On Tuesday, I wrote about my favorite black and white movie called "It's a Wonderful Life" along with a brief tidbit on why I like it. It's not unusual to hear people talk about life in a way that makes it seem like a great experience that is such a gift. Life is wonderful.....or, is it really?
Often times, the reality of life and all that comes with it does not seem so wonderful in my opinion. A few years ago, I said "life sucks" to one friend and then she responded to me with "life is what you make it." After spending some time thinking about this statement and philosophy, I've come to believe that while this may have some truth to it in theory, it is not the case in practice. Life, especially in our western society and many other developed nations, can be controlled by the living but only to a certain extent. Many aspects of life are out of the control of living human beings.
All recessions and messed up economies aside, work is easy to come by. We can get a job, start a business, offer a service or product of some kind in exchange for money or goods (yes, goods...I learned that some communities still use the barter system, so depending on where you live, it appears that you can get your hair done and pay for it with a carton of eggs). So, obtaining work is not all that hard and many aspects of the work force are controlled by us because we decide whether or not we work, where we work and who we work for.
Business owners have an advantage since they can control their own fate, professionally speaking. Wage workers and other employees (on commission, etc.) are probably the least likely to have a life that is what they make it since employees are at the mercy of the companies or people that they work for. Take what is happening at Borders bookstores for example. The company filed for bankruptcy, so now there are probably thousands of employees who are looking for new jobs since many Borders locations have closed or are in the process of closing.
Let's say someone is working as a personal assistant for an interior designer and all of a sudden, the interior designer relocates, goes to jail or dies. Now, the assistant is out of a job. This is not a reflection of "life is what you make it," it to me.
Since money is replaceable, finances are right in line with the concept of life being what you make it. We can lose money, save money, earn money, receive money, spend money and do it all over again so this is an area where the ability to control ones life is pretty simple.
Making friends starts as early as kindergarten for many people and there also lies that group of friendships that are made with neighbors or kids participating in extra curricular activities within communities. What I learned growing older into adulthood however, is that developing friendships are relatively easy......maintaining these friendships is hard. I guess it all depends on the friend, so this is a tricky area where life can be what we make it or it may be out of our control.
Finding a romantic partner is similar to having friendships since romantic relationships have to develop over time and also be maintained. However, you can't make someone love you or want to be in a relationship with you. This right here can be a huge a problem, especially for those who want to have children or get married or have a companion or a significant other whom they can trust and share their life with. I can imagine someone reading this post and thinking "Yeah right, I CAN make someone love me" or "I CAN make someone be with me"....but that is not romance or love or whatever you call it. That is manipulation.
It appears that the more personal aspects of life are the difficult areas in which life is not what we make it. I wonder how many men and women can relate to this, how many agree and how many disagree.
Some of you may be reading this and wondering what in the world does this post have to do with movies. Well, I never watched "It's a Wonderful Life" until after having a conversation with someone a few years ago who recommended that I watch this movie and I'm glad I did because it is a good film. Still, the next time that someone tells me that everyday that one wakes up is a good day, I'm going to scream....because life is not some sappy Christmas movie. It's not wonderful! If it were, it would be like that all of the time. Life is full of wonderful moments but life in itself is hard.
A wonderful life (in my opinion) is one where you can't wait to get up the next day and you excitedly welcome every new day as it comes. It is great that many men and women may have this experience but the truth is everyone has not gotten that far, so it's not yet wonderful until that happens.