This was my light bulb moment. My wife’s words had hit me right in the face. We were so concerned about planning for the rest of our life that we’d forgotten how to live life today.
Yesterday was one of those days I’d rather forget. When you realize that your career has greater control and influence over how you chose to live life. I was outraged at the lack of control I had over my own life. I confided in my wife. We were ready to embrace living life the way WE chose to live it but at the same time confronted with the fear of our actions. We realized we were too busy discussing plans to overcome our fears and instead should be concentrating on actions we can complete today that will improve tomorrow.
The problem is that we are taught to save money for our eventual retirement or to purchase a house for the security and investment it provides. As a society we lock ourselves into long term mortgages and begin our relationship with consumerism, our desire to have more, driving us to work harder. longer. faster. For years now I’ve been hearing the same tired questions “when are you getting married?“, “when are you buying a house?” and finally “kids must be just around the corner?” Are these REALLY the only three things we should be trying to achieve in our lifetime?
For f_ck sake, get creative people and just for once, surprise me!
We find ourselves in a constant state of fear wondering if we’re missing out on what everybody seems to be working so damn hard to gain. Our fears have been manufactured for us by a society who will ridicule anybody that attempts to think, look or do something differently. They laugh at what’s different or unusual, encouraging individuality to instead conform to the same set of guidelines and rules. Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non Conformity, identifies society’s expectations in his 11 ways to be unremarkably average , beautifully recreated by zenpencils.com, and highlights the need to fight against them in order to have a more fulfilling life. Make it your goal!
It feels like an underground cult, think Mafia style, or a late night infomercial bedazzling you with shiny lights or the hope of something more. Opening their arms to the unsuspecting victim, “welcome to the family” they say as they grin like the Grinch. The deal looks too good to be true. As the door closes behind you it’s only now you realize that being part of the “conformity family” wasn’t quite what you expected except now you are in so deep you’ve got no choice but to continue running their errands on a daily basis.
Why is it that people feel that because they’ve done something in their life they need to inflict it on everybody else? Is this just the dirty work of our friend called conformity ensuring everybody continues to do what others have done before them. I hate the smile they give when they’ve waited for just the right moment to throw their conformity grenade at you “just wait till your married and have kids, forget about having fun with your wife, forget about sleep, forget about travel, forget about living life……“. That might be a slight exaggeration but their underlying tone usually says it all without any words required.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not against it all but it saddens me that I only hear about the negatives. If it was your choice to live life in a certain way then shouldn’t you be happy about your decision? Did they do it because somebody else said they should before realizing it wasn’t the best decision for them?
I spend my day thinking about what I actually want to do while, at the same time, putting lengthy plans in place to ensure that my goals don’t negatively effect my future, it’s almost a contingency plan for my own life. When I think about living a simpler life, quitting my job and traveling overseas at length I find myself confronted with fear which all relate to either a) minimizing the affect my decisions have on my future b) maintaining the life I currently have.
I find this somewhat contradictory considering my reasons for change is to a) improve my life significantly, b) stop doing what I’m currently doing and c) live life without regret.
Maybe we just don’t want a better life? If we did then surely we’d just do it and be content that it’s the first step of a long journey. If we start today then it would provide us with the opportunity to improve tomorrow. It wouldn’t be perfect but we’ll be pointing in the right direction at least. Change doesn’t occur overnight it’s about little steps that end up making the biggest difference. It’s important however if you want to do something then just do it today and deal with the consequences of your actions later.
You will survive and chances are that the fears you had won’t be as scary as you first thought. Instead of fearing the negative affect the change will have on your life consider the regret of not chasing what you truly wanted. There is no perfect life, let’s set the record straight. Even the life that you dream for yourself today might not glow as much as you thought it would when you reach it. Things change and change is about the only thing in life we can expect to stay constant.
It’s time to cut out the bullsh_t, forget about your fears, stop thinking about how things will go wrong and start thinking how things will go right. Teach yourself to be remarkable instead of settling for mediocre. Make your mark on life and let people remember you for the person you know you are. Always choose to live life today and deal with the consequences of your choices when and if they arrive.
Go on now, it’s your turn now.