Every day is a new opportunity to live a real life – a fresh beginning waiting to be explored. It’s another chance to find happiness, contentment, and purpose in our lives. But as we face the typical challenges and struggles of getting through the day, our focus often becomes blurred, the result of an overwhelming schedule and the constant requirement to respond to the needs of others.
Instead of balance, peace, and harmony, we find ourselves lost in mind-numbing routine, or caught up in a chaotic whirlwind of resolving one minor crisis after another—leaving us frustrated and discouraged.
Real Life opens the door of possibility, and the opportunity to break through the layers of distraction that prevent us from recognizing our true spirit— that force which compels us to become better, stronger, and more optimistic about living our lives to our true potential.
Living a real life means becoming more curious, aware, and creative—more alive. It means taking control of our lives, making choices that are personally congruent and authentic to our true self. And finally, it means letting go of past mistakes without regret, and moving forward on our life’s journey with optimism, positivity, and joy.
In this collection of thirty-five uplifting and entertaining stories, you’ll find truth, humor, and inspiration, and perhaps, a few bits of wisdom to help guide you to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
What Would a Goldfish Do?
Exploring the motivating factors in considering change
I’ve always wondered why goldfish swim in circles.
At first, I thought they were simply following the shape of the bowl, taking a few long strokes, maneuvering around a corner, a few more strokes, another corner — repeating the cycle in ignorant bliss. Perhaps from their perspective, there’s more to it — swimming the perimeter, guarding against intruders, their watchful eyes taking in the muted light while gentle currents tug at dangling trails of poo.
I wondered if they were looking for a way out. By continuing to swim in their round-a-bout pattern, maybe they hoped to locate the elusive exit panel that would open up to provide swift and safe passage to the big pond. Or maybe they’re running a race—a marathon of sorts, in competition with their bowl-mates who swim in the same direction.
But how would they know when the race was over or how the winner was chosen — and what the actual prize would be?
Personally, I think the view from inside the watery, distorted glass has driven them mad.
Imagine the parade of bizarre and grotesque images streaming into their bulging eyes— visions that are only faint representations of the reality that exists just outside the glassy barrier, all of which they cannot experience or even comprehend. Instead of purposely seeking explanation or clarity, they rely solely on instinct. Fearful of any unexpected movement, the timid fish allow enough tail room to retreat back into their comfort zone when a threat approaches.
On occasion, I’ve observed a fish that simply holds its position with a slight swish of the tail. Perhaps she wonders which direction holds the most promise — and if there will be food, shelter, and safety upon completing the journey.
I wondered how long such a stoic fish could maintain this position, allowing neither intrusion by other fish nor change of water temperature to affect its concentration. Even the shadow of food flakes floating on the surface doesn’t dispel its single-minded focus.
Maybe it’s a form of fish logic: “Since moving around the bowl hasn’t changed my life so far, perhaps remaining motionless will.”
For a very few fish — those who’ve outgrown their complacent companions — it’s a tipping point, with three choices to consider:
1. Remain motionless, which quickly diminishes the intake of oxygen from the water and the auto-cleansing benefits of friction. Unfortunately, this decision can leave her the target of bully-fish that intentionally form whirlpools, hoping to cast her face-first into the algae-laden blue gravel at the bottom of the bowl.
2. The second option is to resume the instinctual, continuous rotation, using the same familiar path the fish has used all its life.
3. And then there’s a third choice — though it’s rare that a fish comes to this conclusion on its own. This alternate consideration offers the possibility of attempting an exploration of the unknown mystery that exists outside the bowl — the place from which no fish has ever returned.
It’s a world the vast majority of fish don’t discuss, acknowledge, or even consider. And of those that do, most are paralyzed by doubt and fear, unable to imagine life in a waterless nether-world occupied by horrible looking creatures with gangly limbs radiating loud vibrations.
What would a fish do in such a place? How would it live, breathe, eat, survive? And in the unlikely event that a visit becomes an option for the curious, where would a fish find a door that would allow a peek into this unnatural realm?
Perhaps if she swims fast enough and long enough and in enough circles, these questions will eventually be answered.
Thank you, Jill Reid
About the author
Jill Reid is author of Real Life and Discover Your Personal Truth, and the founder of Pathway to Personal Growth. Her books and articles explore life, happiness, relationships, health, and personal success strategies.