It was a lazy Sunday and my friends and I were out having drinks at our favourite lesbian spot on Church St. The sun was shining, there was a fantastic band playing in the background and the conversation was flowing. There couldn’t have been a better set up for the perfect afternoon.
But in the midst of this blissful interlude the conversation turned to a lingering sense of dissatisfaction, the feeling that we all wanted something more out of our lives. It seems that no matter how great things are they’re never quite good enough, that we all have a never-ending list in our heads of all the things we don’t have, all the things we haven’t yet achieved, that stops us from enjoying the moment.
It wasn’t the only time I’ve had that conversation recently and I’m sure my friends and I aren’t the only ones having it. After all when we’re asked how we’re doing how many of us say, “I’ve got no complaints” and really mean it?
But, if you’re anything like me, you’ve actually got a lot going in your favour. You have your health, a home, amazing friends and parents who manage to both love and drive you crazy. You’ve got at a least a hundred friends on Facebook, a job you don’t mind going to every day and plans for the weekend. It sounds good on paper but despite the seemingly pretty picture you still feel like there’s a crucial piece missing, something that stops you from being truly happy.
I want to be a successful artist (I swear it’s not an oxymoron). I want to be able to afford my life and for my parents to stop finding potential boyfriends for me. But most of all I want what so many of my friends have found — I want an amazing girlfriend, someone that I can share everything with. I know it’s been a reoccurring theme for me but I really didn’t anticipate true love being such a needle in a complicated haystack.
It seems that missing piece is usually something everybody has except for you. It might be that “perfect” relationship, the dream job or a few missing zeros on your paycheque. More money, more time, more love or less weight, less worries, less drama.
And what happens if, miracles of miracles, we do get exactly what we’ve been longing for? Are we satisfied? Or do we just start hankering after something new?
Not that the drive to have something more for ourselves is necessarily a bad thing. A healthy dose of annoying self-inflicted pressure can be a blessing in disguise if it keeps us evolving as individuals, if it keeps us working toward our dreams. If we didn’t have that we’d be content to settle for mediocrity and mediocrity is such a depressing thought. It means a complete lack of ambition to keep growing mentally, spiritually, emotionally. It means giving up on ourselves and our potential.
I know it’s a little motivational speaker of me (I admit that I have been watching a lot of Oprah lately) but when it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose but that if you’re in the bloody game. Who wants to spend their whole lives on the bench?
Some of the greatest human achievements came out of the refusal to settle. Without that drive, the desire for something more, would humans have ever landed on the moon? Would we have discovered all the technologies that we take for granted today?
Within our own queer history there have been tremendous leaps made in a matter of decades — gays now have the right to marry. We can walk down the street holding hands with a sense of pride. We can adopt and create our own versions of family. If our queer forebearers hadn’t refused to settle for a world where they were criminalized and discriminated against we wouldn’t be enjoying any of it. They refused to settle, and nor should we.
But what I’m seeing around me, this gnawing dissatisfaction, seems to be something different. It’s like we’re letting our missing pieces become the focal point for our future happiness. It’s gone too far.
Wanting more doesn’t have to mean not being happy with what we’ve got, where we are and what we’ve done. The fact is that it is possible that right now, at this moment in your life, you are good enough, your life is good enough. If we keep focusing on what we’re missing and all we’re doing is missing out on the moments that count.
What I have right now is wonderful and I am grateful. Life is a step-by-step journey with occasional leaps of faith thrown in for good measure. I’m going to trust that I am learning and growing as I go along because that’s really all any of us can hope for or ask of ourselves.