Paint a picture of your ideal life. I bet there are a lot more naps. Probably much slower paced, and no more with that job stuff. You’d probably spend more time with your family. Maybe you’d have the time and energy for that project you’ve had on the back burner for so long.
For most people, their primary focus and energy outlet is their job. If they don’t have one, they focus on getting one as if it’s the end of the world to not have a job. From a young age, you are put into a system designed to stifle your critical thinking, creativity, and self-motivation. By the time you are ‘done and free’ you are in your early 20’s, sufficiently trained as a subservient worker, ready to find a job so that you can pay off your huge student loans, buy a large house, lease a brand new car, pay for this and that, and insurance. Gotta have that insurance. When not working, most people spend time similarly (advertisers are good). Hours are spent watching TV after getting home tired from work (subjecting yourself to a demeaning job can really take it out of you). Watch the news, and certain TV shows to be more in sync with the people around you. People generally know and think about the same things at the same time (world issues and the latest Game Of Thrones scene alike). You spend all your money on stuff to satisfy you (because your life doesn’t), but you suffer from inescapable hedonic adaptation, and the cycle goes on…and on…and on…and then you’re dead. You’ve all heard this rant before, so let’s move on.
Life in this mode is always a hustle and bustle. It takes a special person to escape* from the system. Maybe you had some kids, and some good times that made you feel like you were living life on your terms, but for the most part, you lived your life on someone else’s terms. In someone else’s paradigm. The jungle gym hamster cage of life, constructed by people who wanted to harness your life force for their gain, at the expense of yours.
But this ‘idea’ of life isn’t what it has to be like, and it’s not how I’m going to live. I don’t think it’s how you should live, either. It’s just some brainchild of other people, no smarter or better than you. You don’t have to play by their rules; you can make your own! You SHOULD make your own.
*You are a special person. I believe in you.
Yesterday, because I didn’t need to work (like most people on Fridays), I biked with my girlfriend to her work in another city (about 1 hour each way). Once we got there, she said if I stuck around for a half hour and came back, she could hook me up with some food. I couldn’t refuse. She works at a gluten-free, organic, vegan restaurant with some delicious dishes. So I helped her open up the cafe a bit (why not?) by setting some tables and chairs. Then I rode my bike down to the waterfront, carried my bike along the giant rocks along the shore, and went as close to the water as I could. I sat here meditating (and jumped into the freezing water for fun…twice), enjoying a nice oceanfront view, and some birds near the pier. My back was to the city, which in comparison seemed very busy and a reminder of what life is like for most people. I was planning to go back home and do some work but…
…I ended up staying in that city for a leisurely 10 hours. What a busy, hectic life I live! I think some people may view what I did as a waste of time, but it was one of the best days I’ve had in awhile compared to sitting at home trying to be productive and not adventuring enough.
After going back to the restaurant and having a nice meal, my girlfriend brought up the idea of going to the library and do some work. She wanted me to stick around to bike home with her. I also wanted to shake my life up a bit. So I stuck around, not sure how I would spend my time. I talked to some people in the restaurant while eating. I was thinking of going to the library, but I didn’t end up doing that. I do that most other days. I spent time riding my bike around town, and helped a lost lady find her way. I went back to the restaurant for more food. I went back down to the water. I found a place with paddle boats and beach yoga. I went into a watchmaker’s store and had a nice conversation with the man behind the counter, who showed me some stuff about clocks. When my girlfriend was finished working, she brought food from her work for us to eat. So we did that down by the water. My girlfriend has an interest in making and selling jewelry so we found a place for her to get some supplies. We then took an hour to bike home, and made a stop at our community garden plot to water it.
More about those birds near the pier: they just flew back and forth. There was a little ledge they would land on and sit for a bit, then they’d jump off, fly around, and return. I think this encapsulates a lot of what life should be like. Walk in circles all day if you want, because it doesn’t really matter. A single day, when you live thousands of them, isn’t very much time in the grand scheme of things. Maybe some days these birds just fly in circles because that’s what they enjoy. And on other days they go pooping on cars, fine-tuning their aim. Why not, right? Because it really doesn’t matter.
Yesterday was a pretty good day. It’s been awhile since I spent a day so leisurely. I really enjoyed my experience by the water and felt like my life had more clarity after thinking some things through. I think I’m on the right track. I’d like to live a leisurely life like this, doing projects I find interesting that have possible money earning side effects. Such things as this website, programming challenging and interesting things (but 40 hrs/week doing what someone else tells me to do? No way), building a fancy dehydrator (been thinking about it, bought an Excalibur which is typically the best on the market, and it seems cheap and inefficient), and not my cup of tea, but my girlfriend really wants to get into jewelry making which has the same benefits of being enjoyable and earning money.
I still don’t have a complete answer for what life should be like. I just know some ways I DON’T want to live. And some aspects of how I think I do. Definitely closer to yesterday than the 9-5 grind. But I’m still trying to paint a complete picture for myself. I’m keeping my options open.
You can choose what you want your life to be like. Don’t make YOUR life what SOMEONE ELSE wants it to be. Choose whatever you want it to be. Think for yourself or be thought for, live for yourself or be lived for.
What do you think life should be like? I’d really like to hear!