This is an observation I keep noting and I’m going to briefly describe it here.
I’ve always believed that for the majority of the Western world, the two most life-defining events for anyone, excluding birth are;
- Getting married,
- Securing a mortgage.
This is because of how consequential both of these are. Marriage typically brings with it a host of new fundamental new responsibilities that emerge when a couple begin raising a family. A mortgage forcibly changes what most people will spend most of their waking lives doing — working.
What’s strange about this, is that so much of this traditional way of living began taking shape well before any of these events started. For instance, to pursue these events, we have to be orientated towards them, to orientate ourselves, we must know of their existence to begin with.
What seems to happen to most people, is they follow the same beliefs over time but the circumstances change. That is to say, that at any given time, people will seek to align their immediate experience with what they understand. It’s this idea of underlying conformity that denotes what it means to be normal. And so, immediate experiences are simply immediate course-corrections.
How this all plays out is well-known: finish high school, attain a degree, attain an internship, begin full-time work, progress through a hierarchy of responsibility until retirement. If each stage of this process is a fulfilment of the last established ‘goal’, then at what point has anyone ever left this type of thinking in their lives?
It would seem to me, that for so many, since as long as they can remember, they’ve just been running in circles, winning a bigger prize at the end of each lap.