Less than six months ago my life did not consist of much outside my obligatory duties as a father, husband, and person in the workforce. I had fully integrated myself into, what I like to call, the settled majority. The settled majority is a large group of people who at some point in our lives decided we could not do more than what we were doing and subsequently settled into the routine of our lives, at the time, and quit looking for more. Unfortunately, this is more common than we would like to think, especially considering the freedom of the country we live in and how we have access and the ability to pretty much do anything we set our minds too. Somewhere along the way, though, we lose sight of our dreams. Life gets in the way, we make a poor decision (or many), we take a wrong path, or we just get tired of the rejections and perceived failures. Settling is the first step onto the path of a stagnant life.
Dynamic vs. Stagnant Living
If you have not picked up on it yet, I really like to look at the meaning of words and try to understand how they fit into the ways in which I view the world. The definition of dynamic, when combined with the word living, is a perfect example of why I love words. The definition of dynamic: (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. Now, let's look at the word stagnant: Showing no activity; slow and sluggish. Obviously, after looking at the meaning of the two words, nobody would choose to live a life of slow and sluggish non-activity. So, why do so many of us, so often fall into that category? I can think of a lot of reasons why I allowed myself to join the stagnant population, but there is certainly a specific one that fits into the purposes of this blog. Alcohol.
I will start by saying I do not view myself as a victim when I say alcohol is one of the biggest culprits that landed me in a stagnant pool of non-productivity. I consciously chose alcohol over dynamic living time and time again, so I am not blaming anyone or anything but myself. What I will say is this; my conscious choice of alcohol over living was the biggest waste of time and life I have ever made. Interestingly, not everybody is the same in this regard. L drank as much as I did but she still managed to be a very productive member of society. She set and completed goals, chased after her dreams, and lived an active and progressive life. Even so, she even states the difference in the way she approaches all those things is dramatically different now that she has removed alcohol from her life. While the level of stagnation may differ from person to person while using alcohol, the truth does not; we eventually settle into the comfort of a slow and sluggish existence. That's what I did, and I had no idea it was happening until it wasn't anymore. Then the difference was staggering.
The day I quit drinking I began to see the difference in the way I was approaching my life and the world. As we all know, alcohol is a depressant, it brings our energy and motivation down and keeps us from wanting to be productive. Once I removed that depressant from my life, I began to feel invigorated about living. I wanted to do things I had stopped wanting to do long ago. Simple things like taking care of our house, completing unfinished projects, setting goals, making plans, and generally caring about my and my family's future. I think the concept of the future may be the biggest change for me once I became sober. It mattered to me again, which in turn, changed the way I viewed my world. I no longer felt content to continue living the life I was living because I remembered that I have more to offer the world. I remembered that I have more I want to do and see in the world. I remembered that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I remembered that life is meant to be lived dynamically and full of growth, learning, change, and positive progress.
Without alcohol, I remembered to live
I hope this does not come across as judgmental to anyone who may still feel stagnant or settled in a life they may not have foreseen growing up. That is certainly not my intention. My intention is simply to suggest that just because we fell into a comfortable existence, we do not have to stay there. My intention is to suggest that one of the main reasons we end up settling is because the depressant we shove into our bodies every day does not want us to see life beyond our inebriated senses. Its purpose is to keep us down and our goals out of reach. Its purpose is to coerce us into maintaining a stagnant existence. Its purpose is to keep us from living.
I remember people saying things like, "there isn't enough time in the day," and I always thought to myself, well then you are obviously doing something wrong. As it turns out, I have been the one doing something wrong, until now. Since becoming sober, I have begun to live a dynamic life full of constant change, activity, and progress. I receive an enormous amount of joy and fulfillment in taking on new tasks, setting and completing goals, and finding what it is I want my world to look like today and in the future. It is the most exciting existence I have ever lived.
I look forward to getting out of bed every morning, where I thank the universe for the abundance of my life, and then I take on the day that just doesn't seem to be long enough.