Staying power: a phenomenon under threat.

I fear that my generation have lost the ability, or the desire, to stick with things, even when the going gets tough.  Tired of re-painting your house?  Move.  Sick of the sight of your partner? Leave them.  Finding your friends too needy?  Get new ones.  Stuck in the same job for five years?  That’s too long – go get out the JobFinder.

Looking at the generations before this one, I see people who stayed with the company that first employed them right up to retirement, marriages that lasted a life-time, houses that remained home for many years.  For some reason, this kind of same-ness is no longer seen as a laudable achievement, but as a depressing failure to change.  But was it really?

I know that life is different now, and the pressures have changed.  It is all about life-long learning, re-training, finding something more suitable.  Or someone.  But a lot of the time I wonder is it just that we have no staying power, and a short attention span?

I see it in myself – looking at my ‘same-old, same-old’ existence and feeling dissatisfied when actually, what I have is good.  Enviable even.  This searching for something else, something more rarely ends well.  Yes, for a year or two people might say, ‘it’s the best thing I ever did’, but how long before the change grows stale as it turns into normal, and nostalgia for the old ways kicks in?

One of the worst aspects of this societal malaise is what it does to friendships.  There is a recommendation that you keep people round you who make you feel good, and cut out the rest.  Here’s a topsy-turvy idea:  maybe the friendships that are the most challenging, are the ones that make you a better person.  (That’s not a hard and fast theory though.) Looking back now, I wonder at the choices I made about the people I wanted to spend time with, and feel sad about the ones I moved away from.

So what to do?  It’s not clearcut – change can be good and empowering, but sometimes, we need to appreciate what we’ve got.  The best transformations happen internally anyway.  Change your heart and your mind, and then look at your world.

Now that’s a subtle revolution right there.  And it lasts.

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