A friend of mine had sent me a motivational short video on YouTube. It was full of statements like, “You’ve got to work hard for what you want, no matter how hard it gets, you push through.” My husband and I have had discussions about many of the good intentions behind these social media posts; but we feel there’s also a negative extreme that can be taken from them too.
One example he shared with me was from the book, “Way of the Superior Man.” He recalled that it offers a lot of insight but that it’s written to be vague enough to speak to a wide audience for men to “Find His Purpose.” He also shared with me an interesting video about why we will never see Batman doing his own laundry. In the video, one of the profound takeaways for me was that Batman is so fixed on his mission, that he neglects relationships – he’s actually kind of selfish. The typical day-to-day things the average person experiences are not part of the hero’s journey because he’s too busy saving people. Interestingly, this feels identical to most of the super hero stories.
If I translate that logic into today’s culture, I can see why so many people (especially young people) feel lonely and inadequate. How are people supposed to measure up to these idols / heroes? On one hand, I agree that we must work hard and be accountable for the things we want. But I would also like to encourage people to not be so hyper focused on trying to slay dragons because there are no dragons to slay except the ones we conjure up in our minds.
The concept of good guy versus bad guy in film is a use of extreme story-telling. In real life, nobody has a sworn enemy – but there are people that think and live differently than us. For some, that is by choice and in other cases, a situation of circumstance. And even then, we are all still growing. In either case, we work through our differences and try to live peacefully.
We all go through phases and, hopefully, get better at this thing called life as we grow older through experience. When young, we want to play and buy things with our parents’ money. When we’re teenagers, we want independence and might look for a job to buy a car while making some dumb decisions. When we’re twenty-something, we’re looking for a career and probably a spouse to potentially start a family; this is about the time we start to make other decisions with long-term consequences, good or bad. In our 30’s, if fortunate to have started a family, we’re working on a career path while providing for a family of our own. For nearly two decades (and for some a little longer), a healthy individual goes from being a dependent to a provider.
I admire the hustlers in today’s culture. I personally look forward to buying more products that are made here in America. There’s a lot of hard work that is not talked about with regard to the American Dream and what it takes to be successful in those endeavors. Becoming your own boss is glorified all over LinkedIn and while it has its merit, I think it’s starting to turn toxic. The high school graduate complains that they don’t have enough and wants to be a CEO; meanwhile, the CEO’s today have so much responsibility on their shoulders that they never see their own kids and question if the income is really worth all of that hard work.
Life is hard. Marriage is work. Maintaining a family and a career is really hard work. That’s why I’m happy with being average. I’m happy with my eight hour work days. I’m happy with my townhome in the city. I’m happy with my child going to public school and utilizing the library. I’m happy that we have one car and that my work schedule coordinates well with my husband’s schedule so that we can tag team drop off and pick up time with our son from school. I’m happy that we live in a city where there is a lot to offer. We live a simple and content life.
My husband and I work eight hour days, Monday through Friday, and then we spend time with our son as best as we can. We also go to church as a family. On occasion, we schedule a date night. Sometimes, my husband has a guys night with his guy friends or I visit with girlfriends. If one of us is under the weather, the other taps in to help out around the house and with childcare. There’s a lot of room for flexibility in our home.
I enjoy kissing Cameron after he’s served me my morning cup of coffee, rubbing David’s back when it’s time to wake up in the morning, cooking for my family, catching up with David at the dinner table about how his school day went, guiding David through his homework and sitting at the foot of David’s bed while Cameron reads a bedtime story. I love the simplicity of our family. It is in serving them and meeting their needs by being physically and emotionally available to them that I feel valued. My husband and I are not superheroes. We are average people hoping to spread love where we can.
My hope is that others can see the value in knowing that what they have and can do is enough. Material possessions and titles do not make a person more valuable than another. You don’t have to sacrifice everything to be useful or valuable. It’s also good to rest every now and again. God made each of us uniquely and loves you very much. Who you are is enough. You can and should strive to be and do better if that is a goal you have for yourself; but know that you are also amazing and are loved just the way you are.