As a child, I used to daydream a lot. For a while, I think between the age of 8 and 10, I truly believed I could become a wizard. I even had my handmade wands (made from chopsticks) to prove it. Of course, that was years before it became okay to believe you're a wizard, thanks to J.K. Rowling.
As an adult, I don't daydream that much anymore because real life and responsibilities have made me a more cynical, cautious, and pragmatic realist. Even when I'm writing my fiction, deep down I know it's not real, they're just lies to tell the truth about the real world, and my real goal is to get published, get read, and make a lot of money. :)
Lately, though, I did start to wonder: What if my life did turn out differently? I guess in many ways we all wish for things we didn't or couldn't have. The grass next door is greener -- the whole shebang. I wouldn't say I regret my life -- yesterday a friend asked me, "Are you happy, Ray?" And my answer, honestly, is that I'm neither happy nor unhappy; I'm content. My life is neither exciting nor boring, but content. I neither demand attention nor resent it. I'm rather at peace with where I am. There are certainly things I still want, which I can get but not without some kind of major sacrifices. Now, I'm no stranger to sacrifices: I left home at a young age and didn't see my family for years, for example. But where I am now, I feel less inclined to make any sacrifices. The reason?
There just doesn't seem to be something I really, truly, passionately want, that would prompt me to drop everything else to get it. Life, to me, has become a steady stream of peace and contentment. There's absolutely nothing wrong with peace and contentment, but it's ironically a "challenge" for me to adapt to. I've always been a person of goals, of desires and wants, of motivation and drive. These days, I wouldn't even pick up the phone and call because I just don't care that much. Whatever will be will be. It is as if I took a chill pill (or a major antidepressant or something). I'm not the same aggressive, impatient, agitated goal-getter I was 10 years ago.
I don't know if it's a good or bad thing. Just different. Perhaps I've reached a point in my life where "success" or "failure," in the conventional sense, don't matter that much anymore. Is this enlightenment, that the Buddha spoke of? Or self-delusion? An inner peace? Or just stagnation? Am I becoming complacent? Have I lost my passion? Or is this a sign of maturity and acceptance? That I'm thankful for what I have?
On the other hand, I began to understand more about my own duality: the wants and not-wants, the yes and the no, the here and the there, the this and the that. In the past, I think I was impatient, scared, and discontent with the notion that I might just be only one thing, or that who I am can be easily put inside of a box with a giant label on it. I think I'm at a point where I realize, "it's okay to be different things to different people, to myself." If that's the true me, then I'm okay with it. I want to be true to it.
In a way, I feel like I'm on the verge of another discovery, another phase of my life where my urgency of seeking and learning will reignite, and off I will go again. I'm not sure what yet. But I've always known that I have, and always will be, a seeker and learner. I know that I'll be 95 years old and I will still be learning and appreciating new things. Maybe this really is a quiet before the storm and a new phase will start before I know it.
Let me sip my tea, and ponder some more.