Each era has its own blessings and struggles. Although our fathers and those before them did not benefit from the spectacular technological miracles, they were lucky on so many points and one of them worth highlighting is that they had a physically active life.
They had to work in their fields or walk long distances to hunt or look after their livestock. And it would be unfair to ignore that numerous types of infectious diseases that stole infantile and juvenile lives of the time.
However, their TV and burger-free lifestyle allowed their generation to live longer.
Now things have changed; for us in the 21st century, it sounds almost heroic for one to walk from one corner of the city to another. Whoever does so expects to be praised for their courage or they are considered too poor to afford any form of modern transport.
What used to be a normal way of life has become either a chore or an act of bravery. Our generation faces a different issue. We do have very intellectually stimulating lives and that has led us to have a high number of people who live a physically passive life.
I am sure my great-grandfather would be amazed that one can make a living by just seating behind a bright rectangular screen and earn enough money to build a house or buy a car. Although today might be the best time to be alive in human history, this blessing does not come without consequences.
We are a busy generation. Our work styles which do not necessarily produce the same visible results as our ancestors’ might have offered at the same time an excuse to hide.
Since I can tell everyone that I am busy because they will see me seated in front of my computer, they will have no other choice than believing me. But what really keeps us awake at night? Are we busy producing the highest performance we can ever reach with our given potential? Or are busy leading passive lives?
When you look closely at what keeps us busy and our productivity rates, there is a considerable mismatch. Our socially accepted busyness sometimes serves an excuse to look away from things that truly matter in our lives.
Busyness has taken away the accountability we have, not only towards others but also towards ourselves. My fear is that we have found the right formula to exclude others to keep us accountable since we are in the ‘We mind our businesses’ society. The danger to that is that we can easily hide and live average passive lives.
Lives where an 8AM-5PM single income job is a norm, where we are failing ourselves to test the extent of our limits. By living a passive life, I mean an existence where we usually do what is externally acceptable to fit in society and not unavoidably maximizing the potential the Creator of Universe has put in us, each one of us. Please do not get me wrong, the issue is not just having one job, because that could be enough. The challenge is the mindset that drives us to tolerate what is average versus what could be excellent.
And chasing excellence isn’t that boring. It is an adventure and an invitation to discover how great you could be. It can be starting a side hustle, developing talent and always learning from the best. Being great can also be going back to school and upgrade the skills that will serve you or it can be recognizing that you are already doing enough and need to relax more. It truly depends on one’s felt able to create wonders.
For some, these are the most productive years of life that will never be gained back and that’s where the lie lies. We believe that we still have time. Time to dream, to achieve, to eat healthy, to work out, to design and finally achieve meaningful lives.
We do not feel the urgency of starting now because we believe that tomorrow belongs to us. What I realized is that by trying to improve one side of life be it work, income, health, spirituality, or relationships, we end up discovering that it is all inter-connected and an active life nurtures a desire to longevity. Because when we start testing the very good side of life, we want it to last forever.
If our grandfathers’ generation was blessed with a healthy lifestyle, we are now observing an increased number in our parents’ age group who are suffering from non-communicate diseases especially high blood pressure and diabetes.
It’s a situation I personally perceive as an alert, a calling to us to study the trends between our three generations so we can smarty plan to live active lives again. I do believe that a small goal such as starting your day with a30-minutes jogging could not only improve your health but if tied to a purpose, one single step at a time could also lead one to a fulfilled and active life.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.