In a funk

I was looking around the net tonight, reading various blogs and such and I came to the realisation that there’s a whole bunch of people I know who are in a funk at the moment. The ’emotional recession we had to have’, perhaps?

A whole bunch of people who feel like they’re just marking time on planet earth and not moving forward like they should be. The causes of this mass ‘funk’ are as diverse as the people involved. Or are they?

Someone might be unemployed. Someone might be feeling lonely. Someone might be desperately wanting a partner to love and be with. Someone might be just bored with the day to day humdrum. There are lots of reasons but the vibe I get is that it all comes down to people feeling unfulfilled.

My friends are terrific people – they’re all clever, talented, funny, warm, generous, caring, intelligent people. They’re good to be around. They add value to my life. And I hope I add some value to theirs.  But they all seem to be asking, in their own individual ways ‘is this it?, is this all there is? is this all that I’m meant to do, meant to be?’

We're all stuck somewhere in here

We're all stuck somewhere in here

This made me think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – or, as I mentally referred to it earlier tonight, ‘that triangle thingy with food and shelter at the bottom.’ It feels like my gang and I are all stuck somewhere on this triangle. And it’s not even pink!

Was it Einstein or Cilla Black who once posed the question ‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’

Perhaps we’re all just at an age where we’re looking at our lives and thinking ‘it shouldn’t be like this, it should be better.” Cos when I talk about my friends and their ‘funkiness’, I definitely include myself in the same state of funk. Fundamentally we have all the basics covered: food, shelter and so on. But it’s not enough. We’ve got the blue section of the triangle ticked off as well. Where it all starts to go wrong is in the yellow, green and purple sections. Sure, all of us have bits and pieces of these sections ticked off. But there are key chunks missing. And we’re stuck like that mouse in the wheel – peddling faster and feeling like we’re getting nowhere fast!

Sometimes I wonder: is the funk caused by unrealistic demands – are we asking too much of life? Are we too greedy for yellow, green and purple that we’re not appreciating brown and blue and the other fragments of the triangle we already have? Are we an ungrateful bunch of buggers who should be happy with what we’ve got and stop bitching about what we haven’t?

Wendell's wife seems to be in a bit of a funk too.

Or is it okay to feel like you’re missing out? That you should be getting more out of life? And if it is perfectly fine to demand more, then how to get it?

My feeling is that most of us just trundle along in life and things happen to us. When they happen, we react- we go with the flow mostly. That’s terrific when the flow is good and causing terrific things to happen for us. But those times can be few and far between. We mostly wait and hope for the good flows to happen. Occasionally we might push and pull the levers to try and make the flow go our way, but mostly we just trundle along “wishin’ and hopin'” as Dusty once sang.

Sometimes the flow is neither good not bad – it’s just kind of mediocre. That mediocrity can really put you into a funk if you let it. One day runs into another and then suddenly you look around and year or two has gone by. And you’re suddenly aware that you’re still that mouse on the wheel – forever spinning.

What’s the answer to all of this?

Well, honey, if I knew that I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I’d be a millionaire international jetsetting superstar with a hot guy in every port. Aka George Lazenby in a Benson & Hedges advert from 1970! Or something like that anyway.

I reckon it all comes down to personal responsibility. The one thing we don’t want to hear. We want our lives to have purpose and meaning and yet we wait for external factors to give us that purpose and meaning. If we do make a token attempt to take control of the levers and create that purpose and meaning, we’re pretty quick to give up when our first or second attempt falls flat. I’ve done it, my friends have done it and you, dear reader, have probably done it also.

Everything we want is out there waiting for us. Even if we’re older or overweight or showing some grey hairs or feeling hard done by. Everything we want is really out there waiting for us.

But we have to go and get it. We have to create the meaning and purpose in our own lives. We have to take the chances and the risks. And we have to be the ones who fall flat on our arses again and again and pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back into the game. In short, we have to make it happen. Because nobody is going to make it happen for us. (They’re all too busy trying to make it happen for themselves!)

Today this could actually be the greatest day of our lives.

If you don’t make today ‘the greatest day’, don’t beat yourself up about it.

There’s always tomorrow.


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