose or a goal. Most of us carry on our lives with more or less the following widely accepted needs/requirements/norms.
- Good education
- A decent job
- Reasonable income
- Property – normally home, car, few material possessions
- Good education for kids
- Regular and routine vacations
- Enough saved up to take care of retirement
All right, there are a crazy few who would have certain adventures thrown in, but that is an aberration than the norm.
Very little originality there, and no one is to blame, we follow what are considered norms and it is no surprise that the road we take is invariably identical to another that someone else would take.
If one were to travel, by road, from city A to city B, how many variations would be there? Not many, right. So, it is no surprise that if I were to start with what drives my life, or our lives, I may not have results that are too different.
After considerable thoughts, I arrive at my deduction that fear drives our lives.
Everything else is just a derivative.
If you start at the very beginning, one comes to the surprising realization, that there is very little that one chooses on his/her own, till it is almost, usually, late when what you choose is not a free choice but a choice from a limited, pre-defined, set of alternatives available in front of you, as a result of the road that you had already travelled, on which you did not exercise a choice in the first place. At this point the choice one makes does not alter the fundamentals, it slightly alters the course, if at all, by a fraction. The extent to which the course is altered is frequently too insignificant, the reason being that the choice to completely throw the course entirely different is not exercised due to fear.
If one leaves the gray period of early childhood where consciousness does not set in, one would reach a stage of school going pivotal point in life.
You can see, the course is already set.
Grow up, go to school!
Why a school, which school, why exams, what does one study – none of this is ever questioned.
Going to school is the start of life.
Can a child avoid formal education?
The question is rhetoric. The alternative does not exist.
Let me increase the stakes here to paint the harsh reality as I see it now, albeit late in my life as well.
Children(read you and me and everyone else) go to school, because the parents “fear” the alternative.
What would one do if a child does not go to school?
Do we have something to keep the child occupied?
For the 15 years which is otherwise taken care of by “education”.
We shudder at the prospect of vacations. What shall we do to keep the child occupied during the vacations?
Send them to practice sports – driving factor? – fear of “being less talented than other children’
Go on a fancy holiday – driving factor? – fear of being compared and be found less than X or Y.
Let’s get out of parent bashing mode.
Let’s get into self-assessment mode.
What do we do when school ends?
The dice is already loaded. Having started schooling, the logical extensions are college, more college, job, marriage, home, kids…the cycle starts to repeat before we realize that our cycle is still going on.
Fear of being branded a failure,
Fear of not living up to the expectations of our parents,
Fear of not coming first,
Fear of not landing that top league university,
Fear of not landing that cushy job,
Fear of not winning that competition,
Fear of taking the courage to live life differently,
Fear of avoiding a need of marriage,
Fear of needing to ensure that our children do well (in our viewpoint),
Fear of not having enough saved up,
Fear of being honest,
Fear to step out of comfort zone,
Every conscious decision one gets to make is based on a certain aspect or other of fear in one form or the other.
By the time you reach an age and clarity of vision to live your life on your own call, you realize it is already Hobson’s choice, you are entwined in so many commitments(all out of fear at one stage in your life) it just is not possible for you to go and take the plunge.
I will speak for myself. I have this clarity now. I know my life and the lives of my children were dictated by this fear factor. I can look back with absolute clarity and see at what point a decision could have been different or better.
Would I do any different, with all this amassed wisdom, mostly in hindsight, with the children of my children?
Or encourage my children to do things differently with their children?
And if you pay a little attention here, I have already made the first cardinal sin.
I created a family for my children as if that is a given.
Even in my imagination, I am unable to think up a different life for my children.
I would love to, but I probably can’t, because I am afraid!