What’s the point of prolonging a life you’re not enjoying? Existing isn’t the same as living.
I got this quote from a YouTube channel I follow. In its proper context, the author is making an argument for why he made drastic changes to his lifestyle. Going from a desk jockey to a digital nomad.
Now that I’m back from my awesome vacation, I thought I’d write a fluffy life-post. I got a chance to travel around Valencia and Ibiza and hung out with my buddy for 11 days. The rest was well-needed after a stretch of hard work.
Modern lifestyles are a product of certain illusions which are fed to us by marketers. These illusions are heavily beaten into us by our parents and traditional education. Which is why so many of us grow up living very similar lifestyles.
To broadly generalize, our unique spin on life is the vacation destinations we choose or the color of our iPhone.
1. Safety Nets
The safety nets we think we have are probably the biggest illusions of all. We believe that if we follow the crowd, if we do what we’re told, we’ll be safe.
That can really fuck with people. They will do things with the best of intentions. They will work their ass off or put off living for 5 decades in order to enjoy their golden years – and as doctors we’ve all seen those twists of fates in our patients.
From natural disasters to economic collapse to epidemics of disease, there are hundreds of potential variables which can disrupt your safety net. So it’s less important to build more and more of them. Instead, it’s better to accept that you will have to deal with adversity at some point, knowing that you’re going to come out unscathed.
2. Perceived Danger
Mainstream media is incredibly effective at instilling fear. Why? Because everyone is too busy working, spending, and saving to realize what’s really going on in the world.
Parents raise their kids thinking that if they don’t have a particular education or live in a particular neighborhood, they are placing themselves in danger. Some of those parents are living miserable lives, hating 80% of their day, divorced, and counting down their days to some unknown point in the future.
Whenever you share a new venture with a friend or family member, pay attention to their first response, it will almost always be an expressed fear about what you’re doing. If what you’re doing is different from what they’re doing, such as moving onto a sailboat and sailing all over the world, you’re the one who is living dangerously.
Some will smoke all of their lives and never get cancer. Others will get pancreatic cancer at age 45. The illusion that you’re somehow able to control your health destiny is what sells a lot of medications. It’s what makes healthcare so expensive.
The slice of chocolate cake or that bottle of wine isn’t going to change your health. Skipping a gym day or sleeping in an extra 2 hours won’t cause diabetes. Live a little, and fuck the fear mongering marketers.
Living for the future is an easy sell when you think about the promise of investments, mortgages, medications, and playing the lottery. Give up something now for the potential of something far better and bigger in the future.
The longevity fetish in the US is fed by the idea that there is something better waiting in the future. Or wanting to have more time in the future to do things you’re not doing now.
If you ask most medical professionals what their definition of wealth is, many will have a clear 7-figure number in mind. This number will invariably be in the $5m range for men and about half of that for women.
The corporations, the banks, the governments, and retailers all stand to win by making us wage slaves. By forcing us to follow a specific lifestyle and save our money so that we can spend it desperately during our frail years.
You’re either wealthy living in a 5-br house on pill hill, with 2 luxury cars, a spouse and kids, working a 60-hour job, and trying to squeeze in the occasional vacation. Or you’re wealthy spending time with friends, working 15 hours a week, and living wherever you want, whenever you want.
I thought success is working the hardest at my assigned job. Excelling past my colleagues and somehow distinguishing myself from my peers with my achievements.
Now my definition of success is lifestyle based, rather than career based. I can be location-independent and spend it with the people I care about; which isn’t exactly easy because some of the people I care about are caught up in the same rat race I escaped from.
I would rather grow my own fruits and vegetables and live another 5 years doing all the things I love than live another 45 enslaved to a grueling career or stuck in a polluted city full of traffic.
The Substance of Life
I’m not ignoring the obvious, such as living a life in which you also feel secure and productive. Even if you’ve figured out that the mainstream dream is bullshit, you’re not going to stop brushing your teeth or race your motorcycle in the rain.
But if you are miserable jumping from case to case in the OR or from exam room to exam room, why stick around? Get the fuck out and don’t worry about the consequences. What, you think people in the world have only made money from practicing medicine?
The substance of life is living it. If you think that you’ll avoid cancer, death, or poverty because you’re not smoking, not skydiving, and are a solid employee, you’re delusional.
Live dirt cheap and you’ll be able to live wherever you want and however you want. A lot of frears disappear when you can make it on $900/month.
I am literally living in Santiago de Compostela but I was barely existing in San Diego. Not that you can’t live a great life and love what you’re doing in an expensive city like SD. But you have to be able to live your own unique life while disregarding all external influences.