I have always wanted to be a pioneer. I fantasize about living in Little House on the Prairie and riding my horse to work. Yet I am fully aware that it was backbreaking hard work and in those times a bad cold or childbirth, was a life-threatening experience. Why would I yearn for that?
Can you imagine getting in a cramped boat in England headed for some unknown land, trekking through forests and mountains with all that you own in a pack? You persevere and go further west. You raise a family in a caravan or on a raft. Why would you do this?
I kind of had an epiphany the other day. The answer is simple – to have a better life. They believed with all their heart that their choices would lead to a better life for themselves and their families. Sometimes there was no turning back when it didn’t turn out as planned, but they made tough choices because they knew that things couldn’t be worse than their current conditions.
They had adventures, changed the world, fell in love and died knowing they had given it all in search of the best life possible.
In my current life, I don’t always feel that way. I don’t know if the choices I am making are making a better life for me or my family?
Will getting a promotion and getting more money improve our lives? Will devoting a life to charity make my family better off? Will staying home to take care of the kids make us all happier? Really – I don’t know….. I don’t need to worry about food on the table, great friends, decent health, an awesome house. So how do I turn around and say with 100% conviction “This choice will improve our lives!”.
This is what I think I covet – this feeling of certainty, and then the adventures and feelings of accomplishment that follow. And I would love to ride my horse everywhere – but that doesn’t capture it all.
And you know what, when you are younger you get some of that feeling. First, I am going to university – that will improve my life, so off I go on a great adventure. As a single new graduate traipsing around the continent looking for those early jobs, I was full of purpose and had great experiences. Maybe this feeling of uncertainty is the curse of middle class success.
Regardless, I am truly grateful for what I do have. So I will continue to fantasize about riding my horse to work as a pioneer, but I will be grateful that I didn’t die giving birth to my first daughter and I have a great family instead. I will try to find those ‘right’ choices that I think will make our lives better, or at maybe everyone’s lives better.