I keep preparing for the things I enjoy, which take so much money. Travel, Burning Man, moving often, toys, gadgets, all life’s pleasures. These things make me happy, and make my life feel like it’s worth living.
And yet I constantly do battle with that voice inside my head which keeps telling me I must settle down, settle for less, straighten up, grow up, get a “real job”, and give up on my dreams.
Yet I can’t help think…what if I did do those things? At the end of my life, having traded wonderful experiences for social and paternal expectations. Will I consider my life to have been truly lived? Will I regret not going for all those experiences? I’m sure I would.
I want to leave this world knowing that I enjoyed my life. That I had wonderful, exciting, beautiful experiences. I feel like a lion in a cage. A butterfly on a chain. I want to roar, fly, and be free! I wish that voice would turn to silence.
I’m tired of second-guessing the joys in my life. If there are those who would view me as immature, or a slacker, or a fuck-up, or somehow less than a “real man” then so be it. Let them say what they like. I bet if they and I were side by side on our deathbeds and compared our lives, I’d be the one leaving this place with a bigger smile and fewer regrets.
Remember, my friends, this is YOUR life! Don’t waste it trying to conform to the expectations of others. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to live. Whatever is binding you, keeping you from the joy you could have, let it go. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it! It’s not that simple? Of course it’s not. I’ll never claim that it’s easy. It’s not. However, think of what you could be, how you could live. What do you really want?
If one wants to accuse me of being a hedonist, well, they’re right. What’s so bad about that? What is the purpose of life but to enjoy it and experience it? I don’t know if anything awaits us when we die. I don’t know if this is it or if there are many lives. All I know is that I have this one, and if I waste it on joyless tedium, then shame on me.
One might say I’m a failure because I don’t have fat stacks of cash and all kinds of status symbols. I don’t have the obligatory house, family, CEO position, stocks portfolio and 2.5 children. I don’t have a “respectable” job. I must be a failure. I’ll remember that when I’m backpacking on tropical beaches, eating delicious food, swimming in the ocean, having amazing conversations, seeing the world’s history and culture, and having those moments that are so wonderful that tears of joy fall down my face as I laugh with all of myself. In those moments I must ask these detractors, “how are you enjoying your ‘success’? Is it all you hoped it would be?”
Don’t hold yourself back, my friends. This could be the only life you get. Those things you often think of trying…those experiences you’re wishing you could have? Go get them! Go do them! Tell those fears to fuck off. Tell those voices to shut up. Tear down the wall!
© 2015 William Suphan
- Pet Peeves and Small Pleasures
- When I’m Sixty-Five