Why do we have so much existential angst these days? I feel like people believe they need ‘more’ in their life to be happy, to be fulfilled or feel ‘successful’. I think that’s bullshit. I think we need less. There is a freedom in restricting choice in life and cultivating a meaningful existence and connection with repetitive behaviours and activities which bring us joy.
We’re so tuned in to what everybody else is doing now through our social feeds that we presume to think that, well because everybody else is doing something that we should be doing it, too. And lord forbid if our own experiences don’t live up to our expectations then we become depressed and confused. Significantly, we forget that happiness and experience is contextual. For instance, you see although I personally don’t understand garnering happiness from parties or going out or working a 9-5 office job, I empathise with those who do without adopting the notion that I should be doing that too. And it’s fine if those scenarios bring someone happiness – that’s totally ok. Those same people may look at surfing or my lifestyle with the same disinterest and ambiguity. That’s ok.
For me, these moments right here (from this morning’s surf) make me ultimately unshakably happy and fulfilled, and if I did this every day for the next 100 years of my life I’d remain as contented as ever. I truly believe we are inherently very simple creatures, us humans. We require very few things to truly keep us happy, we need a certain amount of money, we need community, security, safety, food and water but above that, realistically, we enter the realms of superfluity. And I think once we realise that, and begin to steadfastly refuse those societal expectations which, being mostly economically driven, tell us to continually push and push and push for the attainment of some intangible point where we will have accumulated so much stuff as to be finally happy, yes when we refuse to entertain this concept we allow ourselves to be free.
I feel depressed sometimes. I feel anxious sometimes. These are totally normal feelings to have, and just because you experience them does not mean you are them. I encourage you to find simple anchors in your life which you know make you happy. Which even on the busiest, hardest days you’ll still find time to do. For some it may be yoga, for some it may be watching movies with the family on the couch or connecting through conversation at dinner. I encourage you to be totally present & conscious during these situations, with the intent of experiencing them to the fullest. I find when we appreciate these sometimes overlooked aspects of life the joy they bring is amplified ten fold. We simply are told to care about too much these days – it is an easy trick to succumb to but humans can only care about too much before they invariably become anxious and depressed. The truth is we do not need ‘more’ to be happy, we most often need less.
We can still grow as humans, as creators, as parents or partners, of course. In a world where our value is most commonly expressed monetarily, the almost inevitable procurement of material things or numbers in a bank account should be looked at objectively, as transient as the passing weather and with the stoic acknowledgement of truth that true happiness doesn’t depend on their presence in your life, true happiness comes from your outlook, your conscious state, true happiness comes from within.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I like that.
This post is brought to you by The Gut Movie Australian Tour for 2018! With over 550 people attending our Melbourne event, things are under way!