Does anyone besides me struggle with this question: How much power do I actually have to change my life? How much agency do I really have?
We basically have two choices at any given moment: we can spend our energy and time endeavoring to change things, or we can fully relax and accept things exactly as they are.
I flit in and out of both, often many times a day.
But there's a place that feels like a sweet spot. It's this really thin line between the two: half of me has powers of agency (effort) and half of me just is (no effort).
We can do so many things.
We raise our children to the best of our ability, we're productive at work. We can train our bodies to do magnificent things, we can study how others have dealt with the age-old question of how best to live. We do engineering and build new things. And we (ideally at least) learn from our mistakes. All of this involves agency. We can, and should, make the world a better place than we found it. Via effort. You jump on this trajectory of efforting toward making the world better, and try to never get off.
We can do all this, even while we accept reality exactly as it is. There is no contradiction there. We can simply accept what is, and we can change what is. Simultaneously.
We can wake up to the fact that this moment -- this one, right now -- is the only moment we have. We can bet the farm on it. The now is the only place our life can appear. And it can only be enjoyed this second, right now.
Please don't put off your enjoyment of life in the present; don't fall into the trap of thinking that one day, after all the work is done, I can finally relax and just enjoy. You only have the now of right now, even amid all the busyness and striving.
Maybe the optimal formula is "create ways to help people, but be awake to joy and beauty as they show up."
Both efforting and being, simultaneously.