I suppose society is the culprit. Born into this world as a child, the world is seen through virgin eyes - all forms of experience delightfully feed our curiosity and wonderment. As we grow in age, this innocence, or sense of wonder is robbed like a slow poison - till we start becoming accustomed to the ways of the world and society. Eventually, our perceptions will be based on norms - little statements that are deemed to be disregarded, simply because they are what they are - the need to question why would project a person as a fool for asking. Naturally, we develop that automated acceptance for our surroundings, which could be considered our own human way of adaptation to the environment. And we leave it at that.
For the sake of arguement, would that be considered living our lives could be recalled as a response or reaction - to what we know as life, which is in turn, a definition of the collective input that society has build upon generations. The standards of society, or social norms, if you like. Granted, our saving grace is our God given free will. But how many of us would want to take the more bumpy road, to go against common belief? Many of us are victims of situations - simply because it is the easiest route (or the predefined or default one). What may seem as making the best choices at a particular given time could very well be translated to making the most comfortable decisions. Decisions that we would be able to live with without very much effort. The safer path.
Ironically, some people may consciously CHOOSE to live this way. [if it isn't broke, why fix it?] Frankly, it's because it has a slightly better chance of survival [i know it's not broke, but i could make it better, or i coud be just wasting my time, or breaking it without a safety net - risk]. Go to school, Go to college, Graduate, Find a Job, Build a Career, Buy a Car, Buy a House, Get married, Start a family- blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Situations can force us to make decisions - and logically, if we comply to the 'dummies guilde to living' we can't really go wrong, can we? Of course, the bigger picture consists of many other factors which serve in their own demented way, contributing as the bane of austere existance.
Tragically, work is to gain means of preserving life, but searching for a meaning for that life can sometimes disrupt the former, which if compared side by side would seem to be of a more primary need as failure to do so could lead to certain death. (yeah, heh, i know it's a dramatic way to put it, but one way or another, the need of survival depends on earning a living) But depending on the individual, we decide on that balance - hence the free will part. There are instances whereby an individual can have the best of both worlds without too much of a sacrifice, but putting this in context of an average citizen, any of the below are possible outcomes based on where we choose to head:
a) A more meaningful life, but less luxurious one.
i.e: more time with loved ones, building relationships that last long term, average lifestyle.
b) Career first, more lavish lifestyle.
i.e: luxuries are more affordable, a higher standard (acc to society) of living, meaning of life = career orientated
Writing the first 2, i realized that there are just too many variables to list, but i'm sure you get the picture. But something that dawned upon me at this time of writing is that there is no fool-proof plan, an ideal strategy that is void of loopholes. Having said that, the definite pattern of behaviour would be to follow the proven guildeline whilst attempting to sanction a balance that can be agreeable to myself and my partner.
I pray for divine intervention in the form of guidance. May my prayers be heard.