Thursday, September 25, 2014
A few folks elbow and pummel their way to the inner circle. "This is where it's all happening!" they cry. The real truth is that's where they're hemmed in, prevented from change and growth by the walls surrounding them. The walls might be expectations. Or responsibilities. Rules. It doesn't really matter what hems them in. The end result is the same. The closer to the inner circle, the less freedom.
I've been part of an inner circle only once in my life. It was the most miserable, stressful time of my life. Responsibility nearly drowned me. Anxiety and stress destroyed my health. And until I walked away, I didn't realize how much I hated it. Months passed before I finally settled in the outer circle--a totally different circle--and learned to breathe again.
The funny part is we strive from early childhood to be one of the inner circle, one of the elite, one of the popular crowd. Until we reach adulthood we don't realize how very empty the inner circle is. Some men and women don't learn how hollow the center is until they've destroyed their lives through drugs or alcohol or some other vice. They're dancing so fast to keep up, they never have time to calculate the true cost of their place.
Occupants in the inner circle delude themselves, believing they're important, they wield authority, they're in the know. Not so. Their power is an illusion, bolstered by the folks in the outer circle. When those on the outside withdraw their admiration, support, or interest, the inner circle collapses in on itself. If their belief in their invincibility leads to corruption and greed, the collapse is usually spectacularly public.
After my brief stint in an inner circle, I contemplated my folly for a while. Then I made a deliberate decision to roam the outer circle, seeking new experiences, relishing the freedom to try new things, and savoring the peace and tranquility of contentment.