Living in peace can be boring, but the alternative can be really irritating
I live a life of relative peace. I know this because I’ve been to enough meetings, read enough stories in the news and have talked to enough people, to know that compared to what I know “out there”, I have a peaceful life.
This isn’t to say that there is no drama in my life. I still have people in my life that create drama. But *I* go out of my way to *avoid* creating drama, and even then, I’m not perfect.
I can say that right now, I’m financially stable, the bills are getting paid, my kids are doing well in school, and we all generally get along. There are a few flareups here and there where someone didn’t get what they wanted, exactly the way they wanted it, and I spent some time consoling them, but that’s pretty much it.
I think it fair to say that I live a life of relative peace because I do my part to *err on the side of peace*. When someone criticizes me, I do not shoot back with my own criticism. When someone complains that they didn’t get what they wanted, I talk it over with them. For my kids, I offer them a hug when I know that it’s not possible, practical or reasonable to give them what they want. I let my kids know that they can ask for a hug anytime, no questions asked.
At work, I am in relative peace. I have no personal adversaries. I’ve had several managers during my tenure there and hardly any of them ever talk to me. I just hang my ego up at the door, sit at my desk and get my work done. Every so often, I get a raise, or a promotion. I don’t play office politics. I clock out when it’s time to clock out. I get a paycheck and put that in the bank. I let my wife pay the bills. I have a pretty good idea of what is going on, and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I know that as long as I am of service to others, I will be just fine.
I have neighbors that I love. I talk to them from time to time to say hi, arrange play dates for my kids and just let them know that we’re here. I think we’ll have a Moon cake party or something like that. My wife likes to do that for the neighbors. We’ll go trick-or-treating. We’ll show up at the neighborhood events. I live in peace with my neighbors and it’s enough.
But I can tell you that all this peace can be boring. There was a time that I was tempted to stir up the pot, and that time has long since passed. I don’t mind a low metabolism, low tension life. I’m even cutting flour out of my diet. Flour was making me cough, giving me heartburn and packing weight. Living in peace makes it easy for me to notice little things like that.
Being angry is very taxing, and that makes me tired. Being resentful makes me tired. Obsessing over other people makes me tired. Getting into arguments makes me tired. So I avoid activities that lead up to anything that makes me tired. Except exercise. That’s the only time I want to feel the burn. I just don’t want to make any time for arguing, resenting, or obsessing with or over other people. I let them do their thing as long as they’re not imposing their will upon me.
Sometimes my wife tells me to do something, like take out the trash, vacuum the house, or to fix something. I don’t argue about it. It has to be done, so I just do it and move on. I used to have this inside joke, just for me, and I’ve only shared it with a few men:
The probability that my wife will ask me to do something other than what I’m doing right now is proportionate to the square of how important what I’m doing right now is to me.
Simply put, if I’m enjoying myself right now, she will ask me to do something else. I’m not sure why it looks that way, but it does. That may be a reflection of what I’m thinking or feeling. So I don’t dwell on that too much, and I just do what she says. It’s OK. We’re a team.
I could grouse about it, complain about it, and cause all sorts of drama. But I know that everyone is already doing the best they can. Everyone lacks some coping skills for dealing with disappointment or error. So I let them do that. I let them make their mistakes and offer help. Sometimes, if I think that someone could get hurt, then I speak up, but for the most part, who am I to say that someone in my family is doing life wrong?
I am enjoying watching my kids grow up. I’ve seen my kids turn off the TV to go to the park. I’ve seen them turn off the TV to use the treadmill (they love the treadmill). I’ve watched my older kid sit for an hour reading books and she’s only 5 years old. I’ve watch my kids paint and create arts and crafts. I only need to facilitate their activities and I let them roll. I clean up after them to model what I want them to do when they’re done playing.
This is a life of relative peace. You can’t buy peace. You have to live it if you want it. I see the corruption, the celebrity drama, the local news with stories of one or more persons doing some awful thing to another person. I get it. Those people lack the capacity to do better. They lack the capacity to respond proactively to the demands of their environment. Yes, they could have made choices, other, better choices, but they didn’t. So they don’t get peace and they get drama instead. That isn’t a punishment, that’s a natural consequence.
I choose to live in peace because the alternative is really grim. Yes there may be people who want to disrupt my peace, but I don’t see them in my life. I don’t ask for drama, so I don’t get it. I ask for peace by letting those little things go. I’m not perfect at it, and I learn from my mistakes. But I’m always getting better at it. I know this because I run rings around the man I was 5, 10 or 20 years ago.
Drama makes me tired, so I don’t engage in drama. I engage in peace in a hundred little ways because I don’t want to live alone (been there, done that). I engage in peace because every peaceful action brings 10 more acts of peace in return. When I’m in a state of peace, life reflects peace back to me. Over and over again.
What other people do in response to what I do, well, that’s their business. I did my part. I offered peace and it’s up to you do run with it, sit with it, or just enjoy it. I’m not responsible for how you feel about me, or what you think about me. But I am responsible for the choices I make in how I behave around you.
Living in peace gives me more time in the frontal lobes, time away from the cerebellum, the amygdala and the brain stem. Living in peace takes me away from fight or flight so that I can spend more time on higher order thinking, planning and living. Living in peace goes beyond mere survival. Living in peace allows me the time to write articles like this, and I really enjoy writing.