Sometimes, we confuse what we are taught to want with what we really want.
When you were a kid, and someone asked you what you wanted to be, you know that saying “librarian” or “fireman” isn’t going to get much of a positive reception. You learn that “being rich” and “living in a big house” would get top marks. You might even be praised for being so clever if you gave the latter answers.
Last month, I wrote about constant want of the wrong kind of things.
And here’s the thing: I don’t believe that we are meant to be constantly happy. That must be instantly obvious to everyone, but why do many of us carry on life as if constant happiness were a tenable ideal? Happiness is a by-product of us living well, but that, in itself, is not a goal. Maybe it is a historical accident, that we come to associate consumption and purchasing power with happiness. But accident or not, we need not let this continue.
Think harder about what you think of as happiness. Shake off that dream of a house or the perfect spouse as your next goal. The reason is this: so what if you have all that? Does it mean you stop wanting recognition for your work? Does it mean the routine would not get you down?
What really matters is freedom and autonomy, and by that, everyone has a slightly different take. For me, it is freedom of expression, and freedom to choose how I spend my time. And for the more ambitious, there is the freedom to dream. It may sound very fundamental, but if you aren’t careful, you might end up living a dream that does nothing more than contribute to a statistic that is of importance, or paramount importance, to a civil servant that has no interest in your well-being.
We have issues with being a statistic, and a life lived to fulfil someone else’s ideal number. We have issues with a life lived as if one should hold his head down at a desk for ten hours each weekday only to be able to afford a roof over his head. Maybe you have less grievances, but we are sure you too have your dream and your dream of freedom.
Good luck with them! :)