Many of us spend a decent amount of time in our lives focused on figuring out what we are purposed to do. For a large majority of us, it takes a lot of life experience to be able to make these determinations. Some never reach their pinnacle understanding of who they are, instead choosing to be content with those “certain” things in life – taxes and death.
If we choose to enjoy at least the basic things in life, and focus in on those, then we will undoubtedly stumble upon passion. Part of the issue that we experience is the lack of control.
Each of us is born into some prescribed narrative for our lives. While our parents may give us some level of free reign, there is at least a standard to live within, which can, at times, be more defining than guiding. While these guiding tools are certainly necessary, if we are content with others’ decisions for our lives once we have the fortitude to make our own decisions, we will most certainly miss the mark. Needless to say, while I can respect others’ cultures and traditions, it goes against the essence of me to rely too heavily on status quo to determine the trajectory of my life. Guiding principles are sufficient.
Some people express their dissatisfaction with life through suicidal ideations, homicidal actions and homicidal-like actions. Over the last year or more, we have seen more reports of suicide and shootings on college campuses. Even at the high school level, a recent fight and stabbing occurred at the newly renovated Northern High School in Durham that was followed by a school lockdown. This is clearly something worth exploring more in depth, and the concern is evidenced by the presence of counselors on campus following a strain of fights in the first days of the 2023-2024 school year1.
Population has grown significantly in the last several years in the Triangle area. The newly renovated Northern High School holds more students, and likely plays a role in the students’ adjustments and interactions, which manifested in physical altercations2. Additional counseling may need to be a preventative measure norm when these types of changes occur, if not already.
The bottom line is that people are unhappy. If this were not true, we would not see these types of incidents.
Of course, there are several factors. My focus is on one.
When we spend cycles of our lives going through the motions, and ebbing and flowing with whatever life presents us with, we have a lost sense of control. Instilling at early ages the inability to determine one’s own direction chips away at the desire to pursue more. What’s the point when there is a pre-determined ceiling and a certain end? This does not apply to everyone, but the premise of this notion is – we exist; we don’t live. After awhile, after getting to the point of “what’s the point”? there is nothing to lose. The worst type of person to mess with is someone who doesn’t have anything to lose.
Absent some mental health concern, external circumstances play a large role in happy living and the choices people do or don’t make. We could all use more money, right? Economic disadvantages contribute to these types of mentalities. At present, a great amount of North Carolina’s work force is not paid a livable wage. I’ve made this argument in the past, and stand by it (not to mention, there is much data to support this contention) – economic stress burdens entire communities beyond the household. But it’s not just economic disadvantages. You can have sufficient income to support your lifestyle and be unhappy. In those instances, what is the problem? You may lack time. You possibly lack a circle. There are countless things that can cause the distress that we are seeing within our society. At present, we are constantly reminded of some impending recession. Acting according to scarcity and lack show up in a variety of ways. The problems and attitudes about money trickle down to our kids. Whether or not they are acutely in tune with our perceptions does not much matter. Our attitudes and actions are without question different when we are not operating out of fear or lack.
If my general attitude is to hold onto what I have, that attitude will manifest in other areas of my life. My mindset will drive my ability or lack thereof to share information, to share space, to empathize or sympathize (you’d likely have to be reminded)…point being – a general mindset drives specific actions. When one takes specific actions and compound them, examples are set for those who look to us for guidance, whether we play a guiding role intentionally or not. Once we have set the example for those impressionable individuals, we have taught them how to act (please bear in mind that there are always outliers).
So, why not shift our focus to edifying ourselves? A lot of us (adults) already do this. The point here is that if we are to expect our kids to not have suicidal ideations, homicidal actions and homicidal-like actions, we have to be the change we want to see.
Different approaches have different impacts. What approach works for your circle? Overall, if we are highly focused on edifying ourselves and those who we guide, this lends itself to happier and more purposeful lifestyles and living, and does not leave much space for dissatisfaction as adults, living with only the certainties of taxes and death.
- Bokun, Ben. “‘Kind of Getting Tired of It’: New Northern High School Starts Year with Several Violent Incidents, Including Stabbing.” Com, 12 Sept. 2023, cbs17.com/news/local-news/durham-county-news/kind-of-getting-tired-of-it-new-northern-high-school-starts-year-with-several-violent-incidents-including-stabbing/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2023.
- “New Edition of Northern High in Durham Features State-of-the-art Sports, Arts Facilities.” Com, 2 Aug. 2023, www.wral.com/story/new-edition-of-northern-high-in-durham-features-state-of-the-art-sports-arts-facilities/20982997/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2023.