about always wanting more & the simple things in life
Everyone seems to be running through life. The pace is getting faster and faster in a world that glorifies the word ‘busy’. We’re all trying to juggle everything at once, trying hard to advance in all aspects of life.
Over the past few years, I’ve also been pursuing many goals and I’ve been much more productive than before. My newfound productivity led me to achieve most of those goals, which gave me a sense of accomplishment.
The issue is that the sense of accomplishment tends to be short-lived.
Many of those achievements didn’t make me happier. The brief satisfaction was always followed by getting used to the new situation and then seeking more. Always seeking more.
I was watching my life getting objectively better while I was drowning in endless to-do lists and habit-tracking sheets. Internally, my daily life started feeling boring and pointless. Even the activities that I enjoy had become a chore, something I simply had to tick off.
What’s the purpose of trying to do so much if it didn’t bring more contentment?
When I realised this, I switched to a different approach. I cut most of my 2019 goals. The list was big, with my goals categorised by different aspects of life.
I’ve only kept a few goals that I consider truly important and I’m still focusing on those. They include what I think is necessary for a good career, health etc.
But the rest of my time I now dedicate to whatever I want to, instead of constantly trying to tick off items from my daily habits list.
So far, I’m happier with this change, I have more free time now, I’m not constantly running anymore. The different pace made me live more mindfully, and appreciate the small beautiful moments and the activities I engage in.
This appreciation brought a big sense of contentment back into my life.
We should learn to be a bit more content with the life we actually have right now.
I’m not saying ‘don’t improve your life’. But going after your goals doesn’t guarantee more happiness. (Of course, some goals are important — but as mentioned, not all)
We place so much importance on our desires when they don’t really mean much. Sometimes getting what you want won’t make any difference in your happiness, after that initial satisfaction. Also, not getting what we want can lead us somewhere better.
We just don’t know if what we want is what we actually need in our life.
Of course, we can still go after what we want, but maybe we could try to feel a bit more detached from our desires. Acknowledge them, pursue them, but don’t feel so much frustration if they don’t happen. Just try to enjoy what did happen.
Even when we get what we want, we immediately want something else. We should learn to appreciate what we already have. What we have now is what we once really wanted.
The pursuit of unique experiences
Many people have moved away from materialism seeing that it doesn’t do much for them. Including myself.
The new trend is pursuing a wide range of experiences, for a happy life.
I admit it’s a better pursuit. Collect memories, not things.
But even this is so marketed nowadays, that everyone is seeking more and more unique experiences. We’re just as trapped in the circle of wanting more, and we are told that the experiences have to be special in order for us to be happy.
Travelling is a big source of unique experiences. Seeing the world is great, and it teaches you a lot; I’m not dismissing travel. There are several countries that I’d love to visit one day.
But I do think we put too much weight on it. Travelling is not just about seeing new places and cultures; it’s also an escape from our mundane daily lives, an adventure away from the routine.
The issue is that for most of us, travelling is a brief experience in between a huge chunk of time spent in this daily routine called life.
Shouldn’t we focus on making that daily life nicer? That comprises most of our time after all.
Having different, unique experiences, whether through travelling or anything else, is awesome. Do it. But don’t believe you have to focus on these experiences for contentment.
It’s not true.
The little things
A walk with a friend. Visiting an exhibition in your city. Reading a book on your balcony. Enjoying a cup of coffee (sitting down and really enjoying it — not running around while drinking it to wake up).
These simple experiences are enough for a happy life, as long as you absorb and appreciate them.
We have forgotten how to enjoy the little things. We don’t even take the time to be fully present in them. If we’re not going after the next big thing, we feel as though we’re wasting our time.
It’s no wonder everyone is so miserable. Always searching, always pursuing, in a constant state of running towards something. When everything is so focused on the future, what about now?
Life is made up of a sequence of ‘nows’ that are passing us by.
Let’s wake up and be present. Stop planning for a second, and enjoy what you’re doing now.
Only by being present can we be content.