A Life That’s Designed Intentionally
Work hard, play hard! This is one of those delusional statements that is uttered by people who want to justify working excessively. They can get into a mindset of working really hard for many days in a row but always need to get away from the hard work by partying really hard. I suffered from this for nearly 5 years.
People of this mindset undoubtedly work hard. But they also burn out quickly. They get through their 2 week stretch of work by letting their personal life and their health slide. They may be upbeat at first but turn grumpy quite easily with the slightest upset of their routine.
These aren’t bad human beings. They are simply clueless to what their body can handle as far as stress. Sure, there is that very, very rare sort that can work all day every day without being phased. These are very grounded individuals, with good coping mechanisms and who are able to separate personal life from work life.
Some of us can handle stress if it happens to us maybe 1x every few months. Others can handle it only every few years. The truth is in America most of us encounter stressful situations a few times a day. We buy something new that malfunctions that we have to get fixed. We plan a trip that becomes too costly. We end up owing more on taxes than anticipated. We have running lists of things that need fixing around the house. We volunteer for a project that creates stress after stress. We don’t say no enough and we let too many people tell us how we should be living our lives.
I grew up with some stressed-to-shit friends. They were stressed when in high school, when in college and on edge pretty much at every turn of life. Somehow they decided that marriage and kids and a mortgage was the appropriate next step for them. As you may have guessed for many of them those last 3 things broke the camel’s back.
What I am getting at is that every one of us has to accept our limitations. And fuck everyone else. It doesn’t matter that your sister, your best friend or your neighbor can do xyz. If you need to keep mostly to yourself and cannot handle the stress of a pet then do just that. Certainly don’t have kids, don’t go getting married or take on a house that you have to insure, fix, maintain and eventually sell. You might think that this make for a very selfish person… oh, you would be so wrong. This makes for a gentle and less stressed out person. The type of person that you would just want to be around. Calm, cool, collected and kind… not scarred by an onslaught of daily stresses.
For most of us these things aren’t apparent until we eat some shit in life. But unfortunately, many people just think that it was a fluke and if they just repeat the same steps they will get a different outcome. They think they just got the wrong partner, they just had really shitty kids, that job just had bad managers etc. Instead of embracing failures and using them to gauge our personal weaknesses (as well as strengths) they are added to the long list of our personal failures that we carry around. We put unnecessary, unacceptable levels of stress on our shoulders and then come down hard on ourselves because we couldn’t handle it.
I, for example, don’t do too well in relationships. I need a lot of space and I can take a long time to open up emotionally. I also like to keep to myself because interacting with others just creates a bit of stress in me. I worry about unnecessary things too easily so having a mortgage and many toys to keep track of is not good for my psyche. I don’t enjoy planning a complicated vacation with multiple legs and setting my alarm to get from one shitty place to another. Heck, I even tried marriage and realized I’m too self-absorbed for that. I am the type of person who doesn’t do well even with plants much less pets. I’m not a failure because I am this way. It’s better that I am aware of who I am so that I don’t go around constantly stressed out and having my negativity spill onto everyone else.
So what is one to do? Well, we live our lives in a linear fashion and along the way we make mistakes. We recognize what makes us happy and what adds to our grief. So, fuck what people say you should do. Oh, you should have kids because they are great. You area a doctor, you should buy a nice car and a nice house. You should visit different countries because you will become more cultured. No… you should be doing things that add to your positive energy. That in turn will add positive energy to those around you. This is the purest form of philanthropy.
So design your daily life as if it’s something that you truly want to live. If you look forward to the next day you are doing it right. Sure, there will be that rare day (the fucking dentist) that you just cannot look forward to. But if you are deeply happy and content and at peace with how you are living your life then you will want to be the one living your life every single day. And the opposite is true. If you are living a life that you think you should live which is just creating stress and which you have to always battle in then you will constantly want to escape it… either by taking a vacation, buying new stuff, butting into other people’s lives, or by watching dumb-ass TV shows about dumb-ass shit.