What if everything you ever wanted, isn’t what you actually want?
I told my best friend that I wanted to quit even before I did it. She was supportive, I told another friend I respected the same thing – all she could ask was, “What if you run out of money? What if you fail and so on and so forth.” Whatever happened to do the days when as children we used to asked What if? with so much optimism, but now the only time we seem to ask is out of fear. The irony.
We are just dogs, leashed by our own fears.
*“We hold on to jobs we dislike because we believe there’s security in a paycheck. We stay in shitty relationships because we think there’s security in not being alone. We hold on to stuff we don’t need, just in case we might need it down the road in some non-existent, more “secure” future. If such trappings are flooding our lives with discontent, they are not secure. In fact, the opposite is true. Discontent is uncertainty. And uncertainty is insecurity.”
Needing more will always lead to a pall of uncertainty and insecurity. Life isn’t meant to be completely safe.
“If I worked really hard, and if everything happened exactly like it was supposed to, then I could be the first black woman to make Director. I would have made it by then”.
“I’d just have to be miserable for a few more years, to drudge through the corporate politics BS and bureaucracy I knew so well.”
“Just keep climbing and don’t look down”.
In the midst of all these thoughts, and all the time I spent on so-called achieving, I forgot what was important. Actually strike that, I simply didn’t know what was important anymore.
I worked hard because I wanted to have more. Point blank. Consumerism for me represented all the things I wanted, but was too poor to afford as a kid: the shoes, the expensive clothes, and the nice car. The trouble was that when I began to acquire these things my thirst was not quenched. Instead the threshold for happiness changed, the bar raised with each new purchase.
Now what? Did it take getting everything I ever wanted to realise that everything I ever wanted wasn’t what I actually wanted at all?? I felt like a prisoner. I felt lonely. I felt empty. Whatever the exact feeling was, I think I needed to feel it. I had been numb for so long and I was ready to start feeling again – even this, this wretched pang of loss and sadness.
Is this what I had been waiting for my entire life? No. Obviously not, and for the first time in my life that was clear.
For most of my life I thought money was more important than just about everything else (bar God, well at least I hope not). So I sacrificed to make money, and then I sacrificed more to make more money, and then I sacrificed even more to make more money. The funny thing is the more money I earned the more I wasted and gave freely to people who in hindsight could fend for themselves.
I was stupid.
I wasn’t stupid just because I was wasting my income. No, I was far more stupid because of the value I gave to money. I told myself I was a number, like there was a pound sign on my head; I could be bought. I told others they could take my time and my freedom in exchange for pieces of paper.
So what changed? Not a single moment, but a collections of moment where I broke down in tears and it resulted in me thinking if I can cry like this despite me earning all this money, then money really wasn’t the solution.
* Excerpt taken from The Minimalists
Be happy. X