I used to worship false gods. The pursuit after things, ideas, or even other people can become an all-consuming desire—a desire so powerful that stuff such as money, success, fame, or even love can become false gods. Desire is not a bad thing. It is neutral in and of itself. But when desire twists a person with a negative force, driving her to a goal without benefit, it becomes a toxin that poisons one’s life.
I saw people chase after things they thought they wanted, but getting closer to their goals did not make them any happier. I watched my sister pursue a dream to dance that landed her in the hospital. My mother abandoned her talents while chasing a romantic ideal that didn’t exist. And I lost myself as I idealized other people, thinking they were all cooler, smarter, stronger—well, better—than me. Then I became a quitter. I had always figured it was better not to try at all than to be disappointed with not getting something you really wanted, worked for, or desired. The person I was gradually eroded away and was replaced by The Quitter. And what Douglas MacArthur said was true: “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
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