There’s something you learn by reaching the end of yourself and standing face-to-face with your shadow. Nothing in this world will ever satisfy us and I mean nothing. 

As the author of Ecclesiastes states, it’s the “vanity of vanities.” Even if we had it all, the house, the marriage, the kids or the stuff, would it ever be enough? And if so, we’ve then become dependent on image, status, and possessions. 

To some extent, it is all an illusion, a construction and part of a fantasy world. When we face any type of suffering or darkness, this glamor fades away. We are left with ourselves and the search for something more continues. 

We are taught to put our validation, worth and degree of success in the hands of society. But what if we don’t want the life society sells us? What if we want something more meaningful or different?

We can create our own paths and meanings.

Even before the truth hit, I never bought much into the white-picket fence, house, marriage and 2.5 kids. Because there is something I always knew: the future is never guaranteed. It is something you can imagine, yet it will be different from dreams.

This is the reality of millennials, Gen-Z, and Gen-Alpha as well. In school, we were taught everything would be okay as long as we went to college and got a job. Yet, there are many factors pushing against this.

The current state of the housing market suggests we might never own a home. Inflation brings in other concerns about having enough to just survive. If we can barely feed ourselves, why would we have kids? 

Most people work 40 hours a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thus, after work, many people would rather stay home, not having the energy to do much else.

When you remove the rose-colored glasses, life’s not so pretty. The “American Dream” seems like a joke.

Now what? Everyday life seems less than ideal with not even a promise of financial safety. Yet in this darkness, there is hope. 

You get to decide what you will do with it. What will you do with your current life? 

What goodness will you find? This does not negate emotions or hardships, but there are still actions to be taken and new mindsets to be gained.

I know some people would like to say it’s for God’s glory, but I don’t know about that. I believe the Divine puts this into our own hands, along with the search for whatever we mean by “whole” or “peace.”

We must learn that no one is coming to save us. We must be the ones to act. 

So what do you want to do? Will you follow the traditional path or make your own?

Do you live for life off the clock? Do you put family first? Do you cherish the little things?

I can’t give you answers, but I can tell you to find your own.

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