I've been thinking a lot recently about life, about the way i look at my own life and about the way people in a more general way perceive their own achievements and limitations.
I've heard one particular phrase once too many times, and i see no reason to deny the fact that i've uttered it a couple of times; "Life is shit". It's a three word sentence that ever so succinctly sums up the frustration, anger and often sadness, I and other people feel about the life they live.
But i was thinking about this last night and i realised something, undoubtedly influenced by other peoples thoughts on the matter. Life is never shit. The circumstances you're faced with can be shit. The friends you have can be shit. So can your family. It can be utterly shit that your denied the romantic companion you so desire. So many factors and elements in your life can be shit, but life itself is never shit. Life in fact is the most incredible thing we possess. Surely if we measure all the good things that impact on our existence by whether they make our lives shit or not, surely that suggests that our lifes base value is pretty high, that life is a good thing until our choices and circumstance make it otherwise. This is something i'd agree with. I'm far from the most optimistic of people, as anyone who's met me would testify, but i believe in the basic sanctity and beauty of life.
While we're still alive we have a choice, we have a say and we have a determination to improve ourselves. I refuse to accept that everything is out of our hands. Undoubtedly some elements are, as in all walks and times of life, simply outside of our control. However this doesn't mean for a moment that we should sit back and accept what we face unquestioningly. We have a life and it is to a pretty large degree what we make of it.
I acknowledge that an appreciation of the wonder of my own life is not one of my strengths. Too often i focus on the negatives, too often i end up reading the worst possible interpretation into a scenario. However even the slightest bit of detached evaluation makes me realise that no matter how crap the current scenario facing me may be is, it doesn't mean that life in it's broadest sense if shit.
You see, i think that though many people manage to evaluate their own lives as separate from an individual circumstance, i am not alone in viewing a crap comparatively momentary issue as somehow representative of a greater concern in my life. Despite any advice or inference to the contrary, i struggle with the fact i'm single. I struggle not to draw conclusions beyond my own situation from the loneliness that that inspires.
In the end, for all my rambling, this blog post boils down to a fairly simple principle that i hope that anyone who reads this will understand. No matter how shit your life may seem at any one moment, no matter how much you wish you could change the circumstance you are faced with, no matter how insurmountable the obstacles in your way are, life itself is never shit. In fact life is the most incredible gift we have.
Now i'm a melodramatic and overly romantic chap so you may choose to ignore this post as simple hyperbole, and maybe there's an element of truth to that assessment, but it doesn't change the fact that i completely mean it and that regardless of any idealised stance on life, my claim that life is the most incredible gift holds true. There's so much crap that every human being has to face on a daily basis that could drag one down.
Maybe i'm just over sensitive but it seems to me that at some point in the not too long forgotten past it became uncool to care, to hope for more, to look at your life and want more from the future that faced you than may initially present itself.
So my basic, over arching point is this; No matter how much you may hate your life, no matter how desperately you might wish you could escape from the situation you are in, it's that particular situation that is shit, it's that day, week or month that is shit. Life is never shit, because from the most pessimistic outlook, the alternative is worse, and from a less negative view, life and the pursuit of a happier existence is actually the thing that makes our existence worthwhile. We have around 80 years to make our mark, and when you think of it that way surely it seems futile to limit yourself to a narrow and ultimately negative view of what our potential is.
I really hope that anyone who reads this knows me, because if they do then they'll understand that anything i write is as much advice to myself as anyone else, rather than a condescending critique on their attitudes. I never envisaged this blog to be a portal for projecting my views on other people, rather i'm simply trying to reflect my ever changing approach and values when it comes to life in the broadest sense.
Life is what we make of it, life is a relatively blank slate and life is a fragile sense of ideals and intentions which we have to protect against the inevitably degrading nature of existence.
Basically i hope that anyone who reads this will appreciate that no matter what their current outlook on life is, life is infinitely better to the alternative and so i pray (and i don't exactly make a habit of that) that they gain every possible benefit from that and experience every joy that our humble existence has to offer.
I'm an atheist (bordering on agnostic, i pretty much completely don't believe in god or any other higher spirit, however i refuse to believe that i have the degree of absolute wisdom required to rule out the afore mentioned higher spirit's existence.) This particular approach to the broader issues facing every human being have led to me taking a view which i would like to think is fairly pragmatic. I don't believe in a life after death but i do believe that our choices have an impact not just on our own lives. This means that i truly believe each and every person should do their best to ensure that, regardless of the religious outlook of the person looking in, you live what could be considered to be a virtuous life. I drink too much, i think too much, i in particular ways covet too much, yet i would like to think i have done a sufficient job of living a "good" life and i have come reasonably close to being a "good" person.
I put "good" in speech marks because i believe good is a highly subjective adjective and so I generally attempt to avoid it but in this case i find it kind of appropriate as it suits the very vague conditions i am considering in this particular post.
I could ramble on about the highly personal definitions of 'good' and 'bad' but this isn't the post and to be honest i'm not the writer to attempt to qualify those two concepts, even on a highly personal level. Instead i reckon i'll finish with one moderately simple sentence.
Life is not just good, but incredible, and it is each and every human being's responsibility to appreciate that fact.