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Woman climbing

Extremeties

“Don’t forget what I told you.”

“Big house, fancy car?”

“BIG HOUSE, FANCY CAR!”

The grin on Randall’s face and the excitement in his voice, as he pronounces each word making sure they carry the weight he intends, brings a smile to Deja’s face. 

Goodbyes can be sad or happy; this one, in the 17th episode of the second season of This is Us, is both.

This shared secret between Randall and Deja was birthed from a previous conversation. The idea is on the ultimate dream that Randall had growing up, the thing he worked towards. He uses it as an encouragement to this child who has lived through so much. 

A big house and a fancy car are something Deja would need to think about, work towards. At this moment, however, she has more on her plate. Her mother has just come from prison, and this is one of the many foster homes she has had to live in and leave. 

The dream Randall tells her about is meant to act as a guide for where she wants to go later in life, when these things that matter now, won’t matter anymore. 

This dream is something many people hold dear. He articulates the desires of most of the population, which is seen as the ultimate indicator of success in a materialistic world. 

Every day, you wake up ready to go to a job, one you either like and enjoy or not, to ensure you get to this future place where you have a big house and a fancy car. This dream becomes the foundational point of all the promise your future holds for “making it” in the world. You will go where you need to go; you will do everything you need to ensure that it is reality. 

You focus and push yourself, adhering to every concept of discipline you come across. 

The problem is that this level of focus, this linear vision, and approach can seep into every aspect of life. It influences decisions, actions, and perceptions. Every one thing births the next, and eventually, your life is in perfect harmony as you work to achieve the dream, be more successful, more respected, more accomplished, and whatever else you work towards.

Life becomes black and white; you are either doing the right thing to achieve your dreams or the wrong one that might derail your progress. Every meal is scrutinized under diet culture. Every indulgence is first perceived as a potential addiction. All goals are seen as obligations, and life becomes a cycle of trying to get yourself in check. 

This often births self-judgment, which essentially translates to self-sabotage. If you decide to start dieting and you go to the extreme, cutting everything said to be wrong, you do it all, then, one day, you have something out of that new structure you are trying to establish, and you are done. If you couldn’t hold off that on that piece of cake now, what makes you think you could live a lifetime of having to make that decision over and over again. Who wants to always wonder whether it’s the best time to have cake with pros and cons based on health? How sure are you that you have what it takes to make that decision as many times as needed to makes sure you achieve your health goal?

These questions often translate to resignation; trying becomes a hassle, one that doesn’t seem as worthy as it did when you started. 

Life isn’t linear, and that is often forgotten. Without this as part of your conscious awareness, every failure, change of plans, adjustments to the schedule, or unexpected disruption is a huge problem. 

As much as it’s easier to keep your head on the work and focus on what you want to achieve and where you want to go, life doesn’t stop; it doesn’t wait for you to get there. It happens, as you focus, as your nose is on the grind, you don’t see it, but it is happening. You might not see the singing birds and cloudy skies, but you will see the blossoming flowers every once in a while.

You’ll realize, in this beauty, that while everything seemed stagnant, nothing was. Stories have been written, songs have been sung, and lives have been changed. Like the blossoming flowers, everything watered and taken care of has grown. 

The question is, how much have you? Grown?

Have you allowed the linear vision of whatever is seen as a success in whatever area of life, keep you from life as it happens, from experiencing it, from revealing the beauty you have budded so long? 

 

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