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The Walking Dead

There are more and more people today who are quitting life. I'm not talking about the ones who commit suicide, albeit that is the ultimate form of quitting. I'm talking about the walking dead, the ones who have no reason to live but they continue to breath. They get up every day, go to work or school, learn, make money, and return home. They have low energy so even when they are present with others, they are not engaged. They may be married and have children, but their existence lacks awareness. They can be sitting in a room filled with trash and would never even think to put anything in the garbage. There can be a screaming baby nearby, and they wouldn’t even hear him. Their spouse yells trying to motivate them, yet they stare into space. Children may pull on their sleeve begging for attention, but they look into their eyes and feel nothing. They are the walking dead among us and we are creating a generation of zombies.

Children raised by critical perfectionistic parents, who lived in a home where excellence is expected and nothing less, tend to grow up to become zombie adults. After years of disappointment, feeling defeated at every turn, they become debilitated and stop trying. These children have tried to win their parent's approval and will try to meet their parent's unrealistic expectations long after they are gone. They cope by playing video games, smoking pot, drinking, or watching porn, and have no clue how to change, or even if they really want anything to change. They have become content in their misery and have resolved to merely exist.

A client who has been grieving the loss of his mom recently had a near death experience with Covid. When he returned home, he realized how much clutter he had in his home, his garage, and what garbage he was holding onto because of the sentimental memories attached to each item. One day, he realized that the "stuff" had no value but the memories that held such tender moments that he was afraid of losing. He shared this insight with me following the clean out, "There is so much crap, you don't value what you have. Once I cleaned out the clutter, I realized what was really important to me." I recommended he take photos of the stuff that has a memory attached and write the story in a photo album. When priorities change, and we realize what is really important, we can live a life with purpose.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life.

A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

Mark Twain


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