I’m a little tired these days. Downsizing is a job on par with digging ditches or building railroads by hand. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but not much. The sheer will needed to get out of bed every day and spend the entirety of it hauling things, cleaning things and discussing things with contractors is enough to convince me of the appeal of dying in place.
My exhaustion is a bit psychic too. Moving implies you are going somewhere better or doing it for better reasons. Fair enough, but if everything in your life needs upgrading or trading in every few years something else might be at play.
Here’s a question that’s electrified me since reading it: what if this were enough? It’s a deceptively simple question. In a culture that force-feeds us life hacks, travel photos and pictures of bodies infinitely better than ours it’s almost heretical to ask, really, what if this were enough?
I’m restless by nature. Most of my life has been spent imagining what comes next and figuring out how to propel myself there. The fuel, dissatisfaction. I’m tired of wondering what better things I can have, how much more clever and successful I can be. What I’m missing.
I can buy whatever cosmetics Gwyneth Paltrow slathers on herself or fill my cabinets with adaptogens, but these are empty promises about where life satisfaction actually comes from. I don’t want to ‘optimize my gut’ while Rome is burning. It’s an endless and expensive focus on the self. One designed to make us fall short, and obfuscate the importance of the work at hand.
We can imagine all sorts of lives for ourselves. It’s why marketing is so effective. There is a better version out there, somewhere. The next house, man, vacation, city, friends. No one talks about the price we pay for all that churning. How dissatisfaction suspends us in a purgatory of sorts, keeps us from investing in the lives we already have.
I have a little belly now, which could be because I am forty-seven or maybe because I’ve developed a fondness for IPAs (looking at you Papi Chulo
). Yes, I’ll do something about it. But, maybe, just maybe, I can go to the beach and swim my heart out, take comfort in my boyfriend’s arms, play cards, make jokes and it’s all good enough. Maybe, there is a special beauty in good enough.
The life I’m living is one of many I could have had, What does that matter now? It’s become routine thinking to assume our lives need fixing and the solution is one purchase or better decision away. We are pickled in the future perfect.
I used to think wisdom meant having all the right answers, but as I get closer to fifty, I realize that’s never going to happen. Wisdom may be as simple as recognizing when things are good and doing your absolute best to participate in that.
I now have new questions to ponder; what if you have everything you need to make a good life right at hand? What if you invested your time into your community and friendships? What if your little life was plenty good enough?
Well, then, harvesting the joy would entirely up to me.