A Deprived Childhood
When I think about the what the meaning of life is, I don’t get caught up in the debate whether we are destined or have free will. In either case, it doesn’t really matter to me all that much. The way I see it, we each have a certain set of gifts, talents, or skills that come naturally to us. We each also have an area of life that we are passionate about–that make us come alive, and makes time stand-still. To me, our purpose in life, whether destined or free, is to figure out what it is that can combine our gifts with our passions to bring us complete happiness, to the point that our happiness can pour out into other peoples lives and inspire them. That means that being happy in every important area of our lives without feeling deprived of anything.
For most people, the journey to happiness starts with the pursuit of things outside of ourselves, as it should. Without understanding that we can’t find happiness outside of ourselves, we would not be forced to turn inward. And eventually, we are all forced to recognize that we still feel deprived no matter how much we obtain from the physical world.
I was raised and “bread” to be an athlete. It was the center of my life. Every season I could be found on a court, a field, or a course playing. My father instilled in me at a young age, the idea of playing a sport at the professional level. Training, whether in-season or out-of-season was a way of life. It was a life that many people would look at as being deprived of a childhood.
I wasn’t allowed to have a cell-phone or video game system until I could pay for them on my own. I didn’t travel very much except to neighboring states for brief vacations because I always had a practice or game to be at every season of every year.
Getting into a good college was also a huge time-constraint, pushing me to excel in my classes and taking as many advanced classes as I could. Needless to say, I didn’t have any favorite television series as a child either, and I never watched the Disney channel, which has deprived me of understanding a lot of jokes referencing that channel surprisingly.
Do not mistake this as a complaint. In spite of what many may consider a deprived childhood these days, I am grateful for the way I was raised. Looking back, I recognize these things, not as “opportunities” that I’ve missed, but instead as opportunities to look forward to. Instead of traveling the world, I’ve learned how to form meaningful relationships with people, so that when I do travel, I can make the most of it and appreciate the differences in people.
Instead of always growing up with television series as the one thing to look forward to during the week, I have learned how to always keep learning from history, people, and books, so I can always remain independent.
Instead of always expecting instant gratification, I appreciate the time and effort it takes to achieve a goal. I can be proud of my accomplishments and be confident in myself. I don’t need to depend on others for fulfillment and choose to make my dreams a reality.
I’ve learned dining etiquette, how to love unconditionally, how to speak to people properly, how to get a job, hold a job, leave a job, how to feel compassion, how to love and lose, how to believe in myself, how to be kind to strangers, and how to be chivalrous.
I can build a house from the ground up, learn to do things that others would call a professional for, keep up in a conversation about an area of knowledge that I know nothing about, and how to be patient, persistent, and mentally tough.
I’ve learned a lot growing up, and I think that it is those who see my childhood as depriving, who have been deprived.
This week I’m going to be posting a brief history of my journey so far so that you, my readers, can get to know me a little better, have a glimpse at life from my eyes, and see how pursuing happiness through my fitness journey has revitalized my life.