I saw a beer commercial the other week from the 50’s. It was about John, who works hard all week long, at the end of that week he gets to enjoy his well earned leisure time. Fast forward 60 years, such perspective has not changed, if anything the pursuit of leisure time is more prevalent. A definition by Thorsten Veblen states, “leisure, a non-productive consumption of time,”ever so the mind set in these days. So many of us dream of the “good life,” laying on beaches, toes in the sand, with tiny umbrella cocktails, all the while holding our beloved’s hand (can’t deny that it sounds real nice). The reality of the situation is humans need a purpose, need a passion or goal of some sort (well, most) to get up in morning. There are many studies that show having a purpose in life leads to a healthier, longer life. The barrage of messages from so many avenues selling the idea of leisure time, doing nothing, is paradise. Even the idea of Heaven has the underlining notion that you get to hangout and do nothing for eternity. I’m not advocating that we all need to be working to our last breath. However, I do believe it is in our nature to cultivate a passion, profession, a cause, or something that makes us better, helps one to evolve to a better version of ourselves.
The irony these days is, even with technological advancements, it is harder and harder to find the time, money and energy to cultivate the self. The focus of life in our culture is to make money, to have things, to go out and have fun (if your fortunate enough, since there are so many just getting by these days). Societal focus on monetary/material possessions will not move society forward. For humanity to thrive, let alone survive, our focus must shift on personal development. If the economic moral compass remains on the prizing of leisure time and objects of status, strife and resentment towards one another will grow, as well as environmental decline.
To ensure a thriving economy is to invest in people. The true embodiment of yin and yang is about how we develop the self and then share it with the world. The yin is going to school, learning a trade or a profession. The yang is using that skill. When we learn something new, and practice it we grow. Our little world of a box becomes a little smaller. Growing, changing, evolving can be uncomfortable at first. This is how a country grows, by each individual growing, learning, developing. Not by depending on the how well companies turn a profit. The illusion that the harder I work, the more money I make, the more leisure time I get with the latest toys I can play with during that time will not make anyone happy for long. The proverbial carrot that one day “I too can have a life of leisure” is touted by the idea through reality TV , YouTube, Instagram stars becoming rich for being attractive, or acting like fools. Until that magical day comes, too many of us remain ensnared in this mirage.
We have become captivated into an illusion that there is “A LIFE OF LEISURE” to live. A life that we are living easy, with awesome fabric cleaners, $1 lunch menus, cookouts at the beech full of smiles, smiles, and more smiles. But, this illusion comes with a price tag of working long hours, at a job that is barely tolerable and exhausts our very soul.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
The gift of life and the burden of having a life are often at odds. I am reminded of the The Talking Heads song;
And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say to your self, “My G-d! What have I done?”
If any of us are fortunate enough to stop in the middle of our daily craziness and reflect upon the what and why of our actions we can break the chains of the illusion of “a life of leisure.” Peering past the illusion that this is how I am suppose to live, and begin to live a life you want. Instead of working long hours at an office job that will only reward you with a warriors weekend at the beach, find your passion. Be a photographer or a baker and share it with the world. Yes, it will be challenging to transition, but that is what will make you a better person. Not only learning about taking pictures, but how to market your self and network, aspects to this job that you had no idea, will help you grow. You will be breaking the sides of your box, hell, GET RID OF THE BOX ALL TOGETHER!
Stop! Take a look around for some perspective. Take time to reflect for a little self inventory. Then you can see how your life is a gift, and like any gift we must show gratitude. This is what it means to stop and smell the proverbial roses. To take in inspiration, to cultivate the gifts and passions you were blessed with. That rose is your Love. Harvest your love allow your self to blossom. We need more love to blossom in these times
DON’T MISS YOUR LIFE!