It’s going to be amazing. I’ll wear a sleek trendy suit, enter a beautiful metropolitan skyscraper, scurry about late for an important meeting, and glisten with ambition. My life will be big, my self-importance even bigger. I’ll be relevant, envied, and most important…happy. No wait, that might not be exactly who I want to be. Maybe I’ll wear ripped jeans, sit with my computer all day in a trendy coffee shop, and create a dark, interesting, and brilliant new novel. People will find me mysterious, painfully creative, and ahead of my time. Which one should I be? The images are exciting…intoxicating…addictive...
The power of an image is palpable. It infringes upon our minds and becomes the picture we long for, an image of a life that looks exhilarating. An idea fed by cultural messages about what kind of job, home, or relationship is valuable and glamorous. The problem is that this image is a snapshot. It’s stagnant. It’s one-dimensional. It's based solely on a superficial picture of what looks appealing from the outside. And often, it doesn’t honor the truth of who we really are. Behind the image is the reality of what we really long for: a meaningful life. A day filled with the joy of feeling connected, passionate…happy. The image is notoriously powerful at distracting us from this quest. The sparkle of the image gives us a dream of something meaningful, but often is met with a reality of emptiness.
Our real lives are not made up of an image. Our real lives are made up of a string of moments. When your feet hit the floor in the morning and you begin your day you are living real, live moments. The glamorous image that we so often chase or dream of is like an Instagram snapshot. The image isn’t the reality of what the we experience from day to day. The snapshot we envision of a life as a successful metropolitan gal or as a creative, brilliant writer is no different than that Instagram moment.
Behind the picture, the metropolitan gal and brilliant writer are simply moving through their day filled with moment-to-moment tasks, decisions, interactions and relationships. Their lives are not an image. Their lives are filled with moments that may or may not bring meaning to their life. Fulfillment can’t be found in an image; it exists only in the moments you experience yourself. If you chase an image that is filled with moments that don’t honor what’s real for you, you are left daydreaming about the next shiny image your mind conjures up.
Most of us quickly adapt to the newness of any given circumstance. Faster than you may expect, you become adjusted to the new, trendy suit and sophisticated desk that fills your elaborate office space overlooking the city. And once the shine wears off, you are left with the real moments that fill your day. The suit doesn’t feel special for long.
The desk isn’t impressive after a few weeks. The path to building a meaningful life is in discovering what moments feel fulfilling and exciting for you, and being led by those moments. What daily tasks make you feel like you are at your best? What are you doing when you feel connected, invigorated and purposeful? How do you know? You have to pay attention.
I believe if you are willing to honor what you find, and begin to fill your day with the reality of the moments that invigorate you, rather than an image, your life becomes a string of joyful, fulfilling, meaningful moments. Without even realizing it, you'll begin to build a life that honors who you really are, and this life is far bigger then the image that distracted you. Don’t be fooled by the sparkle and shine…the image isn’t real. Be bold enough to be led by the joy of your moments.