"Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We all live lives in differing degrees of clarity- and to confuse more, those degrees individually are different on different days.
The standards one uses to judge a life (self or others) are also individual. Culture, subcultures, parents, language, sociological groups are just some of the various lenses that we use, along with or side by side with emotion - the ultimate lens perhaps. Labels, patterns and sorting are apparently something that the human brain is pre-disposed to use to make sense of surroundings and events. Certainly knowing something about which lenses we are using to identify things is important.
Using a label and seeing a pattern does not make a thing universally true, only true with certainty for an individual and possibly only in that moment. We see what we think we see; we feel what we think we feel; we attract that which we think we will attract and our lives are what we think they are. Sometimes a single label change will miraculously change an entire perception.
Meaning is chosen, not contained within an event or even an action. We can agree that we are seeing a similar reality and even agree on a general interpretation of an event and further even judge the event with similar lenses, but always- it is chosen. It doesn't even matter if we know or not- our reality, our lives, our perceptions are learned and chosen. The nice little corollary of that is that we can change them- any and all of them- once we have even a slight handle on that view of reality. We are responsible for the lives we live and our happiness and meaning is chosen.
Living or seeing mediocrity is a choice too.
We are not trapped unless we think we are. And before someone says "yes, but" --we choose those things/people that matter and we do what we need to do to make sure that those things/people that matter get priority. Being unhappy because one's priorities force one to act on and from within disliked choices, suggests that perhaps one ought to reexamine the priorities chosen and why.
Complaining about something, but being unwilling to take any action in an attempt to change it seems fruitless but human, and I am as guilty as others. Of course that's only my perception- all of this is only my perception, through my own individual lenses, including emotional ones.
Which reminds me of a silly little Joe Walsh song "Life's been good to me so far" -and the line: "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."
I don't know what I am looking for today or where I was going with this, but I hope I know when I find it.