There are so many ‘systems’ you are sucked into in this society that your present mind gets diminished. Day by day our possessions demand more and more attention and thereby decrease that childlike wonder we once had of the world. That’s what adults mean when they say “Life gets more complicated as you get older.” As opposed to being honest and admitting that “Most of us choose to make life harder as we get older.”
We do this mostly out of fear. Not the sympathetic fight or flight fear but a much more powerful fear, the fear of being and feeling alone. As social creatures even the most introverted of us, the ‘loners’ and the ‘independents’ tend to feel more comfortable doing what’s advertised to us and what mainstream society deems acceptable.
Commuting by bicycle instead of a car gets you so much less support. You feel as though you will be less safe even though statistically you are far safer. Renting instead of buying makes you feel like you are missing out on the white picket fence and the neighbor experience, forgoing that sense of belonging.
You will doubt yourself, wondering if maybe you are better off living life the way others are living it.
I wouldn’t get much pushback by making the statement that ‘life has gotten far more complex as we get older’. But I might get some ooh’s and aahh’s and oh-no-he-di’nt if I say that ‘we don’t even want this life’.
When you are fully caught up with it then sure, this is the best time of your life. I mean you are in control, you are making a lot of money, you are revered at work and referred to as Doctor.
But this kind of happiness you can only achieve in bursts. You experience it when you get the new car that feels so perfect to drive… when you get the clever phone holder for your dash… when you book that vacation with all the bells and whistles… when you get that new phone which syncs perfectly out of the box with your TV and thermostat… when you get those slick Ted Baker slacks which go so well with your LV shoes.
Inevitably you will keep chasing the highs you experience in life. For decades you will look for the next thing to purchase that will release those 5-HT, NE, E, DA’s.
But remember how you got the same feeling as a child when you built that perfect fortress in your bedroom using your mom’s nice pillows and blankets? Or you got to stay out late at night on the hill with your BFF staring at the stars? When you finally learned how to do the flip at the end of the pool? When you had that perfect workout that left you sore and tired in all the right ways?
It’s no wonder that after a few decades a good number of us finally realize that creating those highs with tangible goods is not sustainable nor as satisfying as the intangible equivalents. You can see this in the eyes of your octogenarians who smile and are positive and volunteer and exercise and are so at peace without having the newest iPhone or self-parking Audi.
Getting Caught Up in the First Place.
You buy the house because your partner wants you to. Because your accountant says it’s a good idea and because you have an inkling that it’s a great investment. A place you can live in, that saves you money on rent AND which goes up in value… win-win in every way.
Then that feeling of dread comes over you, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the endless list of things you want to do and fix and upgrade. You push the taxes and home owner’s insurance out of your mind for now. You try to create a perfect ‘office’ for yourself because that’s your way of finding some peace and quiet when you need it.
But soon you realize you are even more dependent on your job. If you lose or quit that job then your late mortgage payments are gonna destroy your credit.
Next you have to figure out how to pay those property taxes online. Why is it so hard to find your name and property listing online? How about income taxes, will you get to deduct those mortgage interest payments from the gross income or net income? Wait, is it only based on your tax bracket?
Should you maybe hire someone else to do the work around the house because if it’s not done right the property value could suffer. After all, you can’t be bothered, you are too busy working to pay for the house.
You only need A/C for a couple of months but the window unit is so ugly and cumbersome so why not get a central system AND increase the home’s value. It says there online that a central A/C will get you 80% return on your investment… wait, is that phrased right? It must be, why would they lie.
My point is that sometimes we make certain decisions out of fear, because we are told it’s the right, mature decision to make. Suddenly one decision leads to another. The concept of housing suddenly becomes this huge mess of gardeners, pool cleaners, contractors, handymen and insurance brokers. All the while we just wanted a safe roof over our heads.
It’s important to guard yourself from these runaway systems. They are intricately designed to suck you in, empty your wallet and keep you occupied. If the citizens of a country are so caught up paying bills and figuring out their tax statement they won’t be bothered much by the political shenanigans going on around them. In the blink of an eye a person’s life will have flashed before them, spent mostly behind a desk at work, too ill and drained now to enjoy the time left in this world.
2 replies on “How We Create A More Complicated Life For Ourselves – Without Even Wanting It”
This sounds like a personal journal entry. I like it. The irony is, society places medicine and doctors on this pedestal (which I’m more and more suspect that society even does anymore) with endless amounts of cashflow and intellectual firepower yet most physician’s I know are drowning in debt and paying off student loans for decades after finishing GME. Some hate what they do and are burned 3-5 years out. There are plenty of cardiologists making twice what we make who still owe hundreds of thousands in SL’s and they’ve been practicing for 10 years. How? Easy…it’s called private school, luxury cars, million dollar homes, lavish vacations etc… Societies perception of trained physicians being wealthy is sorely mistaken. People think we are out golfing when we aren’t at work? I think not my friend. Those days are gone.
Materialism can’t buy us happiness. Wealth and FI will bring us peace of mind but some would argue even wealth isn’t the benchmark of true happiness. Happiness and what people want out of this life is subjective. For me, I’m most happy around my wife and two daughters. Performing service to strangers and sacrificing my time to help others also brings me happiness. Sadly, the practice of medicine has become somewhat of a burden. My situation is a thousand times better now than it was at KP but I’m continually thinking of exit strategies. I don’t know what got me to this point. Maybe I was sold something that never really existed?
There comes a point though, where one must realize he may never find what he’s truly passionate about. The fact is we’ve invested countless hours of studying, test taking, pimping and scut work to get where we are. As difficult as it is some days to practice medicine, we are part of the 1%. I’m not saying “give up on searching for one’s passion.” All I’m saying is we should use what we’ve been trained and educated to do as a tool to find our true passions without turning our backs on the field completely. I think that would be a mistake
I have been fortunate to have had a few things in life which at the time were my passions. When I first started medicine, in residency, I realized it was a passion. And I’m perfectly okay with it no longer being a passion. As a matter of fact, my practice of medicine has become a really negative thing in my life. It doesn’t mean that all aspects of medicine are dead to me. But I am going to throw myself into as many things as possible, that’s how I believe one can discover what they are passionate about, what they mesh with. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for sharing your perspective whitey.