A guest post by Eric, a blogger from the site Coffee and Warm Showers. Eric made a decision to ‘escape the rat race’ and lead a conscious life – quitting his job, moving to the Idaho countryside and having downsized and de-stressed, is now living a life he describes as ‘anything but ordinary’.
For the last year I have been obsessed with my blog and personal development. Both for myself and for my readers. What is happiness? How do you get there? How do I learn from my experiences and share them with others in an effort to help them too?
But for the last month I haven’t had any grand ideas, enlightenment, epiphanies, or anything of the sort. Well, not necessarily.
I had a conversation with my soon to be wife (in 5 days!!!) the other night about what I’m going through mentally right now. For the last year I have had a passion for being happy. A year ago I would have told you I just want to live in a small town where I can have fun doing what makes me happy in that moment. Low stress, high fun.
Well, here I am in the exact environment I wished for. The exact environment I made huge sacrifices for.
Then why am I not 100% happy ?
Yet, after talking to her I realized that although I achieved what I wanted, I feel like there’s something missing. There’s a missing link in my life I’ve grown so accustomed to. A passion – a thirst for something inside me that I can’t quench. I’ve become almost content with my life (which is what I wanted a year ago) but now I have an urge to want something more.
Don’t misinterpret your goals
In the past few months I have lived my life for two primary goals:
- Waking up every morning inspired, and going to bed fulfilled.
- Balancing a life of saving the world and savoring the world.
Take a second to think about those two goals. Interpret them how you will. Apply them to your life and think about what things you would do in order to achieve those goals today.
What did you come up with?
If you’re like me you thought of these as massive, grandiose ideas. World-changing plots to create a life-lasting effect on yourself and others. Go big or go home, right?
But I think I (and we as a society, really) have misinterpreted what is “world-changing”, saving the world, and generally worth living for.
You can save the world from your backyard
I use “backyard” because it’s close to home and it’s modest – humble. This urge that I’ve found has popped up is because I feel as though I’m not part of something bigger than myself. I’m not creating a force that others can join or would be excited to join.
I am not living by my two goals. In fact, I am waking up happy, but not inspired. I am going to bed happy, but not fulfilled. And I feel as though I am savoring the world as much as I can, but saving it ? Not so much.
I think it’s time that I (and all of us) reframe what it means to do something meaningful. It’s time we reframe the idea of “the world.”
“The world” is “your world.” That means anyone and anything directly relevant to you and what you do. This could be your home, or your town. But don’t automatically assume it literally means the entire world – don’t put that added stress on yourself.
What if . . .
What if waking up inspired just meant that you were inspired to drink your coffee this morning outside in the fresh air?
What if going to bed fulfilled tonight just meant that you increased your jogging time from 25 minutes to 30?
What if you decided to savor your life just by heading out of your house and just being nice to strangers? Helping in any way you can, starting a conversation with someone you know just wants to be heard, or trying something new? Wouldn’t you be enjoying and helping at the same time?
Modest life is where it’s at
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all of the answers. I find myself fighting with my thoughts all too often on deciding what kind of life I want to lead. Sometimes I decide I want to get away from it all, live off the grid, and just live a self-sufficient life on my own with my family. Other days I’ll want to take on the entire world and be the next Nelson Mandela.
But what I’ve found out after making these sacrifices and deep reflection in the life I live now is that not everything has to be a world-wide feat. Changing the world doesn’t have to be done by you directly. If you love your life and are good to people then change will happen. It may not be in your lifetime or even in the next generation but it will happen sooner or later.
What are the goals for your life ? Can you reframe them so they’re not so enormously large they aren’t truly what you want anymore ? What can you do today to start making headway ?
Let’s stop focusing on what could be one day and start focusing on what is today. Baby steps. Take a step out of your front door and then another closer to the street. Share your story and passion with everyone you meet and let them take the baton. Eventually, your dream will make it all the way around the globe.
To your world-changing life, from Eric
Photo by AntwerpenR, via Flickr