The Everyday Treadmill of Life and the Purpose of Living

“To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde.

The gilded promises of life are our incentives to embark on the everyday treadmill. Oscar Wilde’s wise words emphases the fact that without these gilded promises, we as humans would merely just exist. To truly live, we must have a goal or dream to strive towards. Each individual is responsible for deciding their purpose, the meaning of their everyday life. We must find the strength within us all to keep moving towards the promises that we make to ourselves and staying on that path every day.

What does it mean to live? The literal meaning of the verb ‘to live’ is to remain alive. The need for shelter, water, food, the need to breathe, just to remain alive until the next day. From a young age, gilded promises are introduced into our life. In order for us to universally accept that, to acquire what is socially deemed to be ‘successful’, we must trudge through a tiresome and tedious routine. We go to school every day, to go to college with the hopes of obtaining an enviable job, to make money to one day retire, to then look back on our youths and regret all the time we wasted searching aimlessly for that false sense of achievement. We as humans are slaves to this false idea of happiness’ which we work tirelessly to achieve. Here is where I find the tension between the gilded promises of life and the everyday treadmill.

Despite this, there is a much more purposeful way of living. To truly have a satisfied existence, you must first realise that happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. The mistake we often make, is that we are so fixated on being anxious or fearful of our futures, or mulling over the struggles and negativity of the past, that we fail to remember to live in the present moment. We become victims of time, and the true beauty of life can slip by us, unnoticed. Here we see the tension between the gilded promises of life and the everyday treadmill. If instead of striving to achieve happiness in the future, and alternatively begin to focus on living in the present moment, you will lead a life where the everyday treadmill will begin to become less monotonous and you will begin to see beauty in life in the simplest forms.

Genuine happiness can be as simple as sipping a warm, rich, frothy coffee whilst tucked in bed on a cool winters morning. Or as curling up on the sofa with your family watching Christmas movies, as the stove fire flickers in the corner of the room-sending heated air around the room and providing the room with a comforting orange light. Or as strolling through a forest, inhaling the crisp, aroma filled air… rich with the scent of pine trees and the earth beneath you. The everyday treadmill of life does not have to be a struggle, it’s up to you how you perceive the small things in life.

On the contrary, in order to achieve the greatness that we strive for, we must have boundaries and gilded promises to ourselves set in place. This end goal allows for the agony and distress of the everyday treadmill to be tolerated. Without the promise of eventually reaching the summit of greatness, the endless everyday treadmill would be insufferable. The two have a symbiotic relationship. For either to survive, they both must be present. Society’s progression depends on the people’s attitudes between the drudgery of the present day and the promise of the future. To chase our gilded promise for greatness, we must find the faith to carry us through the everyday treadmill. Although many seek this faith in religion, it does not have to be so. By taking in the simple and precious parts of our everyday lives, the happiness we achieve from doing this will bring us the faith to carry out what it is we desire to attain.

How many people have disillusioned themselves, only planning for a future that they never got to live? Many people find themselves stuck on an endless treadmill, running blindly towards something so far in the future and straight past everything that is currently happening in life right now. The key to life is to aim for greatness, but not to get lost along the way… because the future is not promised to anyone. Our lifetimes are merely a pixel of a much larger picture. Life is precious and golden; every minute of every day should be treated with reflection and gratitude that we are alive to witness the grace and wonder as life around us unfolds.

Even if we have great faith set out to achieve our gilded promises, it is almost impossible not to get distracted by the struggles and strife’s life throws at us. It is simply human nature for our future plans to become derailed by the challenges life delivers us. We, as a species, seem to have an inherent need to be challenged. We believe that nothing worth having will ever come easily to us. This instinct to work towards something greater than what we currently hold is what makes us as humans achieve brilliant and amazing things. Our discoveries and accomplishments not only make steps in progressing society, but they allow us to grow as individual people.

It is up to us to choose our own fate. We are the creators of our dreams and we are the only ones who can make these fantasies into our reality. The power lies within our own hands. Tension between our gilded promises and the treadmill of everyday life is a natural part of living; you cannot get one without the other. The key is finding a place of harmony and peace between both. Yes, life can sometimes be laborious and burdensome, but once you open your eyes and finally see the ray of sunshine, of hope, of motivation… well isn’t that a gilded success all on its own.

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